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 Posted:   Jul 8, 2006 - 4:18 PM   
 By:   jkholm   (Member)

First of all, this is one of those posts about whether or not film music composers have “stolen” or otherwise borrowed from classical composers so if you’re sick of this kind of thread I promise I won’t be offended if nobody responds. I’m surprised I’m even bringing the subject up since I rarely read, let alone post, about this topic.

In yesterday’s “Did They Mention the Music?” section of the Film Score Friday column, a quote from a critic mentioned that John Williams used Richard Strauss’s Death and Transfiguration as an inspiration for “Can You Read My Mind” from Superman. I’ve never heard this claim before. Since this is one of my favorite pieces by Williams, I’m wondering how accurate this statement is. Are the two pieces similar in form or melodic and harmonic structure? Despite a large classical library, I don’t own any of Strauss’s tone poems. Usually when someone claims that some piece of film music is a rip-off of some classical piece, I find that it is a deliberate homage or inspiration or purely coincidence.
Thanks.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2006 - 5:22 PM   
 By:   Kev McGann   (Member)

I agree, I read that comment and wondered if any other posters here might be familiar with the Strauss piece and confirm or deny any such similarity. Calling all Strauss fans....

 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2006 - 5:23 PM   
 By:   Neil S. Bulk   (Member)

I'll confirm it.

Neil

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2006 - 5:48 PM   
 By:   MMM   (Member)

And of course, in a more general sense, if Howard Hanson hadn't existed, neither would the John Williams you all know and love. If you don't know his work and you're a film music fan, it's a great way to "jump over" into classical music. You've find a LOT of similarities in Williams' writing and Hanson's. And, no, Williams didn't come first.

 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2006 - 6:29 PM   
 By:   Olivier   (Member)

Do have any specific Hanson recommendations, please?

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2006 - 7:34 PM   
 By:   Morlock1   (Member)

I'll confirm it.

Neil


Me too.

But I hate the way he said it. It sounds like he was trying to sound smart, and was waiting for an opportunity to print this juicy bit of film music gossip.

Morlock- who kind of lost interest in film music 'liftings' after he heard this one, which is the mother-load

 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2006 - 7:40 PM   
 By:   Jeff Eldridge   (Member)

a quote from a critic mentioned that John Williams used Richard Strauss’s Death and Transfiguration as an inspiration for “Can You Read My Mind” from Superman.

This claim has been around in print since at least 1979. And it's completely bogus.

Can You Read My Mind: C E G e d

Death and Transfiguration: C D E e d

Of the five notes, three are the same and two are different. And after these first five notes, the rest of the melodies are completely different.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2006 - 8:24 PM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

Tiresome, tin-eared nonsense. There is something in the human psyche that wants to transform similarities into identities. Think Gestalt psychology. You know, ink blots and the like. And that's harmless enough.

Unfortunately there is a less attractive trait whereby mankind uses these "discoveries" to disparage creativity that works within an established tradition. Are the phrases similar? Of course. But what do the composers do with their building blocks? Strauss and Williams, in their different ways, do wonderful things. You cannot say the same for their more simplistic critics.

Thank you, Jeff, for citing chapter and verse.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2006 - 5:10 AM   
 By:   King Conan   (Member)

Discovering Hanson? I propose this :

Howard Hanson - Symphonies (complete) - Gerard Schwartz with Seattle Symphony and New York Chamber Symphony - DE 3150

It's a Delos box with 4 CDs. And it's great.

 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2006 - 1:48 PM   
 By:   Damian   (Member)

Discovering Hanson? I propose this :

Howard Hanson - Symphonies (complete) - Gerard Schwartz with Seattle Symphony and New York Chamber Symphony - DE 3150

It's a Delos box with 4 CDs. And it's great.




I also have Schwarz doing the symphonies(bar 1+2 by Hanson himself).On the discs I have are a few other things worth a listen-

Fantasy variations on a theme of youth
seenade for flute harp strings
Lament for Beowolf
Pastorale for oboe harp strings
Merry Mount suite
Mosaics

all a good listen

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2006 - 3:29 PM   
 By:   Alexcremers   (Member)

And of course, in a more general sense, if Howard Hanson hadn't existed, neither would the John Williams you all know and love. If you don't know his work and you're a film music fan, it's a great way to "jump over" into classical music. You've find a LOT of similarities in Williams' writing and Hanson's. And, no, Williams didn't come first.

I got everything Howard Hanson ever composed and let me tell you, it ain't Williams. Craaaaaaazy talk.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 10, 2006 - 9:50 AM   
 By:   Matt Perkins.   (Member)

Do have any specific Hanson recommendations, please?


Try Hanson's Symphony #2 (The Romantic) - a beautiful piece indeed (as is all his music, you really can't go wrong whichever piece you start with). There's a brand new recording on the Telarc label with Erich Kunzel conducting the Cincinatti Pops (I haven't heard it but imagine it sounds great). And if you're not familiar with the Richard Strauss piece, there's a great (mid-price) '70s Karajan/BPO recording of Death and Transfiguration (which incidentally bears no more than the most superficial thematic resemblance to Williams' "Can you Read My Mind"..! That "critic" was trying to be a smart-ass and it backfired, revealing his ignorance instead) which also features other stunning Strauss works, Metamorphosen and Four Last Songs - both unbelievably haunting.

 
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