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 Posted:   Aug 15, 2009 - 1:35 PM   
 By:   AlexCope   (Member)

Yes, but you ASSUME Horner would emulate it in the same manner, and you ASSUME that the majority would act in that way, and since it's all based on assumptions, I don't see why it's anything to be concerned about.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 15, 2009 - 1:59 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Yes, but you ASSUME Horner would emulate it in the same manner, and you ASSUME that the majority would act in that way, and since it's all based on assumptions, I don't see why it's anything to be concerned about.

It's something to be concerned about because it has to do with double standards. It doesn't matter HOW Horner would have emulated it. He would have gotten flack in any case, as he has ALWAYS done whenever there has been this kind of similarity. Regardless of context. But since it's Hisaishi, oh no, it's suddenly a totally different ball game, for some reason, even though it's the EXACT same thing.

In any case, if we're going to leave the whole Horner thing for a minute, I still feel that it would have been better to use the original Wagner piece if it was the Wagner piece associations that they wanted. Also more honest. That's the only flaw in an otherwise excellent score, IMO (plus that annoying kiddie song at the end).

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 15, 2009 - 3:33 PM   
 By:   MoxFulder   (Member)

Yes, but you ASSUME Horner would emulate it in the same manner, and you ASSUME that the majority would act in that way, and since it's all based on assumptions, I don't see why it's anything to be concerned about.

It's something to be concerned about because it has to do with double standards. It doesn't matter HOW Horner would have emulated it. He would have gotten flack in any case, as he has ALWAYS done whenever there has been this kind of similarity. Regardless of context. But since it's Hisaishi, oh no, it's suddenly a totally different ball game, for some reason, even though it's the EXACT same thing.


Again, it depends on so many things. Context, for one. History of the composer, for another. If Horner were to write another score this year in which he apes that Khachaturian sound that he's aped before, he'd get roasted not so much for his aping the Khachaturian but for being lazy about it. Hisaishi's homage to Wagner in this case exists in a completely different context than whatever Horner's done in the past, so to expect them both to be judged exactly the same doesn't seem right.

In any case, if we're going to leave the whole Horner thing for a minute, I still feel that it would have been better to use the original Wagner piece if it was the Wagner piece associations that they wanted. Also more honest. That's the only flaw in an otherwise excellent score, IMO (plus that annoying kiddie song at the end).

How would it be more "honest"? Anybody with half a musical education will recognize the musical association, and anybody who knows anything about "Ride of the Valkyries" beyond "Hey, I've heard that tune before" will probably be able, with a little thought, to figure out why they decided to pay homage rather than directly quote it. You're not allowing for the possibility that Miyazaki and Hisaishi wanted SOME of the Wagnerian associations but not ALL of them.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 15, 2009 - 3:40 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Again, it depends on so many things. Context, for one. History of the composer, for another. If Horner were to write another score this year in which he apes that Khachaturian sound that he's aped before, he'd get roasted not so much for his aping the Khachaturian but for being lazy about it. Hisaishi's homage to Wagner in this case exists in a completely different context than whatever Horner's done in the past, so to expect them both to be judged exactly the same doesn't seem right.

I see no difference whatsoever between Hisaishi's twisting of Wagner here and, say, Horner's twisting of Khachtaturian in ALIENS. In both cases, there are a few changes to notes here and there, but that's it. Of course, they are two different films and two different "contexts", but the approach is the exactly the same.

How would it be more "honest"? Anybody with half a musical education will recognize the musical association, and anybody who knows anything about "Ride of the Valkyries" beyond "Hey, I've heard that tune before" will probably be able, with a little thought, to figure out why they decided to pay homage rather than directly quote it.

It's more honest because you're, you know, actually QUOTING the real thing instead of twisting it slightly and calling it your own. I think they would have accomplished the same "wagnerian" effect by actually USING the real piece. Either that or something that had the same scope and wagnerian STYLE without being a direct rip.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 15, 2009 - 4:18 PM   
 By:   riotengine   (Member)

Apples and oranges, Thor. I also feel it's a matter of context and how "Valkyries" was used. And Morricone, Goldsmith, and Hisaishi didn't make a habit of this sort of thing. I think they all had the artistic right to make the decision to use the Wagner piece in the way they chose to.

First of all, Morricone and Goldsmith used the exact piece in question. Hisaishi EMULATED it by sticking as close to it as possible, altering a note here and there, changing the key. It's the EXACT same thing that Horner has done on occasion, yet all other composers get carte blanche for some reason or other.

I would bet my life savings that if this had been a Horner score, there would be a million voices crying "foul play" in that scene and there would be NO such arguments about "ah, but you have to look at the context", "what a great hommage" or "oh, what a humourous nod" etc. Isn't that a bit odd, you think?


Since I do like Horner, I wouldn't be one of the multitude. wink

Greg Espinoza

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 15, 2009 - 4:23 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Since I do like Horner, I wouldn't be one of the multitude. wink

Me neither. I've never understood the Horner "witch hunt". That said, I always react when someone OTHER than Horner does the exact same thing he does, but then gets away with it because, you know....they're not HORNER!

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 15, 2009 - 4:37 PM   
 By:   blue15   (Member)

The latest issue of TIME magazine (Aug. 24 cover) has a nice review of the film ("When you see PONYO - and you must - be prepared for an experience that doesn't abide by Hollywood rules"), and mentions Joe Hisaishi's score as "haunting."

 
 Posted:   Aug 15, 2009 - 4:50 PM   
 By:   AlexCope   (Member)

Thor, you keep saying "EXACT same thing," and yet I don't recall too many times throughout his career that Horner has referenced classical works in an obvious "tongue-in-cheek" manner. The closest and most appropriate comparison I can think of are some moments referencing Peter And The Wolf in his animated scores for some of the cutesy moments, but I don't recall anyone ever being outraged at that. I get your point in so far as you are talking about the broader perspective of composers emulating classical music in film, but at the same time I do think someone can enjoy the sort of obvious tongue-in-cheek pastiche Hisaishi offers here for an animated film and then question Horner for sometimes lifting passages from classical works for serious drama and not be a hypocrite as you imply.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 15, 2009 - 5:12 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Thor, you keep saying "EXACT same thing," and yet I don't recall too many times throughout his career that Horner has referenced classical works in an obvious "tongue-in-cheek" manner. The closest and most appropriate comparison I can think of are some moments referencing Peter And The Wolf in his animated scores for some of the cutesy moments, but I don't recall anyone ever being outraged at that. I get your point in so far as you are talking about the broader perspective of composers emulating classical music in film, but at the same time I do think someone can enjoy the sort of obvious tongue-in-cheek pastiche Hisaishi offers here for an animated film and then question Horner for sometimes lifting passages from classical works for serious drama and not be a hypocrite as you imply.

First of all, Horner bashers wouldn't have paid the context in PONYO ANY consideration whatsoever. They would have just heard the "Valkyries" soundalike and thrown themselves on the bandwagon once more.

I didn't find the Wagner use in PONYO particularly tongue-in-cheek myself. Just a play upon the theme's famous title and the visuals of these "fish valkyries" riding up towards the surface in a majestic fashion. Miyazaki isn't usually known for moments of self-irony, and I don't think this was an exception. Certainly not any more or less tongue-in-cheek than Horner's socalled emulation of "O Fortuna!" in the GLORY raid or his emulation of the Prokofiev "battle on the ice" music from NEVSKY in STAR TREK II.

It would be interesting, however, to hear what the filmmakers of PONYO intended with this in their own words. Was it a temp track that Hisaishi had to ape? Was it a conscious allusion to Wagner? If so, how were we meant to interpret it? Why wasn't the original Wagner used? Etc.

 
 Posted:   Aug 15, 2009 - 5:47 PM   
 By:   AlexCope   (Member)

Fair enough. Your frustration in the broader sense I understand. I just say there's no use getting annoyed over something that's mostly conjecture at this point. Now if someone in this thread had blindly praised the references in Ponyo who at the same time had a notorious fixation on bashing Horner anytime he quoted Wagner, that'd be different, but as it is, I don't see any evidence of anyone in this thread actually having a double standard at this point, so it did come a little out of left-field to me. Especially saying that if it were Horner, "you would all drag him through a lawnmower into a furnace." Who are you talking to here? I mean, it's not a big deal. It's just kind of funny.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 15, 2009 - 6:04 PM   
 By:   MoxFulder   (Member)

Again, it depends on so many things. Context, for one. History of the composer, for another. If Horner were to write another score this year in which he apes that Khachaturian sound that he's aped before, he'd get roasted not so much for his aping the Khachaturian but for being lazy about it. Hisaishi's homage to Wagner in this case exists in a completely different context than whatever Horner's done in the past, so to expect them both to be judged exactly the same doesn't seem right.

I see no difference whatsoever between Hisaishi's twisting of Wagner here and, say, Horner's twisting of Khachtaturian in ALIENS. In both cases, there are a few changes to notes here and there, but that's it. Of course, they are two different films and two different "contexts", but the approach is the exactly the same.


No, they're not, but if you can't see the difference, then no amount of pointing it out to you is going to make it clear. How the composer wrote a melody isn't the only consideration in play here.

How would it be more "honest"? Anybody with half a musical education will recognize the musical association, and anybody who knows anything about "Ride of the Valkyries" beyond "Hey, I've heard that tune before" will probably be able, with a little thought, to figure out why they decided to pay homage rather than directly quote it.

It's more honest because you're, you know, actually QUOTING the real thing instead of twisting it slightly and calling it your own. I think they would have accomplished the same "wagnerian" effect by actually USING the real piece. Either that or something that had the same scope and wagnerian STYLE without being a direct rip.

First off, you need to be a bit more fair here: it's NOT a "direct rip". It's an obvious homage, but it is also a new melody that uses the same time signature and a bit of the same rhythm, so Hisaishi DID write something "that had the same scope and Wagnerian STYLE without being a direct rip". Second, as I already pointed out upthread, if you suddenly had the actual Ride of the Valkyries blazing forth, you would have associations that aren't warranted in the viewing of the film. You'd have people thinking of Wagner's RING Cycle. Or you'd have people thinking of the helicopter assault from APOCALYPSE NOW, as I already mentioned. Or you'd have people humming "Kill the Wabbit", for God's sake. The reasons NOT to directly quote Wagner, and instead use a pastiche, are glaringly obvious.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 15, 2009 - 6:06 PM   
 By:   The Man-Eating Cow   (Member)

The latest issue of TIME magazine (Aug. 24 cover) has a nice review of the film ("When you see PONYO - and you must - be prepared for an experience that doesn't abide by Hollywood rules"), and mentions Joe Hisaishi's score as "haunting."

I saw the movie earlier today. It's a great movie for kids. And adults.

In fact, I liked it better than I liked UP. And I totally loved UP.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 15, 2009 - 6:06 PM   
 By:   MoxFulder   (Member)

Thor, you keep saying "EXACT same thing," and yet I don't recall too many times throughout his career that Horner has referenced classical works in an obvious "tongue-in-cheek" manner. The closest and most appropriate comparison I can think of are some moments referencing Peter And The Wolf in his animated scores for some of the cutesy moments, but I don't recall anyone ever being outraged at that. I get your point in so far as you are talking about the broader perspective of composers emulating classical music in film, but at the same time I do think someone can enjoy the sort of obvious tongue-in-cheek pastiche Hisaishi offers here for an animated film and then question Horner for sometimes lifting passages from classical works for serious drama and not be a hypocrite as you imply.

First of all, Horner bashers wouldn't have paid the context in PONYO ANY consideration whatsoever. They would have just heard the "Valkyries" soundalike and thrown themselves on the bandwagon once more.


And those of us who know what we're talking about would do what we usually do: either set them straight, or ignore them.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 16, 2009 - 2:18 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Fair enough. Your frustration in the broader sense I understand. I just say there's no use getting annoyed over something that's mostly conjecture at this point. Now if someone in this thread had blindly praised the references in Ponyo who at the same time had a notorious fixation on bashing Horner anytime he quoted Wagner, that'd be different, but as it is, I don't see any evidence of anyone in this thread actually having a double standard at this point, so it did come a little out of left-field to me. Especially saying that if it were Horner, "you would all drag him through a lawnmower into a furnace." Who are you talking to here? I mean, it's not a big deal. It's just kind of funny.

I drew in the whole Horner thing because I find it curious - and a bit annoying - that every time ANY OTHER composer than him does this thing, they are praised (like with Hisaishi in this thread, like other composers elsewhere). Just a related, general observation, really, brought about by the Hisaishi praise here.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 16, 2009 - 2:23 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

No, they're not, but if you can't see the difference, then no amount of pointing it out to you is going to make it clear. How the composer wrote a melody isn't the only consideration in play here.

No, I seriously cannot see the difference, but I'd be delighted to hear from you how there is.

First off, you need to be a bit more fair here: it's NOT a "direct rip". It's an obvious homage, but it is also a new melody that uses the same time signature and a bit of the same rhythm, so Hisaishi DID write something "that had the same scope and Wagnerian STYLE without being a direct rip".

Well, we probably interpret the word 'rip' differently. I don't mean it as a direct quote, obviously, but a PROXIMATION of it that sticks very close to the original.

Second, as I already pointed out upthread, if you suddenly had the actual Ride of the Valkyries blazing forth, you would have associations that aren't warranted in the viewing of the film. You'd have people thinking of Wagner's RING Cycle. Or you'd have people thinking of the helicopter assault from APOCALYPSE NOW, as I already mentioned. Or you'd have people humming "Kill the Wabbit", for God's sake. The reasons NOT to directly quote Wagner, and instead use a pastiche, are glaringly obvious.

Well, I think people get those associations ANYWAY, since it's basically the same piece except for a few notes here and there or a key change. The only thing it creates now is confusion because it's this "bastard" thing that is neither - if you'll excuse the pun - foul nor fish. They could just as well have used the original piece and made the association abundantly clear OR compose something different enough to be an original piece that just paid hommage to Wagner's general STYLE. Either of those would have been better choices, IMO.

 
 Posted:   Aug 17, 2009 - 8:53 PM   
 By:   Mr. Jack   (Member)

Ponyo wants HAM!!! big grin



Wonderful movie, and Hisaishi's score is gorgeous.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 18, 2009 - 12:28 PM   
 By:   PTascar   (Member)

Thor, the difference between what Hisaishi did with Ponyo and what Horner does with all of his films is that there is actually a reason why the music is the way it is in Ponyo.

Miyazaki and Ghibli have said many times that the film was influenced in a number of ways by Wagner, particular "Die Walk├╝re." The real name of the main character Ponyo is Brunnhilde, another reference to Wagner.

On Studio Ghibli's Japanese website, Miyazaki mentions that even though Wagner played a large influence in this film, he recognized the negative associations of the music to Nazi Germany.

As such, it seems obvious to me that there was a specific reason why Wagner was heavily reference in the score that wasn't due to laziness. In addition, it seems obvious to me that there is likewise a specific reason why, out of sensitivity, Miyazaki may have chosen to not outright use the actual piece of music.

I realize that much of this information is in Japanese and as such would most likely not be information known by non-Japanese speakers. As such, I am pretty sure that everyone in Japan who read about Ponyo would have realized that there was a deliberate purpose for the Wagner musical references. Nonetheless, I am surprised that, given what is in the film itself, it's not obvious by the time you hear the name Brunnhilde that the Wagner references are deliberate and appropriate.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 18, 2009 - 1:38 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I don't doubt that the Wagner reference was deliberate, Tascar. I just thought it would have been even MORE effective if they had used the actual piece. Would have made it more concise without trying to "cover it up".

Thanks for the info, though.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 18, 2009 - 2:05 PM   
 By:   franz_conrad   (Member)

I never thought the Wagner piece was being 'covered up'. I assumed Hisaishi was trying to do the musical magic trick of taking one of the most popular concert pieces of all time and presenting it to us ... with Ponyo's theme strangely woven into it.

Ripping off 'Ride of the Valkyries' in the west works a bit differently than ripping off works that - I'd say - the average audience member hasn't heard ('Battle on the Ice'). It's too known, and very noticeable. It's more like ripping off the Beatles' 'Yellow Submarine' or Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' or the Williams' 'Jaws' theme. People will recognise it, and be aware of the music in a way that I'd say the average audience for a James Horner or Philippe Sarde-scored film (with all the borrowings involved) wouldn't be. Who knows whether it has the same meaning for a Japanese audience.

I think James Horner has done this consciously too at times. I've often wondered whether James Cameron's intention in allowing the Gayanne references into the score of ALIENS (for surely he recognised them?) was to deliberately borrow the mystique of Kubrick's 2001.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 18, 2009 - 2:12 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Yes, it's obviously more famous, so why don't stick with the original piece and make it abundantly clear, instead of 90% clear and 10% "what's that? there's something familiar about that tune?"?

 
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