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 Posted:   Jul 17, 2013 - 1:33 PM   
 By:   Kev McGann   (Member)

My plan was to listen to the John Scott scores I've been discovering for the first time by playing them in the order he wrote them.
I've been pretty consistent so far, but I just had to give my OCD a slap in the face and grab a title at random from his future/past and give it a spin or two.
This was the one I grabbed and I have been astounded by how great it is.
The first listen didn't really do much for me. It kind of meandered and washed over me without leaving any lasting impression.
Then, during the second listen, the melody of the main theme (used throughout, mainly to capture the River and the story overall) took a hold and hasn't let go. It's just gorgeous!
This score was written in the tradition of the English Pastoral style and as such, bears many similarities to scores by John Williams in that nature.
The other themes are beginning to stick now too and it's a joy to hear music so thoughtfully composed, orchestrated and performed.
What fun it is to discover the music of John Scott! smile

 
 Posted:   Jul 17, 2013 - 2:06 PM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

I rated it 3 stars out of 5 in iTunes. So I liked it but it wasn't one of my favorite Scott scores. But I do remember liking it. I will have to give it another spin and see if it grows on me.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 17, 2013 - 3:29 PM   
 By:   Bill Finn   (Member)

Kev McGann, thanks for the revue. You made me want to drag out my CD and give it another
go around. Often, one or two hearings are not enough to really enjoy a score.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 17, 2013 - 4:13 PM   
 By:   Kev McGann   (Member)

I hope you two enjoy it some more with the extra listens I've encouraged. My thread will have
served some positive purpose. Thanks for your responses! smile

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 17, 2013 - 7:12 PM   
 By:   bobbengan   (Member)

While I'm a John Scott FANATIC through and through, there are a few scores of his that don't resonate with me *quite* as much. NEW SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON, THE SECOND JUNGLE BOOK, THE LUCONA AFFIAR and, to a *slightly* lesser extent, THE SCARLET TUNIC fall into this camp. They're all *very* well orchestrated - John Scott has truly set an unequivocal standard for himself in this regard - but for me the themes in these scores just aren't up to the amazingly high standard he set elsewhere.

I'd put MILL ON THE FLOSS in this camp as well. It's very nice stuff and, as the OP stated, very much cut from the classic British pastoral mode. My problem with it is that it's not as overwhelmingly memorable as his best creations, and there's a decidedly conservative nature to a lot of it (e.g. no brass, smallish ensemble) that makes it ever so slightly less appealing than his more robust works from the same time period, like WALKING THUNDER, FAR FROM HOME, THE NORTH STAR, 20 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, etc. which comprise some of the most richly orchestrated film music of the 90's (if not ever). As a result, MILL/FLOSS feels a little like "John Scott Lite" to me.

That criticism aside, it IS lovely music (I mean, we ARE talking about John Scott here!), undemanding and gentle and great to have on in the background while working, writing, etc. I just wouldn't compare it to ANTONY & CLEOPATRA, KING KONG LIVES, MAN ON FIRE, GREYSTOKE, etc. So don't go in expecting something of the same scope, breadth, or depth of those works.

If you like this one, I'd definitely recommend his superb score to THE SHOOTING PARTY and a better-rounded, more memorable alternative. It's a great "British" Scott work as opposed to his more "Hollywood" side, and the recent WICKER TREE also extends this British, Vaughan Williamsian sound with an even better-rounded orchestration. THE SCARLET TUNIC is cut from a very similar mold to FLOSS, albeit with a better-rounded orchestration.

Always so thrilled when this brilliant man's music is discussed in these parts!

 
 Posted:   Jul 17, 2013 - 7:19 PM   
 By:   YOR The Hunter From The Future   (Member)

Indeed a very good score!

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 18, 2013 - 3:09 AM   
 By:   Kari Tuhkanen   (Member)

Yes, it´s always a pleasure to hear music that is SO well composed. How innocently it all starts! Perfection.

I am especially fond of a piece called For the Love of Steven with its wonderfully subdued emotion and delicate orchestration. But this score is of course thoroughly brilliantly orchestrated and has many lovely themes. It´s only customary for this composer though. And I actually consider it a better listen than Walking Thunder or The North Star for example, but I agree, The Shooting Party is the ultimate "British" work of his.
By the way, nice to see you finally cave in, Kev. wink

Now, if we could finally have a good conversation about his horror masterpiece Witchcraft.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 18, 2013 - 4:40 AM   
 By:   bobbengan   (Member)

Yes, it´s always a pleasure to hear music that is SO well composed. How innocently it all starts! Perfection.

I am especially fond of a piece called For the Love of Steven with its wonderfully subdued emotion and delicate orchestration. But this score is of course thoroughly brilliantly orchestrated and has many lovely themes. It´s only customary for this composer though. And I actually consider it a better listen than Walking Thunder or The North Star for example, but I agree, The Shooting Party is the ultimate "British" work of his.
By the way, nice to see you finally cave in, Kev. wink

Now, if we could finally have a good conversation about his horror masterpiece Witchcraft.


FLOSS better than WALKING THUNDER and NORTH STAR!?!? Blasphemy Kari! wink

I think the reason FLOSS doesn't resonate with me quite as much personally is because it's amongst his more conservatively orchestrated. Scott is, more so than any composer I've ever encountered in film, a true genius in the use of employing a full ensemble to its true FULLEST. There's so many dazzling lines of counterpoint and color in his bigger scores that it sometimes boggles my mind.

I once played excerpts from his scores to KING KONG LIVES, GREYSTOKE, 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, a few COUSTEAU scores and his JLES VERNES ADVENTURES for the granddaughter of a *very* famous film composer who receives a LOT of love around here, and she was amazed by his ear for harmony, counterpoint, etc. - She went as far as to say that her grandfather couldn't even write on this level (y'all'd be amazed if I name-dropped right now!).

I think that's why I love big, fully-orchestral Scott so much - His music is so layered, so rich, that when he writes for smaller ensembles, my mind automatically tries to "invent" layers that aren't actually there, haha.

Anyway -

As you said, Kari, WITCHCRAFT doesn't get many mentions in these here parts, but it's a lot of fun - delightfully devilish and macabre stuff, always with a vague sense of the tongue in cheek (this won't make your speakers explode with the dramatic weight of, say, KING KONG LIVES' brutal action music, but it really is a joy to listen to. I'd liken it to a slightly more aggressive version of John Debney's HOCUS POCUS. Scott's orchestrations are, as always, top-notch.

One thing I'd really like to call attention to, since WITCHCRAFT has it in spades, are Scott's absolutely amazing rhythm setters he uses during action music. Listen to "Kong's Final Battle" and "Revenge on the Hunters" from KKL, or the opening percussion rhythm of NORTH STAR's end title cue, or the big, evil-sounding march from THE WICKER TREE. This guy really knows how to write and awesome action hook/rhythm setter!

 
 Posted:   Jul 18, 2013 - 6:55 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

While I'm a John Scott FANATIC through and through, there are a few scores of his that don't resonate with me *quite* as much. NEW SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON, THE SECOND JUNGLE BOOK, THE LUCONA AFFIAR and, to a *slightly* lesser extent, THE SCARLET TUNIC fall into this camp. They're all *very* well orchestrated - John Scott has truly set an unequivocal standard for himself in this regard - but for me the themes in these scores just aren't up to the amazingly high standard he set elsewhere.


I personally put New Swiss Family in Scott's "A" list. I really enjoy that score.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 18, 2013 - 7:08 AM   
 By:   bobbengan   (Member)

standard he set elsewhere.


I personally put New Swiss Family in Scott's "A" list. I really enjoy that score.

Hmm. Might need to revisit this one in that case!

 
 Posted:   Jul 18, 2013 - 8:01 AM   
 By:   gone   (Member)

A great score to listen to in the early hours of the day... nice for contemplative thought. Beautiful score!

 
 Posted:   Jul 18, 2013 - 9:13 AM   
 By:   OnlyGoodMusic   (Member)

This score was written in the tradition of the English Pastoral style and as such, bears many similarities to scores by John Williams in that nature.

Like which ones exactly, outside of some passages in WAR HORSE?

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 18, 2013 - 9:16 AM   
 By:   Kari Tuhkanen   (Member)

Don´t get me wrong, Bob! I enjoy Walking Thunder and The North Star, they ARE John Scott scores! I just consider The Mill on the Floss a slightly more interesting listen on a whole, that´s all. Not any of the three belong to my top ten favorite Scott scores though.
That said, the beginning of Dark Wind Recounts the Legend from Walking Thunder for example; hauntingly poetic. Or The North Star´s End Credits; stunning!

I have always considered Withcraft a musical cousin to Williams´ Dracula; both brimming with great musical ideas and intense emotion, stemming from the same Gothic cloth so to speak. And the love themes in them are some of the best these master composers have written. And they sure are great fun!

By the way, you´re absolutely sure you wouldn´t drop that name? wink

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 18, 2013 - 12:28 PM   
 By:   Kev McGann   (Member)

"Like which ones exactly, outside of some passages in WAR HORSE?"
---------------------------------
Certainly passages from Heidi and Jane Eyre, in some of the more sombre and reflective moments, with the winds and violin passages in the prominence. To me, anyway.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 18, 2013 - 12:38 PM   
 By:   Kev McGann   (Member)

By the way, it's great to see others enthusing about this score and also the many other CD's being mentioned.
Seeing all those other titles being mentioned (very positively) that I have yet to listen to (Witchcraft, North Star, 20,000 Leagues etc) really whets my appetite for when I finally get around to listen to them.
I'm torn between guzzling them all down in quick-smart fashion and taking my time and letting them come to me after plenty of 'getting to know you' time has been spent with each individual score.
Still, it's a great position to be in and at least I know as I grow more bored with modern scores, there's plenty of great listening to be had from my missing past.
Btw, I too would love to know who that major composer was who's granddaughter was dazzled by Scott's greatness smile

 
 Posted:   Jul 18, 2013 - 1:49 PM   
 By:   Zoragoth   (Member)

By the way, it's great to see others enthusing about this score and also the many other CD's being mentioned.
Seeing all those other titles being mentioned (very positively) that I have yet to listen to (Witchcraft, North Star, 20,000 Leagues etc) really whets my appetite for when I finally get around to listen to them.
I'm torn between guzzling them all down in quick-smart fashion and taking my time and letting them come to me after plenty of 'getting to know you' time has been spent with each individual score.
Still, it's a great position to be in and at least I know as I grow more bored with modern scores, there's plenty of great listening to be had from my missing past.


Very well said! I find myself with this conflict - the unopened CDs piling up because you really want to absorb that music - film score or classical - before putting in the stacks and moving on to the next one! And as you said, with fewer new scores sustaining much interest, it's not really a bad place to be.

Reading these posts makes me eager to pick up some of the titles I don't yet have, like WITCHCRAFT. Might I just plug Scott's score to TIME OF THE WOLF, a passable but rather forgettable Burt Reynolds TV movie? The melody, the invention, Scott ladled on this little movie!! The score truly soars in a way scores for most A list Hollywood megaprojects (not scored by Howard Shore or John Williams) don't, and I went out of my way to plug it in my Netflix review of the movie (actually, it was the only reason I bothered to write the review!).

The care and enthusiasm and energy Scott pours into projects wa-aay below his talent grade is astonishing (WICKER TREE would be another). In this, he reminds me so much of Maestro Goldsmith.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 20, 2013 - 2:33 AM   
 By:   Kari Tuhkanen   (Member)

Great point about those awesome action hook/rhythm setters, Bob.

One of my absolute favorites is Defeat of the Deceivers, one of Scott´s greatest action tracks. What a drive, it´s stunning!

What comes to other great rhythm setters, there´s always for example Williams´ and Goldsmith´s stuff, but also Murray Gold´s. I have been positively flabbergasted of his skill in an area I thought was only reserved for the aforementioned masters.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 20, 2013 - 3:58 AM   
 By:   bobbengan   (Member)


Btw, I too would love to know who that major composer was who's granddaughter was dazzled by Scott's greatness smile


I answered this without realizing it in another thread. Let the guessing game begin! Tee hee.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 20, 2013 - 4:03 AM   
 By:   bobbengan   (Member)


Very well said! I find myself with this conflict - the unopened CDs piling up because you really want to absorb that music - film score or classical - before putting in the stacks and moving on to the next one! And as you said, with fewer new scores sustaining much interest, it's not really a bad place to be.

Reading these posts makes me eager to pick up some of the titles I don't yet have, like WITCHCRAFT. Might I just plug Scott's score to TIME OF THE WOLF, a passable but rather forgettable Burt Reynolds TV movie? The melody, the invention, Scott ladled on this little movie!! The score truly soars in a way scores for most A list Hollywood megaprojects (not scored by Howard Shore or John Williams) don't, and I went out of my way to plug it in my Netflix review of the movie (actually, it was the only reason I bothered to write the review!).

The care and enthusiasm and energy Scott pours into projects wa-aay below his talent grade is astonishing (WICKER TREE would be another). In this, he reminds me so much of Maestro Goldsmith.


Personally, I'd classify TIME OF THE WOLF as one of his less inspired. 40 tracks with a lot of filler and similar material, and more electronic/contemporary elements than Scott's usual output. I made a 12 minute suite of highlights some time back; I'll have to revisit it soon to see if my taste has changed.

WICKER TREE is indeed great and was my favorite score of (2011? 12? The film's release date seems muddled - at least here in the US). It's amazing to hear such vibrant counterpoint, sumptuous orchestration, etc. in a new score - especially in Scott's voice. We simply never get music like this anymore!

IMDBPro reveals that he's attached to THREE forthcoming films as well. Let's hope those actually get made!

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 20, 2013 - 5:33 AM   
 By:   Kari Tuhkanen   (Member)

And those forthcoming films would be right up Scott´s alley too. Consider the titles; Margery Booth: The Spy in the Eagle's Nest (WWII spy drama), Summer Night, Winter Moon (a thriller set partly in the isle of Capri, jumping in time). It sure is tempting!

 
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