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 Posted:   Jun 27, 2008 - 11:48 PM   
 By:   Philip Colston   (Member)

I think a distinction might be made between scores that are “quasi-Baroque” and those that have pop music elements, such as instrumentation and rhythms.

Examples of quasi-Baroque scores:

The Go-Between (Michel Legrand)
The Nelson Affair (Legrand)
Summer of 42 (Legrand)
Lady Caroline Lamb (Richard Rodney Bennett)
Enchanted April (Bennett)
The Swimmer (Marvin Hamlisch)
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Alex North)
The Nightcomers (Jerry Fielding)
My Father’s House (Charles Fox)
To the Lighthouse (Julian Dawson-Lyell)
The Gypsy and the Gentleman (Hans May)
Paper Tiger (Roy Budd)

Some of these scores are essentially proper Baroque music, such as:

Sachsens Glanz und Preußens Gloria (Karl-Ernst Sasse)
Day For Night (Georges Delerue)
A Little Romance (Delerue)

Quasi-Baroque scores with pop music elements include:

Joe Kidd (Lalo Schiffrin)
Night Watch (John Cameron)
The Last Run (Jerry Goldmith)
Duel At Diablo (Neil Hefti)
The Omega Man (Ron Grainer)
Castle Keep (Legrand)
The Thomas Crown Affair (Legrand)
The Secret Service (Barry Gray)

The song “Autumn Leaves”, composed by Joseph Kosma in 1945, was one of the first (if not the first) popular tunes in the quasi-Baroque style. This would make the 1956 film of the same title, starring Joan Crawford and Cliff Robertson, perhaps the first film with such a theme. Bart Howard’s song “Fly Me to the Moon” of 1954 is another early example. The quasi-Baroque style of film theme and score became very popular, and had a definite vogue, in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Many quasi-Baroque themes are constructed, at least in part, on the popular Baroque harmonic sequence of descending fifths in the bass (usually, in practice, descending fifths alternating with ascending fourths—a simple inversion to keep the bass in a reasonable tessitura). Thus, the bass notes in A-minor (for example) would be A-D-G-C-F-B-E-A. The sequence of chords would be the root-position triads on each of these bass notes, one of which is diminished but treated as normal. It can be seen that the seventh harmony (E) in the sequence is the dominant chord (in the minor mode, the third of the dominant chord is of course chromatically sharpened), leading back to the tonic chord as the eighth harmony. In film and popular music, this sequence has been most popular in the minor mode, whereas in actual Baroque music, the harmonic sequence was used equally in both diatonic modes, mostly for episodes, but occasionally for melodic themes as well. In all cases (Baroque, film, and popular music), it is very common to make all chords in the sequence, other than the tonic, seventh chords—triads with a fourth added tone of the interval of a seventh above the bass. In this sequence, the sevenths (which are traditionally dissonant) are prepared and resolved in a beautiful interlocking pattern of voice-leading. Simply play this chord sequence on a piano, and its unique sensibility will be immediately apparent.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 27, 2008 - 11:52 PM   
 By:   haineshisway   (Member)

I don't think the version of Albinoni was by Ledrut, who was (as Welles told it) one of the film's producers, whom he had to humour by allowing him to compose a score for the film.

Here's what Francois Thomas and Jean-Pierre Berthome have to say about the score:

From the scriptwriting stage Welles had planned to use Albinoni's Adagio as a musical theme. Jean Ledrut, the composer hired by the producers, ...did not get on with Welles and the director had no scruples about changing his work beyond all recognition in the edit and sound mix.

In addition to two transcriptions of the Adagio, Welles asked Ledrut, a classically-trained musician, to provide a series of jazz variations on the piece, most of which were played by the Martial Solal trio. In this way he confined Ledrut to the role of adaptor, allowing him to record only one more personal, original piece, a slow march for orchestra, and two extracts from an earlier operetta of his. Welles then had eleven pieces for a total running time of forty-two minutes. From this he put together seventy-one minutes of music, distributed over more than fifty places.


One of tracks by the Martial Solal trio is available on the Universal France album "A bout de souffle".


There's no shame in being an "adapter" who is putting your own stamp on thematic material by others. You know, like Jerry Fielding did in The Bad News Bears, and like many other film composers have done. Ledrut did an admirable job doing what he did, and the proof of it is in the film and on the LP. Welles never got along with anyone - everything was everyone else's fault, and everything that worked was because of his genius. He was a certain type of genius, yes, but these hindsight reminiscences are highly suspect.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 28, 2008 - 4:35 AM   
 By:   franz_conrad   (Member)

That's a bit unfair re: Welles seeing no flaws in his own behavior. He does come up with a lot of fictional stories, appropriates the anecdotes of others (Richard Wilson and the 'voodoo' story) and has even credited himself with another person's work (the Turkish bath idea from Othello apparently came from the production designer). But his Bogdanovich interviews are riddled with criticisms of his own work, and specifically aspects only he could have contributed to it.

Specifically on the issue of music, Herrmann always spoke very well of him as a director who could talk about music in a way that he never spoke of Hitchcock.

In any case, these were his remarks on THE TRIAL experience from THIS IS ORSON WELLES the other day. I didn't have the book on me at the time. It's interesting he doesn't refer to Ledrut by name.

Orson Welles (OW): [Speaking of the Salkinds] ... And they went ahead and got the money together from various sources, some mysterious, and gave me absolute freedom from the beginning o the picture until final cut. There was only one thing: I had to use their composer, and I argued about that for months until I finally realised he was one of the principal backers.
PB: I liked the score - using jazz juxtaposed with the classical music.
OW: Had some good French jazz musicians do that. And all that was put in very late - because I was struggling with the backer - so I had to find, as I did, classical music to take the place of his score.

The scores Welles was most happy with if you go by the interviews were the two Herrmann scores and the three Lavagnino scores. He never speaks of Ibert (Macbeth), Arkadin's composer (I think he did like it though), or Legrand, sadly.

 
 Posted:   Jun 28, 2008 - 5:33 AM   
 By:   Heath   (Member)

I think at this stage in our collective appreciation of cinema history, Welles is, rightly, beyond criticism. Errors, mistakes, misjudgements. Yes, but all done with a delightful air of mischief and, importantly, brave creative exploration. Also, the guy was trying to survive against the odds. Under those, circumstances, I'll always root for Welles.

For those interested, the one purely dramatic cue that Ledrut wrote is called "Kafka Ambience" - a piece that was VERY much in keeping with contemporaneous French concert music. It's a rather beautiful and very mysterious piece, strongly reminiscent of the works of Les Six, Andre Jolivet, and especially Jacques Bondon.

Bondon's work "Kaleidoscope" could have been written for Welles' Trial, and features strikingly similar colours and textures (including the inevitable Ondes Martenot) to Ledrut's work. I'm not sure which work came first!

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 28, 2008 - 5:50 AM   
 By:   franz_conrad   (Member)

Heath, is there any chance you could send me an email at:

mclennan(*dot*)michael(*at*)gmail(*dot*)com

(*dot*)=.
(*at*)=@

 
 Posted:   Jun 28, 2008 - 6:51 AM   
 By:   Heath   (Member)

Heath, is there any chance you could send me an email at:

mclennan(*dot*)michael(*at*)gmail(*dot*)com

(*dot*)=.
(*at*)=@


Sure.

 
 Posted:   Jun 28, 2008 - 6:51 AM   
 By:   Heath   (Member)

I think a distinction might be made between scores that are “quasi-Baroque” and those that have pop music elements, such as instrumentation and rhythms.

Examples of quasi-Baroque scores:

The Go-Between (Michel Legrand)
The Nelson Affair (Legrand)
Summer of 42 (Legrand)
Lady Caroline Lamb (Richard Rodney Bennett)
Enchanted April (Bennett)
The Swimmer (Marvin Hamlisch)
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Alex North)
The Nightcomers (Jerry Fielding)
My Father’s House (Charles Fox)
To the Lighthouse (Julian Lawson-Dyell)
The Gypsy and the Gentleman (Hans May)
Paper Tiger (Roy Budd)

Some of these scores are essentially proper Baroque music, such as:

Sachsens Glanz und Preußens Gloria (Karl-Ernst Sasse)
Day For Night (Georges Delerue)
A Little Romance (Delerue)

Quasi-Baroque scores with pop music elements include:

Joe Kidd (Lalo Schiffrin)
Night Watch (John Cameron)
The Last Run (Jerry Goldmith)
Duel At Diablo (Neil Hefti)
The Omega Man (Ron Grainer)
Castle Keep (Legrand)
The Thomas Crown Affair (Legrand)
The Secret Service (Barry Gray)

The song “Autumn Leaves”, composed by Joseph Kosma in 1945, was one of the first (if not the first) popular tunes in the quasi-Baroque style. This would make the 1956 film of the same title, starring Joan Crawford and Cliff Robertson, perhaps the first film with such a theme. Bart Howard’s song “Fly Me to the Moon” of 1954 is another early example. The quasi-Baroque style of film theme and score became very popular, and had a definite vogue, in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Many quasi-Baroque themes are constructed, at least in part, on the popular Baroque harmonic sequence of descending fifths in the bass (usually, in practice, descending fifths alternating with ascending fourths—a simple inversion to keep the bass in a reasonable tessitura). Thus, the bass notes in A-minor (for example) would be A-D-G-C-F-B-E-A. The sequence of chords would be the root-position triads on each of these bass notes, one of which is diminished but treated as normal. It can be seen that the seventh harmony (E) in the sequence is the dominant chord (in the minor mode, the third of the dominant chord is of course chromatically sharpened), leading back to the tonic chord as the eighth harmony. In film and popular music, this sequence has been most popular in the minor mode, whereas in actual Baroque music, the harmonic sequence was used equally in both diatonic modes, mostly for episodes, but occasionally for melodic themes as well. In all cases (Baroque, film, and popular music), it is very common to make all chords in the sequence, other than the tonic, seventh chords—triads with a fourth added tone of the interval of a seventh above the bass. In this sequence, the sevenths (which are traditionally dissonant) are prepared and resolved in a beautiful interlocking pattern of voice-leading. Simply play this chord sequence on a piano, and its unique sensibility will be immediately apparent.



Interesting. Thanks!

 
 Posted:   Jun 28, 2008 - 6:57 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)


Examples of quasi-Baroque scores:
Bart Howard’s song “Fly Me to the Moon” of 1954 is another early example. The quasi-Baroque style of film theme and score became very popular, and had a definite vogue, in the late 1960s and early 1970s.


That recent Quincy Jones documentary had a short section on his arrangements for Sinatra. That particular song as composed by Howard was originally in waltz time and quite 'innocent' until Jones span a swing onto it. I don't think the harmonics and bass were altered substantially in terms of structure, but probably sparser in statement.

I'd like to know if Baroque progressions are always deliberately meticulously planned by the composer, or if they just can often be achieved by intuitively evoking them in the melody, and then harmonising to fit.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 28, 2008 - 10:13 AM   
 By:   haineshisway   (Member)

That's a bit unfair re: Welles seeing no flaws in his own behavior. He does come up with a lot of fictional stories, appropriates the anecdotes of others (Richard Wilson and the 'voodoo' story) and has even credited himself with another person's work (the Turkish bath idea from Othello apparently came from the production designer). But his Bogdanovich interviews are riddled with criticisms of his own work, and specifically aspects only he could have contributed to it.

Specifically on the issue of music, Herrmann always spoke very well of him as a director who could talk about music in a way that he never spoke of Hitchcock.

In any case, these were his remarks on THE TRIAL experience from THIS IS ORSON WELLES the other day. I didn't have the book on me at the time. It's interesting he doesn't refer to Ledrut by name.

Orson Welles (OW): [Speaking of the Salkinds] ... And they went ahead and got the money together from various sources, some mysterious, and gave me absolute freedom from the beginning o the picture until final cut. There was only one thing: I had to use their composer, and I argued about that for months until I finally realised he was one of the principal backers.
PB: I liked the score - using jazz juxtaposed with the classical music.
OW: Had some good French jazz musicians do that. And all that was put in very late - because I was struggling with the backer - so I had to find, as I did, classical music to take the place of his score.

The scores Welles was most happy with if you go by the interviews were the two Herrmann scores and the three Lavagnino scores. He never speaks of Ibert (Macbeth), Arkadin's composer (I think he did like it though), or Legrand, sadly.


Or Mancini, who gave Welles one of the best scores Welles ever had. But I like all the scores in Welles's films, so what do I know?

 
 Posted:   Jun 28, 2008 - 11:44 AM   
 By:   Josh   (Member)

Michael J. Lewis' score for THEATRE OF BLOOD (1973) has some of the qualities that you've described, Thor. Check out the Main Theme sample at SAE:

http://www.screenarchives.com/title_detail.cfm?ID=1296

 
 Posted:   Jun 28, 2008 - 9:36 PM   
 By:   Philip Colston   (Member)

I'd like to know if Baroque progressions are always deliberately meticulously planned by the composer, or if they just can often be achieved by intuitively evoking them in the melody, and then harmonising to fit.

That is a very interesting question, which I’ll answer briefly, given the scope of this forum.

I am sure most readers are aware that the two fundamental aspects of diatonic music are melody and harmony. A trained composer thinks in terms of both in the process of composition, but it is true that he may give greater precedence to one or the other, depending upon the style of the piece. In the pre-Baroque era, composition was based upon contrapuntal melodies (complementary themes in combination, according to a set of rules for voice leading), and the harmonies arose incidentally from the fabric. It was in the Baroque era that composers began to give equal weight to harmony and melody, in that a composer would have a simultaneous harmonic and melodic (and very often, contrapuntal) plan.

Later, melody began to take again the principal place, albeit in a generally non-contrapuntal framework; though this is not to suggest that the great composers worked out a melody with no thought of harmony, and then worked out a harmonisation separately (as an orchestrator might do for a melody supplied by some-one with no musical training). Melodies have intrinsic harmonic qualities. Indeed, it is possible to create single-voice melodies that that are so structured as to deliberately invoke a specific underlying harmonic progression. Good examples would be various movements in Bach’s sonatas for unaccompanied violin or ’cello.

On the other hand, since the Baroque era, it has been common in music to commence with a particular harmonic sequence and then compose melodies that will fit. The passacaglia and improvisations in jazz are two well-known examples from the extreme ends of the diatonic era.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 30, 2008 - 12:38 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Very interesting insights (even though I'm not a musicologist, so some of the most technical terms fly over my head). Thanks, Philip!

Whoever mentioned Morricone up there is of course right. He's gone into this sound plenty of times (although he often "ruins" it by putting in at least ONE offbeat element that gives everything a slight slant).

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 30, 2008 - 1:31 PM   
 By:   franz_conrad   (Member)

He's gone into this sound plenty of times (although he often "ruins" it by putting in at least ONE offbeat element that gives everything a slight slant).

It doesn't 'ruin' it for those who can tolerate a bit of intelligent dissonance.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 30, 2008 - 1:32 PM   
 By:   franz_conrad   (Member)


Or Mancini, who gave Welles one of the best scores Welles ever had. But I like all the scores in Welles's films, so what do I know?


I must be forgetting something obvious. Which Welles film did Mancini score?

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 30, 2008 - 1:34 PM   
 By:   haineshisway   (Member)


Or Mancini, who gave Welles one of the best scores Welles ever had. But I like all the scores in Welles's films, so what do I know?


I must be forgetting something obvious. Which Welles film did Mancini score?


Touch Of Evil. Great film, great score.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 30, 2008 - 1:49 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

It doesn't 'ruin' it for those who can tolerate a bit of intelligent dissonance.

Yeah, I put "ruin" in quotation marks because it isn't really a criticism. It's just part of Morricone's style. But often, I prefer "clean" versions of this sound, if you know what I mean. Fortunately, Morricone has some of those too.

 
 Posted:   Jun 30, 2008 - 2:54 PM   
 By:   David Sones (Allardyce)   (Member)

Piero Piccioni. I have a compilation album of his work that I think captures the style you're referring to...

http://www.amazon.com/Film-Music-Piero-Piccioni/dp/B000007WUL/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1214862840&sr=1-3

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 30, 2008 - 4:13 PM   
 By:   franz_conrad   (Member)



Touch Of Evil. Great film, great score.


I'm an IDIOT!!!!

 
 Posted:   Jul 1, 2008 - 12:24 AM   
 By:   Philip Colston   (Member)

I have listened to all of the samples in the link to the Piero Piccioni CD. Only tracks 6, 11, and 21 have any identifiable Baroque harmonic or melodic elements. Number 6 is a straightforward choral piece in the Baroque style. Number 11 is a tango with Baroque melodic elements, which have often been a feature of tango compositions. Number 21 certainly fits in the category of quasi-Baroque music with pop music elements.

The pop-quasi-Baroque style was popular in European scores of the late 1960s and early 1970s. I know I have heard it from Ennio Morricone and other Italian composers, but I can not recall specific examples. Mr Morricone’s beautiful theme for Barbara Steele’s character in “Gli Amanti d'oltretomba” (“Nightmare Castle”), 1965, would seem to fit in the quasi-Baroque category, which is by necessity rather broad. On the other hand, if I recall correctly, the organ theme from the same film, was excessively dissonant to carry a Baroque sensibility. (This brings up a question of defining dissonance in this context. Highly contrapuntal Baroque music, like that of Bach, can have a great deal of incidental dissonance: by this I mean dissonance that arises from the interaction of multiple highly figural musical lines; whereas “true” dissonances that appear in the form of long notes on the beat are always prepared and resolved normally. Dissonance in the modern sense tends not to follow the rules of preparation and resolution, and often involves tones or clusters more dissonant than those common in classical music.)

Sometimes, a Baroque theme appears in a film whose main themes are not in that category. The “stump chopping” theme in Victor Young’s exquisite “Shane”, 1953, is a wonderful early example. A later example would be the action music with harpsichord in Stelvio Cipriani’s “Tentacoli” (“Tentacles”), 1977.

This evening, I watched “The Fall of the Roman Empire”, 1964, with Dimitri Tiomkin’s absolutely stupendous score, and it occurred to me that the main theme had melodic and harmonic elements, and a sensibility, that would place it in the quasi-Baroque category, though the spectacular orchestration is the opposite of the usual more intimate approach. Later in the film, there was a proper Baroque fugal exposition. Both organ and harpsichord were featured prominently in the score.

The lists in my message above are far from comprehensive; they were made from memory, and consist of scores in the quasi-Baroque style for which I have a high regard. Like Thor, I happen to like this style of score a great deal, and in fact, my favourite film score is Michel Legrand’s “The Go-Between”.

[Special Note:

I mentioned a score of Karl-Ernst Sasse above. In my opinion, this superb composer deserves more attention from film score fans; he worked primarily on East German films and television programmes, and CDs of some of his scores for the DEFA Westerns (mostly starring Gojko Mitic, who portrayed American Indian characters) are very much worth seeking out by fans of Western film music. His Baroque score mentioned above is available on two CDs, and is utterly ravishing. These CDs can be found on Amazon.De, by entering the composer’s name in the search box, under “Musik”. Three more excellent CDs of East German Western film music, including that by Sasse, can be found by entering the word “wigwam” under “Musik”.]

Note #2: In my message above, I referred to “sonatas” by Bach, when I meant to type “suites”. I could not find any way to edit the message after I posted it.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 1, 2008 - 2:12 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

and in fact, my favourite film score is Michel Legrand’s “The Go-Between”.

Cool. I'll have to pull out my LE CINEMA DE MICHEL LEGRAND 4CD-box again. I think there was at least one track from that score there.

 
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