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 Posted:   Sep 21, 2013 - 6:18 PM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

Ah, but to an old geezer like me, who's in his mid-60's, you're a spring chicken. Hey, you did say you didn't have as much experience as I did. Then again, perhaps I should have said "Fresh blood," since you're a comparatively recent addition to the FSM Board membership. In fact, that's probably what I MEANT to say -- but then had a senior moment!

 
 Posted:   Sep 21, 2013 - 6:24 PM   
 By:   Advise & Consent   (Member)

Interesting discussion going on and people being respectful of each others opinions. Good points being made.

Can someone please tell me if this is the FSM board or some kind of alternate reality à la 'Mirror, mirror'?

In any case, please continue. Fascinating!

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 21, 2013 - 6:34 PM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

We all respect each other -- but some of us don't respect the New York Times! (I just sent them a couple of corrections for this review; we'll see if they print any of them.)

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 21, 2013 - 6:52 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Ah, but to an old geezer like me, who's in his mid-60's, you're a spring chicken. Hey, you did say you didn't have as much experience as I did. Then again, perhaps I should have said "Fresh blood," since you're a comparatively recent addition to the FSM Board membership. In fact, that's probably what I MEANT to say -- but then had a senior moment!

Trust me, I'm so pleased to be on a site which has some people my age and who are intelligent and sensitive and very grown up (VGU for short, from now on!!) about music (and musical films!!!).

I meant I don't have experience in reading reviews of concerts where film music is performed. On another (American) art music messageboard one of the contributors, only a couple of days ago, told me about that concert in New York.

BTW, I'm the eldest of four female "old geezers" - one of whom is going to ride a bicycle across the USA in 2015 and another who rides a bike through France and Australia, while another is just an ordinary fitness junkie. Then there's me...!! Music, film and book junkie.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 22, 2013 - 1:49 AM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

Nu, I take it you live somewhere outside the U.S.? And are you the only sister who's into words and music?

 
 Posted:   Sep 22, 2013 - 6:56 AM   
 By:   Dana Wilcox   (Member)

These concerts are themselves demeaning to film music. They send the message that the music alone isn't worth performing or listening to without the film. I've attended my share. Unless it's a new score freshly composed for a silent or classic film, there's really no point in projecting the film. And how can you have a Hitchcock concert and present To Catch A Thief but not Psycho? Please.

Quite the contrary! These concerts allow the music lover (not presuming that the listener is a film music lover necessarily) both a rare insight into the beauty and power of the music itself and an appreciation of how that music serves the film for which it was written. Neither visual nor auditory demeans its counterpart. Rather, we get a glimpse of how the two complement each other to create the cinematic experience.

I hope I get the opportunity to attend a future concert of this type. It's nice to know that I won't be competing with you for a ticket to the event!

 
 Posted:   Sep 22, 2013 - 7:47 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

This is a prime example of how punters identify with, and find EMPATHY with composers of their own psychological make-up. Herrmann was an 'angry not-so-yong man' and that's what he attracts, the 'I'll take my hat off to anyone who risks all for integrity' brigade who think Bennie was as gothic and depressive and angry as his PERSONA. Angry fans for angry music. Nothing's ever good enough.

Of course concerts like these are a GREAT idea. They allow the sudiences to see the scoring procedure, and make them focus on music as an integral part of the film. These are largely PROSELYTISING events, not primarily aimed at the fan, who nonetheless gets a great deal out of them too.

As for Herrmann's music being 'insulted' and not standing up on its own, that's Herrmann's own evaluation. He used cellular structure so often that his music IS repetitive and sometimes downright dull when heard as a total score. He accepted that. Had he wanted to create 'pure' music, he'd have written something else. His 'Narrative for Orchestra' on Psycho is the sum of what he WANTED played alone. His earlier scores are indeed the best in terms of pure music.

Herrmann and Goldsmith fans seem to always see enemies everywhere. That's posturing to identify with the maestro. And, y'know what? The maestros didn't give a hoot. They were too busy doing their thing. When you all meet Benny and Jerry in heaven, they won't run up to you and embrace you with 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant'. They'd probably rather you wrote your own music. or did whatever you do.

 
 Posted:   Sep 22, 2013 - 8:08 AM   
 By:   Advise & Consent   (Member)

Of course concerts like these are a GREAT idea. They allow the sudiences to see the scoring procedure, and make them focus on music as an integral part of the film. These are largely PROSELYTISING events, not primarily aimed at the fan, who nonetheless gets a great deal out of them too.

I too think that the concerts are a great idea. I may enjoy film music minutiae as much as the next fan, but I also strongly believe that we must reach out to a wider audience if film scores are to occupy their rightful place in the larger spectrum of legitimate musical expression.

Proselytize away!

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 22, 2013 - 11:01 AM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Nu, I take it you live somewhere outside the U.S.? And are you the only sister who's into words and music?

Sydney, Australia. I'm the only very serious music enthusiast in my family of 4 women. Two of them did go to Feinstein while in New York in 2011 (the two bike riders)!! Two of them are on the road as we speak - driving from Oklahoma City to Chicago. They've got a Chick Corea gig lined up when they get to NY next week.

 
 Posted:   Sep 22, 2013 - 11:28 AM   
 By:   SchiffyM   (Member)

As for Herrmann's music being 'insulted' and not standing up on its own, that's Herrmann's own evaluation. [snip] His 'Narrative for Orchestra' on Psycho is the sum of what he WANTED played alone.

Exactly! Film composers know what their job is. They don't believe that everything they compose serves a strictly musical purpose. As John Williams said (I'm paraphrasing, but this is close), "It's a miracle when anything I write for a film stands on its own." It's only fans who have this strange belief that film composers would prefer it if every note they ever wrote was preserved forever in all formats. (Just like some movie buffs seem to think all directors' preferred versions of their films would contain every scene filmed but cut. Again, this is very far from the truth.)

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 22, 2013 - 6:36 PM   
 By:   Rexor   (Member)

Of course concerts like these are a GREAT idea. They allow the audiences to see the scoring procedure, and make them focus on music as an integral part of the film. These are largely PROSELYTISING events, not primarily aimed at the fan, who nonetheless gets a great deal out of them too.

Well, I think it's good that film music is being played, but as the article asks, "Are people really paying attention to the music, when the film is being projected overhead?" From my own experience, I think it's a mixed bag. The film can become distracting. The audience can start reacting to the dialogue, the images, and they can start laughing etc, and the music takes a back seat. The "scoring procedure" shows them that the music is subservient and that it is not as important as the film - that it can't survive without it.

I've been to a few film music concerts, and, when I think of the memorable one's, I remember the orchestra, the conductor, and the music, in the forefront, and not some overhead film projection competing for my senses... I remember, JW conducting a suite from Jane Eyre (w/ the NYP), and I'm grateful it wasn't accompanied by images from the TV production. I also glad they didn't have a projection screen, when Morricone was at Radio City Music Hall, or when Terrance Blanchard played some of his music with the NJSO.


I too think that the concerts are a great idea. I may enjoy film music minutiae as much as the next fan, but I also strongly believe that we must reach out to a wider audience if film scores are to occupy their rightful place in the larger spectrum of legitimate musical expression. Proselytize away!

Well, in the process of reaching out to a larger audience, the music becomes less important and it becomes more about the film. I'm still waiting for my local orchestra to play more film music, but right now, all I get it this:

http://www.njsymphony.org/events/detail/the-wizard-oz-with-orchestra#concert-information


-Rexor

 
 Posted:   Sep 22, 2013 - 8:36 PM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

If one is going to a concert to hear Prokofiev's "Alexander Nevsky Cantata," one wouldn't expect to see and hear the film playing in the background.

-Rexor



That's because it's a cantata, not a film score.

 
 Posted:   Sep 22, 2013 - 8:55 PM   
 By:   SchiffyM   (Member)

Well, I think it's good that film music is being played, but as the article asks, "Are people really paying attention to the music, when the film is being projected overhead?" From my own experience, I think it's a mixed bag. The film can become distracting. The audience can start reacting to the dialogue, the images, and they can start laughing etc, and the music takes a back seat.

Sure. The (sad) fact is, symphony orchestras are having a tough go of things these days. Many are fighting for their survival. They're looking for bells and whistles (besides those actually in the orchestra) to get people in the seats. And promoting a concert with "playing live to film clips!" is one way to do it, and maybe bring in people who'd like to go to a symphony concert but aren't convinced they're up for two hours of staring at an orchestra.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 22, 2013 - 11:22 PM   
 By:   rbrisbane_1984   (Member)

sorry to disagree, David Raskin's statement about Hitchcock owing Herrmann's "everything" can't be interpreted as a hyperbole and I'm delighted to misspell the name of this one-hit wonder. Watch the clip again, the man is vicious and the personal vendetta against the filmmaker evident, no idea why, they never worked together. Herrmann himself never uttered a negative word about Hitchcock, even after the breakup, at least not publicly. They even met once and talked politely.

I'm a great fan of Herrmann's scores of the 70's, including Obsession, Sisters, Taxi Driver, F451, true masterpieces. He's my favorite film composer and I'm probably his greatest collector, with about 120 titles, plus tons of stuff on vinyl including his opera. But his creativity was in crisis in the 60s, starting with Marnie, a score I have a love/hate relationship with, more towards hate. It's ultimately tacky and melodramatic.

In any event, the only success Hitchcock might owe Herrmann is Psycho. But let's not forget that it was the picture created by Hitchcock *first* that inspired Herrmann to come up with that masterful score *after*. And let's also remember that James Bernard came up with a very unnerving strings-only score for The Quatermass Xperience 5 years before Psycho. James Bernard would've created great music for Psycho as well. And so would Jerry Goldsmith who was already active in features by 1960.

The only other Hitch/Herrmann smash hits were North by Northwest (music had little do with with the success) and The Man Who Knew Too Much in which the most famous piece of music isn't by Herrmann. Vertigo and Marnie were commercial flops. The Birds had no music. And The Trouble With Harry wasn't a blockbuster by any definition, much less because of its music. So Raskin's statement makes absolutely no sense.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2013 - 12:27 AM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

You are, of course, entitled to your opinion but it contradicts all the critics and the literature.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2013 - 4:21 AM   
 By:   Graham S. Watt   (Member)

rbrisbane, we're all free to interpret the Raksin/ Hitchcock conflict as we wish, but to be "delighted" at deliberately misspelling the composer's name is petty in the extreme, and calling him a "one-hit wonder" not only false, but completely irrelevant.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2013 - 12:09 PM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

I thought I'd already been as startled as I was going to be by this thread when that fellow referred to Mozart as pretentious, but now comes "Raskin" the "one-hit wonder." Regie, I find your succinct response most apt. Another way of saying it would be to quote whoever it was who first said, "You're entitled to your own opinion -- but not your own facts." (And bravo to you, Grahame, for saying precisely les mots justes.)

Hitchcock/Herrmann, as I see their professional relationship, was a true symbiosis, in which it could be fairly said that each "owed everything" to the other. (I'm thinking more in terms of aesthetics than box office receipts.) Hitchcock's films inspired some of Herrmann's best work, and his scores were certainly a major artistic element in each of the Hitchcock pictures they enhanced. VERTIGO may have bombed, but like CITIZEN KANE (also scored , of course, by Herrmann) it is now regarded as a cinema milestone, in which Herrmann's celebrated score is an essential component.

If Hitchcock ever spoke a word to Herrmann, polite or otherwise, after the TORN CURTAIN rupture, I'm not aware of it and would be very interested to read about it. What is known is that Hitchcock rebuffed all of Benny's proffered olive branches, even his superb LP of suites in tribute to Hitchcock, and that when Herrmann tried to call on the director in his office at Universal Hitchcock literally hid behind his door rather than face his old friend and colleague.

My hunch is that whatever Raksin has to say about these men has more to do with his high regard for Herrmann than any animosity against Hitchcock. And, although Raksin never scored a Hitchcock film, (more's the pity), the two men did meet at 20th Century Fox when Hitch was directing LIFEBOAT. The famous conversation between them centered on Hitchcock's stated intention to have no musical underscore in the film. "After all," he reasoned, 'where would you have an orchestra in the middle of the ocean?" Replied Raksin: "Right next to the camera crew."

Which, come to think of it, may be why Raksin never was asked to score a Hitchcock picture.

In any case, today the New York Times has dropped the other shoe regarding a cinematic Philharmonic...

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/23/arts/music/new-york-philharmonic-plays-2001-a-space-odyssey.html?ref=todayspaper

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2013 - 7:50 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

I'm listening right now to Herrmann's score for "Fahrenheit 451" and it is, quite simply, absolutely stunning!! Full of dissonance. lushness and with fabulous orchestration - he was ahead of his time as a writer of film music, IMO. This is very contemporary music. And just when you think he's being austere he plunges you into the depths of pathos and melancholy with an achingly beautiful melody line. God, I LOVE THIS MUSIC.

And I think Herrmann ratcheted up by several notches the Hitchcock films on which he collaborated.

 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2013 - 11:59 PM   
 By:   Dana Wilcox   (Member)

sorry to disagree, David Raskin's statement about Hitchcock owing Herrmann's "everything" can't be interpreted as a hyperbole and I'm delighted to misspell the name of this one-hit wonder...

Troll talk. Attention must not be paid, really.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 24, 2013 - 2:38 AM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

Hi, Dana -- how's everything?

***

Regie, if you don't mind, I'm curious to know which 451 recording, of the many good ones out there, you're enjoying. And, do you have the L. A. Philharmonic album of Herrmann conducted by Esa Pekka Salonen?

 
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