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 Posted:   Sep 15, 2013 - 1:02 PM   
 By:   ZapBrannigan   (Member)

I have a tin ear when it comes to Franz Waxman. I don't get the guy. THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN and PEYTON PLACE are pretty decent, but I don't get swept up.

Granted, the only thing I have to go on is the Charles Gerhardt compilation CD, but it seems both well-selected and well-performed. There's nothing wrong with Gerhardt. That just leaves me and Waxman.



A lot of Golden Age men around here have said he's absolutely great. Does that mean he's controversial, or am I just missing the boat?

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 15, 2013 - 1:10 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

To each their own, as they say.

For me, Waxman has always been my favourite of the Golden Age guys. On my end, I've never understood what people see in Max Steiner -- despite his historical importance.

 
 Posted:   Sep 15, 2013 - 1:12 PM   
 By:   Ed   (Member)

If that album doesn't convince you, I'm not sure what would. I've had it since the first expanded cd release many moons ago and it's still one of my favorites.

I've gone after the individual scores represented on Gerhadt's album and have yet to be disappointed.

 
 Posted:   Sep 15, 2013 - 1:18 PM   
 By:   ToneRow   (Member)

I don't get the guy... I don't get swept up.

Does that mean he's controversial, or am I just missing the boat?


What sort of music sweeps you up?

I've never considered Franz Waxman as 'controversial'.

Perhaps Waxman's early departure in 1967 is a reason why you don't 'get the guy'?

The 1950s witnessed Waxman during his prime, I'd say.

Two consecutive oscars in the early '50s helped pave the way to mid-'50s masterpieces, like THE SILVER CHALICE.

Have you listened to THE NUNS STORY? Or THE SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS?

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 15, 2013 - 1:25 PM   
 By:   Graham S. Watt   (Member)

That's interesting Zap, because just today I was mentally pigeon-holing composers into "Like/ Don't Like", and I couldn't situate Waxman easily in any compartment. I know that I SHOULD like him, because I've always read about how great he is (in the sense that it seems like I should love all his stuff), but when I play his scores I'm often left fairly cold. It's as if his music washes over me. It doesn't touch me as much as I wish it would. I don't feel that way about Max Steiner for example. At least I KNOW why he isn't amongst my favourites.

Having said that, I absolutely adore THE NUN'S STORY, HEMINGWAY'S ADVENTURES OF A YOUNG MAN, THE SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS, DEMETRIUS AND THE GLADIATORS and a fairly long etcetera, but on the whole I find that I simply don't connect with much of his stuff. BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN? It fails to do anything for me. REBECCA? Standard fare to me. I wish I could love his scores more, but there's an obstacle there, and I don't know what it is.

In a way I almost feel disappointed in not "getting" him. I feel like a guy who's constantly told how great Miklós Rózsa is, and then only hears SPELLBOUND (which is one of my least favourite scores from one of my most favourite composers).

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 15, 2013 - 1:28 PM   
 By:   Graham S. Watt   (Member)

You all posted short posts as I was posting, very slooowly and labooouriously, a long one. So I didn't see those until now.

 
 Posted:   Sep 15, 2013 - 1:35 PM   
 By:   ZapBrannigan   (Member)

What sort of music sweeps you up?

I'm a Silver Age fan. Horner, Barry, Williams, and Goldsmith would be the (big-screen) four food groups, and I like a lot of other stuff as well, but mostly from the mid-1960s onward. I haven't heard the other Waxmans beyond Gerhardt.

 
 Posted:   Sep 15, 2013 - 1:38 PM   
 By:   ZapBrannigan   (Member)

I know that I SHOULD like him, because I've always read about how great he is (in the sense that it seems like I should love all his stuff), but when I play his scores I'm often left fairly cold.

I was going to say that in practically those words.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 15, 2013 - 1:47 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

I believe in to each his own also. Maybe Waxman's music doesn't grab you, but I admire your efforts, Zap.

MR. ROBERTS is one of my all time favorite film scores, and the movie is great. Hope you see it someday. Comedic and tragic. Maybe that one, UNTAMED, or CIMARRON would appeal to you and maybe not. We all have different tastes. Here is a topic I posted about him 12 years ago with other insights.

http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=2031&forumID=1&archive=1

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 15, 2013 - 1:54 PM   
 By:   miguel   (Member)

I think Franz Waxman was one of the best film music composers ever. It's true his music provides a better listening experience in suites or arrangements than when listening to the whole score from beggining to end, as is the case with all composers, but then he knew he was writing for a film and had to meet the demands of each sequence, rather than think in advance that half a century later there would be a bunch of completist freaks wanting to hear every single note he wrote for a film in its original recording, fartings from the second violin included.
His "A Place in the Sun" suite is one of the main reasons why film music deserves far more general appreciation.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 15, 2013 - 2:13 PM   
 By:   haineshisway   (Member)

Having released a LOT of Waxman (more coming, I think), I have to say he's a favorite of mine. His score for Sunset Blvd. borders on genius, and his melodic invention is pretty incredible - A Place in the Sun and Peyton Place being two superb examples of melodic themes as good as they get. But I haven't heard a bum score by him. That said, you connect with who you connect with. I'm not sure the Gerhard album would give any hints about how wonderfully his music actually plays in the medium for which it was composed - FILM. I also find the complete score releases the way to go, but that's just me.

 
 Posted:   Sep 15, 2013 - 2:35 PM   
 By:   SchiffyM   (Member)

I'm with haines on all counts. Waxman is one of my absolute favorite composers of any era -- he brought a very modern sensibility to the Golden Age -- and "Sunset Blvd" is one of my top five scores of all time. But if it doesn't work for you, well, why would you listen to it?

 
 Posted:   Sep 15, 2013 - 2:36 PM   
 By:   Sigerson Holmes   (Member)

Don't write him off 'til you've tried "Prince Valiant."

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 15, 2013 - 2:56 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

By the way, Zap, I forgot to mention that I love your title for this topic and the movie reference.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 15, 2013 - 6:33 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

I always found his scores to be a great asset for the movies he did. Never found a bad one from his output and like most composers who have done loads of scores he surely knew the melodic touch.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 15, 2013 - 6:47 PM   
 By:   captain_avis   (Member)

Don't write him off 'til you've tried "Prince Valiant."

I too feel that Waxman is one of these composers that I should appreciate more than I do. His Prince. Ailanthus score though is truly amazing. I haven't found anything else by him that I enjoy nearly as much

Chris

 
 Posted:   Sep 15, 2013 - 7:56 PM   
 By:   ZapBrannigan   (Member)

By the way, Zap, I forgot to mention that I love your title for this topic and the movie reference.

Thanks, Joan! I went over your prior thread. Interesting.

And it seems there might be something to my suggestion that Waxman is controversial. He's a polarizing figure. I mean, this is the Golden Age version of a very heated discussion.

 
 Posted:   Sep 15, 2013 - 8:15 PM   
 By:   Josh Mitchell   (Member)

I mean, this is the Golden Age version of a very heated discussion.

big grin

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 15, 2013 - 8:27 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

This is a heated discussion for Golden Agers? LOL. Watch out for flying walkers and boomerang canes!

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 15, 2013 - 8:35 PM   
 By:   waxmanman35   (Member)

I have a tin ear when it comes to Franz Waxman. I don't get the guy. THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN and PEYTON PLACE are pretty decent, but I don't get swept up.

Granted, the only thing I have to go on is the Charles Gerhardt compilation CD, but it seems both well-selected and well-performed. There's nothing wrong with Gerhardt. That just leaves me and Waxman.

A lot of Golden Age men around here have said he's absolutely great. Does that mean he's controversial, or am I just missing the boat?


I wonder if you likewise judge a film after reading a capsule plot summary? Film music is a subordinated art - it is meant to support a film, and that's the way it should be experienced. Try watching some of the films Waxman scored and see how the music works. You still may not be "swept up," but at least you'll have a fair basis for forming an opinion.

 
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