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 Posted:   Sep 28, 2004 - 8:59 AM   
 By:   Dan Hobgood   (Member)

Poltergeist was guided by Spielberg, and was thus Goldsmith's most "Spielbergian" score (Twilight Zone is episodic). It uses the leitmotivic approach. I feel this is one of his strongest works.

Counter-culture tendencies do play a part in many Williams detractors. Perhaps it is the search for something "else" which drives some to reject leitmotif. It is always the goal of academics to find the next big thing in music. I find great joy as a composer in approaching different subjects with the leitmotif approach as well as the monochromatic approach. Music's main function in film is emotional. Therefore both approaches work equally well under different circumstances. But for a film as rich and varied as Star Wars, the Mummy "everything is related" approach simply would have dragged the film down.


I disagree, with all due respect. I think Star Wars could have greatly benefitted from a Mummy-esque, or Supergirl-esque, etc., approach. More complementary with the nature of Lucas' film.

I don't know if I'd say Twilight Zone is leitmotivic per se. While its themes were not substantially related to one another, I'd say the effort was more like four mini-theme and variation scores in one--wouldn't you agree?

Thanks for posting!

Dan

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 28, 2004 - 9:08 AM   
 By:   c3p007   (Member)

My beef with Williams' recent output is the fact I cannot get along with his warm mushy sound.
The scores are full of french horns and padded strings. Also he doesn't seem to vary orchestration from score to score as he used to do.
Also this thing he has with making his scores sounding more classical than jazz influenced.
His earlier works are full of jazz devices etc.
His latter works are full of classical devices which to me makes it sound stale and unappealing.

That's about it.
And if I'm honest I don't care for that sound at all, therefor have not purchased a Williams score for quite a few years.
Some may say that I am the one missing out - but not really seeing as I wouldn't enjoy the music anyway.

At the end of the day it's all about personal preference and opinion. And this is mine.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 28, 2004 - 11:09 AM   
 By:   Jesse Hopkins   (Member)

I don't know if I'd say Twilight Zone is leitmotivic per se. While its themes were not substantially related to one another, I'd say the effort was more like four mini-theme and variation scores in one--wouldn't you agree?


I agree. I was saying that Twilight Zone is discounted as the typical Spielberg leitmotif style by being episodic. I guess you thought I was saying the other way around.

As for Star Wars benefitting from a Mummy-esque or Supergirl approach, I think that would be interesting, and would probably work, mainly because its Goldsmith and he can do anything. I usually think that Williams' Star Wars scores are more balletic than operatic. There are no arias in movies!

I am a big fan of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, and how it tells the story so many of us know. Using different melodies to describe love, competition, tragedy... It is an approach that should not be abandoned.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 28, 2004 - 11:13 AM   
 By:   Jesse Hopkins   (Member)

And if I'm honest I don't care for that sound at all, therefor have not purchased a Williams score for quite a few years.


To the poster of this thread, I think that answers your question. Some people just don't like the orchestral sound. To many of us it might confound reason, but many people must think I am mad for hating the Rolling Stones. Musical taste is even more subjective than food!

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 28, 2004 - 11:39 AM   
 By:   David Coscina   (Member)

Dan, you make some interesting points. But Williams, like any composer out there, will score a film in how he reacts to it. Goldsmith and Herrmann may have reacted or perceived the film experience in vastly different ways from the way Williams does. This is partly the nature of existence on this conscious plain. We all perceive and act accordingly. On a cerebral level, Williams is probably more than aware of the way HErrmann or Goldsmith approached scoring films. But if reacts to a scene in a particular way and composes music from this (something all film composers do) then we cannot equate that to a conscious act against the Goldsmithian methodology. He's just doing what comes naturally. Maybe he doesn't believe in too much cerebral deliberation. Or maybe he does. Unless we can talk directly with him about his creative process, than, as Ford says, we're all fanboys making silly suppositions.

I'm glad all of these great composers like North (truly underrated incidently), Herrmann, Goldsmith, WIlliams, Korngold, Steiner, Newman, etc. approach(ed) scoring a film in different ways. Otherwise we'd all be pretty bored of a uniform approach toward film scoring.




 
 
 Posted:   Sep 28, 2004 - 12:14 PM   
 By:   Morlock1   (Member)

I disagree with a lot of what Dan said. Though I do whole heartedly agree that Presumed Innocent is a great score.
About Star Wars specificaly:
Star Wars is an achievemnt that no one could hope to match. No series of scores has ever been as succesful. I think the greatest testament to that is that 16 years later The Phantom Menace, despite being a distinctly different score, shares a unity with the first three, and creates an instant familiarity with the worlds. And the brilliant new themes for Anakin, and Qui Gon create immidiate empathy for the characters, and really makes the whole film a Star Wars film and it's characters Star Wars characters, something that the film was sorely lacking up to that point.
If Williams would've scored the film like The Mummy, which is a fun score, his SW scores and the impact of them would be muted. With his Star Wars method of scoring, he transcended that and created a musical world unparalleled in film scoring history.

 
 Posted:   Sep 28, 2004 - 12:35 PM   
 By:   WesllDeckers   (Member)

(...) 16 years later The Phantom Menace, despite being a distinctly different score, shares a unity with the first three, and creates an instant familiarity with the worlds.

Only familiarity, IMO.
I found TPM pretty weak for a SW film, and too much in the same vein(?) Williams writes about every BIG film since 1989. It's especially obvious in the moments where he didn't really use one of his themes...

Biggest problem I have, BTW, with both TPM and AOTC, is the small dynamic 'reach' of the albums... It just sounds too 'hard-limited' and it DOES cloud my judgement.

 
 Posted:   Sep 28, 2004 - 4:42 PM   
 By:   Heath   (Member)

I have to say that the vaguely (at best) negative threads about John Williams that have emerged lately seem to be a reaction to the passing of some very great film composers. I don't think this is being done out of deliberate malice, but rather as a subconscious redirection and reinterpretation of "grief".

Human beings have an odd tendency to pick apart that which gives them light and hope. It's like they're testing the damn things for loyalty/durability/strength. It may well be a sign of the kind of insecurity that says "I'm gonna treat you bad to see if ya still love me at the end of it". The Bernard Herrmann Syndrome in other words.

Penguin Freud perhaps, but it might be worth thinking about.

Heath

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 28, 2004 - 6:11 PM   
 By:   Dan Hobgood   (Member)

Dan, you make some interesting points. But Williams, like any composer out there, will score a film in how he reacts to it. Goldsmith and Herrmann may have reacted or perceived the film experience in vastly different ways from the way Williams does. This is partly the nature of existence on this conscious plain. We all perceive and act accordingly. On a cerebral level, Williams is probably more than aware of the way HErrmann or Goldsmith approached scoring films. But if reacts to a scene in a particular way and composes music from this (something all film composers do) then we cannot equate that to a conscious act against the Goldsmithian methodology. He's just doing what comes naturally. Maybe he doesn't believe in too much cerebral deliberation. Or maybe he does. Unless we can talk directly with him about his creative process, than, as Ford says, we're all fanboys making silly suppositions.

I'm glad all of these great composers like North (truly underrated incidently), Herrmann, Goldsmith, WIlliams, Korngold, Steiner, Newman, etc. approach(ed) scoring a film in different ways. Otherwise we'd all be pretty bored of a uniform approach toward film scoring.


Honestly, I can't think of how a film composer can satisfy his task without approaching a picture intellectually.

Regarding your last assertion: I would hardly characterize Goldsmith's canon as boring, or even uniform. In fact, he's probably--no, make that definitely--the most versatile film composer there's been.

DH

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 28, 2004 - 7:02 PM   
 By:   The Blue Mule   (Member)

To me Williams although wondeful in his own right, tends to be like the pop comic book artist who continually paints or draws the same thing the same way,like John Byrne,big broad strokes with the same color same superhero pose massive grimmaced face even though the character is greeting someone in a happy secenario, hardly ever creating a subtle pose that real artist can study.

Goldsmith moves in a very complex way in making something that is simple by nature look very difficult to figure out, this may turn off kiddies or those that expect a certain "accepted" style or look. They don't want to sit and figure it out,they react on an emotional basis and say I dont get it.
Take George Perez, a comic book artist that literally fills his panels and layouts with so much pencil work there is hardly any white left on the bond paper. It's certainlly overwhelming and strong maybe for the viewer nothing stands out eccept for the main poses because of all the info it posesses, but later you can stroll your eyes along the panels and look deep in the back grounds and see subtle poses that may look simplistic but have more technique and skill in them and relay an emotion that the constant strong broad Superhero poses lack.

But I think its the directors that the two composers work from that finally gets what is asked of them. William's directors tend to want Mickey Mousing while Goldsmith's directors want something inbedded in the film.

Ans to be honest in one more point, all Williams scores with the ecception of a tad few make me remember that movie, most times when i don't want to,where as almost all of Goldsmith's scores fill me with imagination and images that i'm inspired to want to work from.

Laters.

Rich

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 28, 2004 - 8:20 PM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)


In fact, he's probably--no, make that definitely--the most versatile film composer there's been.
DH


IYHO, of course.

Sorry to be tediously repetitive, but if you will present unprovable opinions as facts, I'm afraid my hackles will keep rising.

Dan, we know that you love Goldsmith's music, but there are plenty of people who would disagree with this assertion.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 28, 2004 - 9:16 PM   
 By:   Dan Hobgood   (Member)

IYHO, of course.

Not this time. Can you think of someone that comes even close to Goldsmith's already-demonstrated, chameleon-like depth of expression?

To be honest, I can't believe this is being challenged.

Dan

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 28, 2004 - 11:01 PM   
 By:   Jesse Hopkins   (Member)

I love Goldsmith. But with all due respect, there are a lot of composers as chameleon-like as he is. That's not what makes Goldsmith great in my opinion. I think what makes him great is the particular notes he chooses, his style, his orchestration, and the way he chooses to write for film. But there are times, like Hoosiers, where I just don't like the instrumentation. Chameleon-like or not - I agree with Alex on the Simmons drum issue.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 28, 2004 - 11:38 PM   
 By:   Jaquandor   (Member)

Not this time. Can you think of someone that comes even close to Goldsmith's already-demonstrated, chameleon-like depth of expression?

Williams, for one.

To be honest, I can't believe this is being challenged.

Sure you can! Just try. Easy, wasn't it?

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 28, 2004 - 11:45 PM   
 By:   Jaquandor   (Member)

I have to say that the vaguely (at best) negative threads about John Williams that have emerged lately seem to be a reaction to the passing of some very great film composers. I don't think this is being done out of deliberate malice, but rather as a subconscious redirection and reinterpretation of "grief".

Human beings have an odd tendency to pick apart that which gives them light and hope. It's like they're testing the damn things for loyalty/durability/strength. It may well be a sign of the kind of insecurity that says "I'm gonna treat you bad to see if ya still love me at the end of it". The Bernard Herrmann Syndrome in other words.

Penguin Freud perhaps, but it might be worth thinking about.

Heath


I agree with this. Reading some of the stuff here lately, it almost makes me wonder that if Williams were to join the others who have recently joined the Choir Invisible, we'd see threads along the lines of "Thank God we don't have to listen to any more of that crap again". And on the flip side, I find something a bit unseemly about the near-deification of those recently-deceased masters.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 29, 2004 - 12:21 AM   
 By:   JohnSWalsh   (Member)

I have to say that the vaguely (at best) negative threads about John Williams that have emerged lately seem to be a reaction to the passing of some very great film composers. I don't think this is being done out of deliberate malice, but rather as a subconscious redirection and reinterpretation of "grief".

Human beings have an odd tendency to pick apart that which gives them light and hope. It's like they're testing the damn things for loyalty/durability/strength. It may well be a sign of the kind of insecurity that says "I'm gonna treat you bad to see if ya still love me at the end of it". The Bernard Herrmann Syndrome in other words.

Penguin Freud perhaps, but it might be worth thinking about.

Heath



I can speak to this, as I started this thread:

You're completely wrong. The reasons I stated are the reasons I have. Period. I tried to make this anything BUT an "anti-Williams" thread. I just wanted a clearing house for those folks who dislike his scores so I could get a bead on their reasoning.

Those who have posted intelligent reasons--particularly Dan--have made me think about their positions. I happen to disagree with his conclusion, but now at least I understand that his is a legitimate point. Just one I don't happen to share.

Sometimes, to find out why someone posts something, all you have to do is ask. (Or read their explanation.)

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 29, 2004 - 12:23 AM   
 By:   JohnSWalsh   (Member)

To me Williams although wondeful in his own right, tends to be like the pop comic book artist who continually paints or draws the same thing the same way,like John Byrne,big broad strokes with the same color same superhero pose massive grimmaced face even though the character is greeting someone in a happy secenario, hardly ever creating a subtle pose that real artist can study.

Goldsmith moves in a very complex way in making something that is simple by nature look very difficult to figure out, this may turn off kiddies or those that expect a certain "accepted" style or look. They don't want to sit and figure it out,they react on an emotional basis and say I dont get it.
Take George Perez, a comic book artist that literally fills his panels and layouts with so much pencil work there is hardly any white left on the bond paper. It's certainlly overwhelming and strong maybe for the viewer nothing stands out eccept for the main poses because of all the info it posesses, but later you can stroll your eyes along the panels and look deep in the back grounds and see subtle poses that may look simplistic but have more technique and skill in them and relay an emotion that the constant strong broad Superhero poses lack.

But I think its the directors that the two composers work from that finally gets what is asked of them. William's directors tend to want Mickey Mousing while Goldsmith's directors want something inbedded in the film.

Ans to be honest in one more point, all Williams scores with the ecception of a tad few make me remember that movie, most times when i don't want to,where as almost all of Goldsmith's scores fill me with imagination and images that i'm inspired to want to work from.

Laters.

Rich



Don't be insulted, but I could have written your post, it so closely follows my feelings. Excellent! (But you knew I was gonna say that, didn't you?)

I particularly agree with the idea that Williams's scores remind me of the movies, while Goldsmith's open my imagination to think up my own stories and screenplays.

Well said!

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 29, 2004 - 12:26 AM   
 By:   JohnSWalsh   (Member)



IYHO, of course.

Sorry to be tediously repetitive, but if you will present unprovable opinions as facts, I'm afraid my hackles will keep rising.

Dan, we know that you love Goldsmith's music, but there are plenty of people who would disagree with this assertion.



Don't let it bug you. People adding "IMHO" all the time is repetitive and boring. You don't see opinion columnists or movie reviewers doing it, why should posters do it? They're stating something as they see it. It's not forcing YOU to feel it.

So...relax. And if you need to, mentally add "IMHO" to these posts.

Like this one. wink

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 29, 2004 - 12:29 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

I find something a bit unseemly about the near-deification of those recently-deceased masters.

Oh yeah like there weren't plenty of raves for the music and the talent behind said music while they were aliveroll eyes.

I agree with Thor, this tug-of-war is pointless and let me add vulgar and beneath the dignity of a place where good film music is revered. Confusion exists when the music itself and the approach to scoring are wrongfully interchanged. They are separate beasts, at least in the academic sense. Whatever. Bottom line is that Williams, Goldsmith, Barry, Herrrmann, Steiner, Waxman, et al. have powerfully enhanced the motion picture experience in each his own manner.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 29, 2004 - 12:48 AM   
 By:   Jaquandor   (Member)

I find something a bit unseemly about the near-deification of those recently-deceased masters.

Oh yeah like there weren't plenty of raves for the music and the talent behind said music while they were aliveroll eyes.


Such threads have been far more frequent in recent months, though, and often with a subtext of "Everyone else -- and that's you, John Williams -- stinks beside Jerry Goldsmith, who produced a masterpiece every time he set pen to paper".

Granted, there have been other annoyingly persistent topics as well (how many threads in the last couple of weeks have been devoted to STAR WARS and what a hack George Lucas is and so on?), but it still seems to me that the general tone here is that John Williams is unfit to so much as hand Jerry Goldsmith his next sheet of blank manuscript paper.

I agree with Thor, this tug-of-war is pointless and let me add vulgar and beneath the dignity of a place where good film music is revered. Confusion exists when the music itself and the approach to scoring are wrongfully interchanged. They are separate beasts, at least in the academic sense. Whatever. Bottom line is that Williams, Goldsmith, Barry, Herrrmann, Steiner, Waxman, et al. have powerfully enhanced the motion picture experience in each his own manner.

I don't disagree with this. What bugs me is the sense, especially in the myriad Goldsmith-centric threads, that the man produced nothing but masterpieces each time out, that film itself will no longer be a worthy art form in his absence, and that he is somehow in some kind of rarefied air above and beyond every other composer who has ever set pen to paper. (To say nothing at all, of course, of the idea that we can define with factual certainty what constitutes a good score, or even a "valid" one, an idea that does violence to everything I've ever learned about art and music and storytelling. But once again, we've covered that many times in other threads, haven't we?)

 
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