Film Score Monthly
FSM HOME MESSAGE BOARD FSM CDs FSM ONLINE RESOURCES FUN STUFF ABOUT US  SEARCH FSM   
Search Terms: 
Search Within:   search tips 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
 
 Posted:   Dec 1, 2012 - 5:16 PM   
 By:   Marcus Vinicius   (Member)

I think that the new Quo Vadis recording sounds better than the old one. Though there is nothing like the original recording to a movie, the original Quo Vadis recording sounds so dry compared to the new one. Good job James Fitzpatrick. Please give Lucie Svehlova my regards as I am a violinist as well.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 1, 2012 - 6:28 PM   
 By:   hal_jackson   (Member)

I wouldn't expect a recording from 1950 to sound as good as a modern one. I do like the sound on the 1977 album, but too much material is missing. Rozsa had to reconstruct the full scores for the cues he recorded because MGM stupidly dumped their full scores and parts into a landfill in 1969.

 
 Posted:   Dec 2, 2012 - 5:56 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

Many scores from 1950 DO sound remarkable, and as FSM has proven time and again, in the slightly later stereo era, amazing quality is as near as makes no difference on many recordings.

Rozsa however, in his quest for authenticity, which led him to all those amazing period tunes used, had for QV an obsession about authentic ambiences, which meant he kept all the neighbours at Borehamwood awake with night-time recordings of the marches, simply to get an outdoor ambience. This led to a dryness on some of those pieces. Great precision and pace, but dry and maybe a little clipped. In fact those marches sound more evocative in slight echo.

Tadlow, if you put the 'Hail Nero' through a waveform analysis, have pushed the sound to the limit to create a harshness on 'Hail Nero' that fits the film sound.

I find the exotic chamber pieces amazing on this new release. The sense of lavish pagan sensuality comes through on every instrument, it just works. The Prague people have excellent woodwind players. Sometimes modern recordings do that sort of thing well, but aren't so hot on the MIX of instruments in, say, a string quartet, but Tadlow have enough mike control to get both worlds accurate.

The venue (church?) for the London choral bits is quite echoey, and that's just right to convey an archaic sense of catacombs, quarries, and the ecclesiastical. That's an artistic decision, and the right one. The dryness of the original led to, for example, the cantor on 'Iesu Lord' sounding like Spike Milligan in comedy mode.


And of course, so many new pieces. I'm intrigued at how 'Hymn to Helios' comes out on the Poppaea scene, a piece never before heard.

Ustinov on screen clearly couldn't remember the tune he was meant to be singing (one of the Mesomedes 'Muse' tunes heard elsewhere in 'Dance of the Muses') for his 'Upon These Lilies' song, so he must've improvised. How would we ever guess how much work Rozsa put in with this score, a labour of love, without this new recording, which manages the vigour of the original, and the mystical feel of the 1970s re-recording, the best of both worlds.

 
 Posted:   Dec 2, 2012 - 2:50 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

Another fantastic cathartic moment in the score is the bit where Lygia's theme suddenly surges back in 'The Burning of Rome'. Pure magic that bit, and to think they had the gall to delete the whole passage. Rozsa's 1970s edit doesn't do that piece any justice either.

 
 Posted:   Dec 2, 2012 - 5:32 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

Yes, if Angel studios is a normal studio, then the 'churchy' ambience on the choral bits must've been a deliberate decision by James Fitz. A good call.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 3, 2012 - 6:13 PM   
 By:   Marcus Vinicius   (Member)

Many scores from 1950 DO sound remarkable, and as FSM has proven time and again, in the slightly later stereo era, amazing quality is as near as makes no difference on many recordings.

Rozsa however, in his quest for authenticity, which led him to all those amazing period tunes used, had for QV an obsession about authentic ambiences, which meant he kept all the neighbours at Borehamwood awake with night-time recordings of the marches, simply to get an outdoor ambience. This led to a dryness on some of those pieces. Great precision and pace, but dry and maybe a little clipped. In fact those marches sound more evocative in slight echo.

Tadlow, if you put the 'Hail Nero' through a waveform analysis, have pushed the sound to the limit to create a harshness on 'Hail Nero' that fits the film sound.

I find the exotic chamber pieces amazing on this new release. The sense of lavish pagan sensuality comes through on every instrument, it just works. The Prague people have excellent woodwind players. Sometimes modern recordings do that sort of thing well, but aren't so hot on the MIX of instruments in, say, a string quartet, but Tadlow have enough mike control to get both worlds accurate.

The venue (church?) for the London choral bits is quite echoey, and that's just right to convey an archaic sense of catacombs, quarries, and the ecclesiastical. That's an artistic decision, and the right one. The dryness of the original led to, for example, the cantor on 'Iesu Lord' sounding like Spike Milligan in comedy mode.


And of course, so many new pieces. I'm intrigued at how 'Hymn to Helios' comes out on the Poppaea scene, a piece never before heard.

Ustinov on screen clearly couldn't remember the tune he was meant to be singing (one of the Mesomedes 'Muse' tunes heard elsewhere in 'Dance of the Muses') for his 'Upon These Lilies' song, so he must've improvised. How would we ever guess how much work Rozsa put in with this score, a labour of love, without this new recording, which manages the vigour of the original, and the mystical feel of the 1970s re-recording, the best of both worlds.



Yes. The original Hail Nero sounds very harsh, but it's almost a good sounding harshness. Especially on the drums. You can't hear the drums as nicely on the new recording as you can on the old.

 
 Posted:   Jan 25, 2014 - 4:47 PM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

dp

 
 Posted:   Jan 25, 2014 - 5:06 PM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

Over time, I've given up on the Tadlow set altogether. Despite the really magnificent performance and brilliant scholarship involved, the atrocious distortion in the "big" passages is similar to their similarly distorted Conan the Barbarian. What a pity that great performances have been so ruined.

Doug Fake weighed in last month and got it right:

"I want to enjoy the otherwise spectacular Quo Vadis re-recording made by Tadlow but the mastering is so heavily normalized that virtually everything plays too loud. The climaxes of the marches are actually distorted to a point where the trumpets and horns are indistinguishable from the loud noise. Add an overdose of low end and reverb and the results don't appeal to me. In a new digital-age recording of a large orchestra and all of the colors it produces, this is not the sound I think we should be getting. I appreciate it has become a matter of taste but it just is not my taste".

I'd say he's being kind. What makes it all the more frustrating is the excellence of sound in most other Tadlow re-recordings. If I want to listen to Quo Vadis, I make do with the Rozsa-conducted Decca version.

 
 Posted:   Jan 25, 2014 - 11:06 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

You're being a tad harsh, Basil.

Tadlow like to create an ambience in their records that is good and audiophile to the modern ear, BUT also approximates to a recreation of the original sound on the OST, and is 'faithful'.

Rozsa did make his marches harsh for QV (which he didn't for BH, KoKs, or even JC), as an experiment in 'authentic' outdoor ambience. Tadlow/Prometheus have had a go at that feel, but not so much as to make it an inferior recording.

If they try to emulate the original, they take flak, if they DON'T, they take flak.

Blame Rozsa. He scrapped the idea for his later Roman epics, but people do kick a stink if it hasn't got that 'OST' feel. I don't, but most here do.

What do you make of the 'Voxcetera' sequences in London Angel studios? They're very compatible with the London Decca feel you're referring to.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 26, 2014 - 6:01 AM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

There's a critic in Fanfare who, while reviewing some new Wagner release, will often refer back to the Solti Decca Ring as a muddy and overly resonant representation of work by an inept music director who single-handedly destroyed the art of Wagnerian conducting. Yes, she's referring to a set that was hailed at the time as "the greatest achievement in the history of the gramophone" and honored ever since as an audio benchmark. Since the writer (Lynn Rene Bayley) makes only these occasional hit-and-run attacks, it's hard to know where she's coming from.

Similarly, sociological or scientific studies will often produce a data point or two that are so far out of the mainstream, "off the chart," that they are attributed to observational error and omitted from the results.

With all respect to Mr. Wrathbone and Mr. Fake, what I mean by these comparisons is that I have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 26, 2014 - 6:20 AM   
 By:   CinemaScope   (Member)

Don't forget the great re-recording that Rosza did in the late seventies, not the full score, but it sounds terrific, as does the Ben-Hur suit that comes with it. The two-disc set is still available on the Volalion label.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 26, 2014 - 6:21 AM   
 By:   TerraEpon   (Member)

Here's what Basil is talking about:



That's some pretty serious clipping, though I don't think most of it is that bad.

 
 Posted:   Jan 26, 2014 - 6:27 AM   
 By:   ajhfsm   (Member)

Possibly allowing for a little more dynamic range, if that is the fault.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 26, 2014 - 6:29 AM   
 By:   Doug Raynes   (Member)

I don't recall anyone making these sorts of criticism about the Prometheus recording before and the CD was highly praised here and elsewhere. Frankly, I don't see why we should take serious notice of one or two negative posters.

I hadn't previously seen Doug Fake's comment but it always surprises me how the boutique soundtrack label producers are so ready to wade in to criticise colleagues on other labels. It strikes me as the height of unprofessionalism. I don't expect them to be flattering to other labels - they are competitors after all - but they should recognise that they are all in the same business and it's not in their best interests to rubbish the competition.

 
 Posted:   Jan 26, 2014 - 6:55 AM   
 By:   Saul Pincus   (Member)

Having been around pro as well as prosumer software for a long time, I'd venture a guess that your screencap means little, because every program draws waveforms differently.

The supposedly less-pro Final Cut Pro 7, for example, draws waveforms with greater accuracy than the latest version of Avid. With Pro Tools you need to scale the drawing properly to assess accurately - but much prosumer software doesn't allow for this, so there's really no such thing as a visual baseline.

TerraEpon wrote:

Here's what Basil is talking about:



That's some pretty serious clipping, though I don't think most of it is that bad.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 26, 2014 - 8:02 AM   
 By:   Loverozsa   (Member)

Is it really necessary to dreg up criticisms like this after a release has been out for so long? Some
people just like to carp and criticize, masking it as a function of valid critical response. Another example of how some people just don't know when to refrain from valueless criticism and posturing.
To me, the Prometheus "Quo Vadis" is exemplary. Enough said.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 26, 2014 - 8:06 AM   
 By:   paul rossen   (Member)

Is it really necessary to dreg up criticisms like this after a release has been out for so long? Some
people just like to carp and criticize, masking it as a function of valid critical response. Another example of how some people just don't know when to refrain from valueless criticism and posturing.
To me, the Prometheus "Quo Vadis" is exemplary. Enough said.


Agree! What a great recording.

 
 Posted:   Jan 26, 2014 - 11:36 AM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

Another example of how some people just don't know when to refrain from valueless criticism and posturing.



You're the one moaning. The subject was preference for one version versus another. No point saying why one version is not favored unless a reason is given.
Having given a reason, we're then told we shouldn't mention it.
Be sure then, that you also go to the Intrada thread that Mr. Fake started last month and tell him to refrain from his "valueless criticism and posturing".

 
 Posted:   Jan 26, 2014 - 11:55 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

Here's what Basil is talking about:
......
That's some pretty serious clipping, though I don't think most of it is that bad.






But it's the ART you're not accounting for.

I did a similar reading on an old Cool Edit Pro programme, and I may even have posted the pics somewhere, maybe the Rozsa forum? A guy who knows a lot there pointed out that I might need to widen my scale out vertically, and was possibly displaying in the wrong frequency range.


But again: this is surely down to Tadlow's decision to approximate in some ways the original OST. People DO complain if that isn't evoked in some way, and for some reason Quo Vadis? is one they're particularly touchy about.

So, had they not clipped the marches somebody would have said, 'Oh, it's too smooth'. See what 'Marcus Vinicius' says above about 'good harsh'. I personally think Rozsa should have been sensible, and recorded his 1951 marches indoors like everything else, but he did it that way, and that's what people now know. The 'harshness' is deliberate, so go easy on James and crew. They can't please everyone, but they did as good a compromise as they could with the sound on those marches, and they do sound good anyhow.

 
 Posted:   Jan 26, 2014 - 12:48 PM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

I personally think Rozsa should have been sensible, and recorded his 1951 marches indoors like everything else, but he did it that way, and that's what people now know. The 'harshness' is deliberate, so go easy on James and crew.



But that doesn't account for the distortion in passages of Conan the Barbarian being the same (worse, actually).

 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
© 2014 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.