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 Posted:   Dec 22, 2006 - 7:30 PM   
 By:   scorechaser   (Member)

What is the largest orchestral score todate? Is it still BACK TO THE FUTURE?

Thank you,

Philipp

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 22, 2006 - 7:43 PM   
 By:   vinylscrubber   (Member)

Don't know, but it's got to be something by Dimitri Tiomkin--the incredible orchestral and choral forces marshalled for LAND OF THE PHAROAS, perhaps?

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 22, 2006 - 8:17 PM   
 By:   JEC   (Member)

Which makes me wonder--what is considered a standard orchestra (today) versus, say, the 1940 and 1950 studio orchestras?

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 22, 2006 - 8:50 PM   
 By:   joec   (Member)

Alex North used a huge orchesta for SHOES OF THE FISHERMAN, available through FSM, though I am not sure if he broke any records. BTW, the FSM CD is wonderful!

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 22, 2006 - 9:46 PM   
 By:   larry bender   (Member)

My guess is either CLEOPATRA - SPARTACUS OR SILVERADO.

 
 Posted:   Dec 22, 2006 - 10:51 PM   
 By:   SchiffyM   (Member)

Is it still BACK TO THE FUTURE?

Was that a particularly large orchestra? I don't think it was anything more than the usual.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 22, 2006 - 10:58 PM   
 By:   gumdrops1   (Member)

BACK TO THE FUTURE? Really?

I remember reading an article stating that the orchestra for John Barry's THE BLACK HOLE was massive.

It maybe the largest orchestra Barry has ever conducted for one of his scores.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 22, 2006 - 11:00 PM   
 By:   Michael Arlidge   (Member)

What about Goldenthal's Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within? I know it includes a choir, but even the orchestra alone was massive.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 22, 2006 - 11:08 PM   
 By:   henry   (Member)

What is the average size of an orchestra?

 
 Posted:   Dec 22, 2006 - 11:17 PM   
 By:   scoringsessions   (Member)

What is the average size of an orchestra?

Depending on the project, they usually range from 60-80 pieces. Some of the bigger projects have upwards of 90 pieces, and the biggest one I've personally been to was the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III scoring session with 112-pieces.

Of course, if you include the choir, you can get a away with a smaller orchestra, but larger ensemble..... SUPERMAN RETURNS had a 97-piece orchestra, 60-person choir, and 8-person boys choir for a total of 165-players.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 22, 2006 - 11:19 PM   
 By:   Ford A. Thaxton   (Member)

What is the average size of an orchestra?

I seem to recall reading on some album that Tiomkin said he used a 200 piece group on something (36 Hours?) that was reall OTT.

If anyone was going to use that large a group it would be Tiomkin.


Ford A. Thaxton

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 22, 2006 - 11:31 PM   
 By:   henry   (Member)

I read that Bill Conti used a 44 piece orchestra for Rocky Balboa. That seems small but it sounded really good. Does anyone know what orchestra that was?

 
 Posted:   Dec 22, 2006 - 11:52 PM   
 By:   LeHah   (Member)

If I remember correctly, isn't the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Chorus 250 people? (100 person orchestra, 150 person choir)

They've done a couple film score recordings.

 
 Posted:   Dec 22, 2006 - 11:53 PM   
 By:   Jon A. Bell   (Member)

It's not film music, but Havergal Brian's "Gothic" symphony is generally regarded as requiring the largest orchestra in the classical repertoire:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._1_(Havergal_Brian)

(Just for comparison...)

-- Jon

 
 Posted:   Dec 23, 2006 - 3:49 AM   
 By:   scoringsessions   (Member)

I read that Bill Conti used a 44 piece orchestra for Rocky Balboa. That seems small but it sounded really good. Does anyone know what orchestra that was?

The Hollywood Studio Symphony.

http://www.soundtrack.net/news/article/?id=783

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 23, 2006 - 5:42 AM   
 By:   soundant   (Member)

I remember Jerry Goldsmith saying a very large orchestra was used when he recorded The Blue Max.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 23, 2006 - 5:48 AM   
 By:   Michael Arlidge   (Member)

I remember Jerry Goldsmith saying a very large orchestra was used when he recorded The Blue Max.

According to the soundtrack liner notes, Goldsmith wanted to use 99 players, but the director insisted the number be rounded up to an even 100. Goldsmith protested that it would make no difference, but naturally the director (who didn't show much interest in the music anyway) got his way. So, long story short, yes the orchestra was large, but no more so than normal for a score of that nature.

 
 Posted:   Dec 23, 2006 - 10:04 AM   
 By:   afn   (Member)

The much more interesting question here IMHO is how can they use such massive and sometimes ridiculously oversized ensembles and still can't make it sound accordingly massive?

Bear in mind the tradition of 19th century romanticism (where we all come from, after all :-) ) and the huge orchestras for the works of Richard Wagner and Gustav Mahler. Listen to some of these recordings and you'll know what "massive sound" means.

I constantly wonder why, in most cases, I don't hear any real difference between a 75 or 135 player orchestra playing a film score. Any "real" orchestra playing any "real" classical concert or opera music almost always sounds much more huge and massive than most movie score recordings.

My guess is it's the orchestration and the recording itself... (?)

 
 Posted:   Dec 23, 2006 - 11:18 AM   
 By:   Heath   (Member)

Bigger is not always better. In the hands of a good orchestrator/composer, a small ensemble can sound twice its actual size. I recall Fred Steiner's Star Trek scores for Corbomite Maneuver and Who Mourns For Adonis sounding pretty huge, yet he can't have used more than 30 players.

I seem to remember that Laurence Rosenthal used well over a hundred players for Meteor, but it doesn't "sound" larger than a standard movie orchestra. That's not taking anything away from either Rosenthal or his score (they're both great). He achieved the score that was in his head, and size was, to a degree, irrelevant... except to the producer who no doubt wanted BIG numbers! smile

P.S. You can also double the perceived size of an orchestra by judicious use of reverb and other ambient effects.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 23, 2006 - 11:53 PM   
 By:   mulan98   (Member)

Like many, I'm not sure of a typical size.

I remember reading, at the time of its release, that Basil Poledouris used well over 100 musicians on STARSHIP TROUPERS.

 
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