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 Posted:   Oct 11, 2021 - 4:18 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I had that CD for a short while in the 90's - bought it cheap second hand - but I didn't much care for the music on it. So this is nothing for me. Sold it on Ebay.

Lucky e-bay buyer!

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 11, 2021 - 6:21 PM   
 By:   bondo321   (Member)

If they don’t like Zimmer, that’s perfectly fine. I just wish people would stop complaining about him year after year and using logical fallacies to try to prove their point.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 11, 2021 - 7:24 PM   
 By:   Jurassic T. Park   (Member)

If they don’t like Zimmer, that’s perfectly fine. I just wish people would stop complaining about him year after year and using logical fallacies to try to prove their point.

You do realize this thread was set up by First Breath to ask people why they may not like Zimmer? It's meant to be educational to assist those interested in the topic in understanding why it might be the case. There was another thread kind of like this for John Williams as well, a little while ago.

 
 Posted:   Oct 11, 2021 - 8:19 PM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

If they don’t like Zimmer, that’s perfectly fine. I just wish people would stop complaining about him year after year and using logical fallacies to try to prove their point.

You do realize this thread was set up by First Breath to ask people why they may not like Zimmer? It's meant to be educational to assist those interested in the topic in understanding why it might be the case. There was another thread kind of like this for John Williams as well, a little while ago.



Here's the funny thing about "logical fallacies".
The people who don't care for Zimmer's work almost always explain their thoughts in a coherent fashion, without insults or poking fingers at those who do like Zimmer's work.
Once that's been done, the Zimmer fans almost always start screeching "hater, hater, hater".
I do not, nor will I ever, understand why they get so personally threatened.
The reaction is almost Pavlovian at times.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 11, 2021 - 8:34 PM   
 By:   Jurassic T. Park   (Member)

For Mephariel:

How do you know he doesn't have a collection of handmade weird instruments? Maybe he does. Maybe he keeps those sounds in synth samples? Does someone have to have a collection of weird instruments just to experiment? For Batman v Superman for example, Zimmer went to a exotic instrument specialist to obtain them for the sounds he want to make. He doesn't have to own them.

He doesn't have to own them, but I'm throwing out one example of how someone who is revered as being "experimental" doesn't seem to expand beyond just collaborating with others. It seems more like he hires interesting people to do their interesting thing, but I don't really see him doing his own stuff. On the side he does make conventional sample libraries, which don't really connect with the idea of him as experimental.

As for why doesn't he compose experimental music on the side, because he is a film composer?

There are lots of film composers that do non-film score work - John Williams is HUGE on this, Jerry Goldsmith, Howard Shore, Danny Elfman...

Again, like owning experimental instruments, this isn't a requirement. But when fans present Zimmer as a "genius" and "very experimental", one can't help but look at the artist holistically and ask themselves if that is consistent with reality. So far I see in Zimmer a man driven by dedication to the business and to the music in context of his paid film score work. I don't see a creative drive happening externally. It's an observation, not a rule.

I get your perspective, but why did you pick 2000 as the dividing point?[...] However, getting back to Zimmer's resume, I still don't understand why you think his melodic work is limited to the 90s

This is really over-thinking it. I just generally chose 2000 because it broadly delineates between 20th and 21st century, but I think working Christopher Nolan is a better defining point. But also GLADIATOR came out in 2000 and to me that was the pinnacle of where Zimmer could have been heading orchestrally. I'm not saying Zimmer doesn't use orchestras and doesn't write melodies - I was drawing a distinction between the "orchestral" Zimmer and the "experimental" Zimmer, which Zimmer has also expressed as recently DUNE.

And no, someone's attitude and outlook on life does not affect the value of their artwork. That is your perception

Well it does, and various sectors of creative art (music, film, writing, etc.) have demonstrated that bad behavior can affect the lens through which people experience someone's creative output. I don't have entirely negative perceptions of Zimmer but some of the negative perceptions I do have I find reflected in some of his bad compositional habits.

Other than that, a large part of experiencing someone's creative art is perception. Zimmer is not "good" or "not-so-good" depending on what you or I think - those are our own perceptions. At the same time, you can apply standards of musical craftsmanship against a composer (or filmic craftsmanship against a filmmaker), and I think those can shed some light on how a creative person sizes up to educational standards. At the same time, those standards still can be countered by an audience's individual experiences, and those standards can still be challenged based on societal values. Much of Western music is built on compositional constructs stemming from classical music, and that's a whole other value system worth of debate.

 
 Posted:   Oct 12, 2021 - 9:12 AM   
 By:   Scott McOldsmith   (Member)

I'll say this, Zimmer puts on a great live show. His tour was one of the most enjoyable live concerts I'd been to in a long time. Because he doesn't really do orchestral scores and he leans hard on guitars, drums and keyboards, a good deal of his appeal has to do with his music having crossover value. He comes across as the headliner of a band. Like the lead of a self named band, he gets the press and the spotlight, but the folks in the group contribute greatly to the sound and the success. Hans Zimmer is like Van Halen or Bon Jovi.

For me, the enjoyment of Zimmer's music depends on who's in the group at the time.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 12, 2021 - 9:20 AM   
 By:   Mephariel   (Member)

If they don’t like Zimmer, that’s perfectly fine. I just wish people would stop complaining about him year after year and using logical fallacies to try to prove their point.

You do realize this thread was set up by First Breath to ask people why they may not like Zimmer? It's meant to be educational to assist those interested in the topic in understanding why it might be the case. There was another thread kind of like this for John Williams as well, a little while ago.



Here's the funny thing about "logical fallacies".
The people who don't care for Zimmer's work almost always explain their thoughts in a coherent fashion, without insults or poking fingers at those who do like Zimmer's work.
Once that's been done, the Zimmer fans almost always start screeching "hater, hater, hater".
I do not, nor will I ever, understand why they get so personally threatened.
The reaction is almost Pavlovian at times.


Completely false. How are you saying this with a straight face? I browse 3 different forums. The JWforums, this forum, and Filmtracks. I can't tell you the number of times people poke fun of Zimmer. I listened to a podcast from 3 film music fans and they spent 10 minutes mocking Zimmer's persona. He is literally the most hated person in the film music community. The logical fallacies are excessive and amusing. I remember one guy said that Zimmer shouldn't get too much credit for WW84 because he used 7 orchestrators. In the very same thread, he said Call of the Wild was his favorite score that year and forgot to mentioned that Powell used 8 orchestrators. An Outlander fan once said that Zimmer needed to put more names on the front cover. That is rich coming from a McCreary fan (a composer I am also a big fan of). How many additional composers does he have for Foundation again? 7? I don't recall McCreary putting anyone on the front cover or even acknowledging that he uses assistants. I could go on and on ("Zimmer doesn't write melodies"... false). But you know that. I can dig up dozens and dozens of one-liners where people called him "trash" and "Steve Mazzaro LOL." But I don't have to. Even you don't believe what you are saying.

 
 Posted:   Oct 12, 2021 - 9:52 AM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

Completely false. How are you saying this with a straight face? I browse 3 different forums. The JWforums, this forum, and Filmtracks. I can't tell you the number of times people poke fun of Zimmer. I listened to a podcast from 3 film music fans and they spent 10 minutes mocking Zimmer's persona. He is literally the most hated person in the film music community. The logical fallacies are excessive and amusing. I remember one guy said that Zimmer shouldn't get too much credit for WW84 because he used 7 orchestrators. In the very same thread, he said Call of the Wild was his favorite score that year and forgot to mentioned that Powell used 8 orchestrators. An Outlander fan once said that Zimmer needed to put more names on the front cover. That is rich coming from a McCreary fan (a composer I am also a big fan of). How many additional composers does he have for Foundation again? 7? I don't recall McCreary putting anyone on the front cover or even acknowledging that he uses assistants. I could go on and on ("Zimmer doesn't write melodies"... false). But you know that. I can dig up dozens and dozens of one-liners where people called him "trash" and "Steve Mazzaro LOL." But I don't have to. Even you don't believe what you are saying.


I will assume that because my comment was the last part of your quote, you were addressing me.
And I reply thusly:

Do you know what the phrase "almost always" means?
You are the perfect example of what I described.
Do us all a favor and brush up not only on your reading skills, but also your comprehension skills.
I predict that you will double down on the hostility rather than just say, "Oh, I read it wrong". big grin

Additionally, at no point did I make reference to the behaviors on ANY other website.
I meant THIS website.
I thought that was obvious--I guess it wasn't.
Your long-winded ramble is yet another example of how you have to move the goalposts to make a point which doesn't actually have any relevance.

wink

 
 Posted:   Oct 12, 2021 - 10:15 AM   
 By:   Khan   (Member)

Totoro, you posted 13 min after my post. I posted almost 30 min of music. Go ahead and finish before you critique.

Still trolling on a Saturday night? Nothing better to do? Lol.


He's a troll. Ignore him. I'm usually big on being nice and never name calling. He intentionally just posts rude remarks to instigate fights. Move on and don't waste your time.


Totoro is not a troll, he is a god of the forest and he never start fights, on the contrary.

But Totoro has a very good taste, specially in film music.

You should have done do your home work.


Go away, Andre Lux.

 
 Posted:   Oct 12, 2021 - 10:37 AM   
 By:   Totoro   (Member)

 
 Posted:   Oct 12, 2021 - 10:49 AM   
 By:   Totoro   (Member)

 
 Posted:   Oct 12, 2021 - 10:56 AM   
 By:   King Solium   (Member)

Completely false. How are you saying this with a straight face? I browse 3 different forums. The JWforums, this forum, and Filmtracks. I can't tell you the number of times people poke fun of Zimmer. I listened to a podcast from 3 film music fans and they spent 10 minutes mocking Zimmer's persona. He is literally the most hated person in the film music community. The logical fallacies are excessive and amusing. I remember one guy said that Zimmer shouldn't get too much credit for WW84 because he used 7 orchestrators. In the very same thread, he said Call of the Wild was his favorite score that year and forgot to mentioned that Powell used 8 orchestrators. An Outlander fan once said that Zimmer needed to put more names on the front cover. That is rich coming from a McCreary fan (a composer I am also a big fan of). How many additional composers does he have for Foundation again? 7? I don't recall McCreary putting anyone on the front cover or even acknowledging that he uses assistants. I could go on and on ("Zimmer doesn't write melodies"... false). But you know that. I can dig up dozens and dozens of one-liners where people called him "trash" and "Steve Mazzaro LOL." But I don't have to. Even you don't believe what you are saying.



One thing I've learned from all of this, there's no "I" in film scoring.

 
 Posted:   Oct 12, 2021 - 11:14 AM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)




 
 
 Posted:   Oct 12, 2021 - 11:15 AM   
 By:   Jurassic T. Park   (Member)

For First Breath, to give you a simpler answer, I think ultimately it comes down to my finding Zimmer to be really cheesy and obvious without a lot of subtlety. In all of these examples, some combination of that comes through.

For a longer detail of what that all means, here's my breakdown of what you shared. Only two made it as passing, with a third getting partial credit:

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN, even though that still has so many cheesy and un-subtle musical applications. I'd be really curious to see how the process for that music was - I think the movie is very good and the music is well-spotted for it. But I've always liked that since I first saw it, so it was always going to be an easy win. It's a very consistent score.

I'LL DO ANYTHING - New for me, and partially interesting. Has strong echoes of A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN. I think it's really over the top, but it was surprising enough to grab my attention. Another case where I wonder how much of this came from the director. The director's BROADCAST NEWS was also a masterpiece that had pitch-perfect music and I hear some of the same sensibilities here.

Partial credit:

THE HOLIDAY
Cheesy and un-subtle once it breaks into the guitar-driven movement and pop strings, settling back into those over-scored Zimmer tendencies. It's annoyingly obvious for the subject matter, especially when I consider that HOME ALONE had already done "holiday family film" so much better 15 years before and ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND had birthed a completely modern take on romance genre films just a few years prior. But it partially survived because Zimmer avoided monotonous tendencies by having the music change dynamics from quiet to loud, frequently. It's a cheap trick, but was effective enough to warrant mention here.

Otherwise, the rest fall into the same trap:

FOOLS OF FORTUNE
Cheesy chord progressions and un-subtle compositions (not talking about the loud parts, but the quieter parts).

PACIFIC HEIGHTS
Honestly sounds like my least favorite parts of DUNE - very random and over-the-top and annoying vocalizations. I could never stand Zimmer's annoying banjo samples either from this period of time (I grit my teeth through them in BROKEN ARROW). A good representation of how unfocused Zimmer can sound.

RADIO FLYER
Insufferably cheesy banjos and harmonicas with super-obvious lydian mode. Like a student-scored film score.

CALENDAR GIRL
Generic and obvious. Composition sounds lifeless, a good example of a film composer writing out of their genre (which can sometimes work). Already been done for real: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6UCudYNFoc and probably by even better bands (that I can't think of off the top of my head).

THE HOUSE OF THE SPIRITS
Sounds exactly like THE ROCK, GLADIATOR, and THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK. I don't know what the movie is about, but I can't imagine it's as ridiculously over-the-top as those movies to warrant this kind of music. Guarantee this was his creative template for those films though (maybe this is a half-point because I do like those scores).

NINE MONTHS
Cheesy and obvious as it sounds like an adaptation of Bach's "Joy of Man's Desiring" with some E.T. ripoffs in there. Just a very obvious piece for a romantic comedy.

AN EVERLASTING PIECE
Ugh - obnoxious. A great example of the lack of subtlety where there's a chance for authenticity but it's multiplied x 100 with excessive percussion and electric guitars.

RIDING IN CARS WITH BOYS
Same as above. Really cheesy and obvious orchestrations once the song picks up pace with the rhythm. Typically over-orchestrated by Zimmer with cheesy rhythms and chord progressions. Ends with the insufferable over-orchestration and un-subtle strings and electric guitar wailing away. A great example of the lack of subtlety I find with Zimmer.

To conclude by revisiting my previous comment about Zimmer's inconsistency - it's an additional factor that plays into his music. As I indicated in some of these, I think Zimmer's lack of compositional mastery crops up when even a single song on the same score will jump around in styles and techniques. But this also happens across all of these scores (save for the ones that sound like they're the genesis of later scores) - apart from habits like techniques and chord progressions, I don't really hear a strong compositional voice - rather I hear someone who just BARELY made it through the door before it closed and is composing on the edge of their seat, trying to figure it out as they go. I don't listen to it and feel like I'm in the hands of a master or at least in the hands of someone who is bringing their own perspective, stubborn as they might be (Leonard Rosenman, ahem...)

So the things I do like about Zimmer, like THE ROCK, BROKEN ARROW, GLADIATOR, etc. they actually do contain some of the things I don't like: cheesiness, unsubtlety, inconsistency - but it works for the subject matter. Like, THE ROCK is not subtle but it's not an obvious scoring choice for that kind of film either. The music ends up creating this uniquely-over-the-top, uniquely-Zimmer world that makes it enjoyable to listen to.

I don't think Zimmer has found himself yet. I don't think he has found his "thing". I think the industry told him he was good at over-the-top action music (he was), but he was on track for something better. GLADIATOR I think he was just beginning and I think he should have followed that more balanced GLADIATOR / I'LL DO ANYTHING approach. If he is REALLY interested in being an experimental composer, I think he'd be well-served by focusing on experimental orchestral works OUTSIDE of film music to actually grow in that area. Otherwise, I think he should try to focus on picking up the baton with orchestral works where he left off on GLADIATOR and try mastering that for 10 solid years and avoid things that are epic or a "big concept".

 
 Posted:   Oct 12, 2021 - 11:25 AM   
 By:   King Solium   (Member)

I don't know how you can call Zimmer "cheesy" and "over the top" if you like John Williams. For the record I don't find either composer "cheesy". I would describe 80's synth music as cheesy though.

 
 Posted:   Oct 12, 2021 - 11:43 AM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

I don't know how you can call Zimmer "cheesy" and "over the top" if you like John Williams. For the record I don't find either composer "cheesy". I would describe 80's synth music as cheesy though.


Oooh. Burn.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 12, 2021 - 12:03 PM   
 By:   Jurassic T. Park   (Member)

I don't know how you can call Zimmer "cheesy" and "over the top" if you like John Williams. For the record I don't find either composer "cheesy". I would describe 80's synth music as cheesy.

I figured this comment would come up because elements of it are valid (and have been known for quite a while).

Zimmer's cheesiness to me is interrelated with his other habits. I find some of his instrument choices to be cheesy, his compositions to be cheesy with overly-dramatic chord progressions that aren't backed up by the virtuosity of the players (further hampered by simplistic compositions), and the obviousness of his scoring choices to only be pushed into excess by the heaviness of the sound he favors. His rhythms, even up to WW84 are also cheesy - they're very hyperactive and sound more like pop song rhythms but inserted into semi-orchestral music. None of this is helped by his sometimes inconsistent writing within a single film or even a single song, which just adds to that feeling I described that the music isn't compositionally sound and is made by someone who is trying something new and is figuring it out as they go along.

John Williams sometimes could be more accurately called "sappy" or "saccharine" instead of "cheesy", but we all have different definitions. I don't find Williams to be consistently sappy though - there are some films like LINCOLN or SUGARLAND EXPRESS where that is really apparent, but Williams transcends Zimmer on a lot of the points I previously described. Williams very obviously is great at composition. At no point do I listen to a Williams score and wonder if the composer knows what they're doing. He has a solid educational foundation from which he is composing, which can also work against him - his scores are quite orchestral and so if you're not interested in that kind of music (like First Breath explained), then you probably won't like Williams. Williams is also very consistent across his works but also within songs and scores. He clearly knows how to create everything from small transitional cues, to cues that develop and evolve over their duration, to tying the big picture together. I find Zimmer to be far more clunky and inconsistent in this regard. I think GLADIATOR is probably the closest Zimmer has come to a score that manages the small details well while maintaining consistency and progression across the larger work. See, again, Williams is relying on distinct symphonic structures, of which he is devoted to, and he benefits greatly from this. Williams' instrument choices are also always spot on but also benefit from his keen attention to writing for the instrument. Whether it's woodwinds in PRISONER OF AZKABAN, harp in E.T., brass in STAR WARS, Williams puts a lot of thought into scores where certain instruments shine and through his focus on their strengths and specific writing. I've never seen that kind of instrument-specific writing in Zimmer's scores - he tends to use the orchestra more holistically. In terms of predictability, Williams' writing is very complex. It is filled with lots of intricate surprises in harmonic moments, accents, modulations, etc. It's FUN to listen to. However, some of the perceived "sappiness" might come from the sometimes-predictable nature of the CONTOUR of his music. In E.T.'s finale, you can predict the crescendos because it follows the contours of standard operatic/symphonic performances. But that's part of the enjoyment when Williams does that kind of music. However, if that kind of music isn't of interest to you, then yes, that probably will sound quite "sappy".

I think the moments where Williams truly sounds bad are few and far between - HEARTBEEPS is always embarrassing to me, I do find SUGARLAND EXPRESS to be a bit grating (I think I just don't like harmonicas), and when he'll do synthy electronic incidental music (like the diner in ATTACK OF THE CLONES) I think that's outside of his comfort zone. But other than that, Williams benefits from his very distinctive focus on classically-oriented scores that remain consistent throughout his career. That doesn't exempt him from making scores that I find a bit trite (and "sappy") like LINCOLN or STANLEY & IRIS, but as I've mentioned before, even Williams' worst scores have a lot of educational value that make them worth studying from a musical standpoint, because he is a very well-educated composer.

Let it be known to First Breath that I'm not turning this into a Williams thread, I'm simply responding to the comment that was made because I think it's a valuable comment and worth offering a response to facilitate understanding!

 
 Posted:   Oct 12, 2021 - 12:14 PM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

(Just to be clear, I said burn because it's FB's preferred era of pop music. But I'm pretty sure King Sol did not mean it that way.
Or in any unkind way at all.)

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 12, 2021 - 12:25 PM   
 By:   Jurassic T. Park   (Member)

(Just to be clear, I said burn because it's FB's preferred era of pop music. But I'm pretty sure King Sol did not mean it that way.
Or in any unkind way at all.)


Do you mean like burning a CD of pop music?!

Even without King Solium's comment, I had already thought about that perception of Williams and just excluded it because my initial post was already so long.

I've been aware of that being one perception of Williams since I first liked him and I have occasionally shared that perception of some of his music. Even now, when I watch and enjoy films like STAR WARS, INDIANA JONES, E.T., HOME ALONE - even JURASSIC PARK (or a non-Williams film like TERMINATOR 2), I'm very aware that these older films probably appear "cheesy" to modern audiences. But I think they have a lot of value and still relevance in today's society, so I'm always thinking about how elements of those can be brought into the present time rather than just throwing them away under the assumption they're out of date and disposable because they're old. This has kind of been similar to the discussion about the new James Bond movie and the question of whether there is still any merit in the older style of the Bond films.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 12, 2021 - 6:53 PM   
 By:   FrameSoil   (Member)

But it is just odd to me you are criticizing the guy who wrote WW84 and Hillbilly Elegy just last year. Who wrote Boss Baby 2 (Clemmensen actually criticized Zimmer for writing TOO much themes) and Bond this year .

Steve Mazzaro LOL.


Yeah. He did some of it. Doesn't change my point.


No. Not necessarily, it was a bit glib.

In the spirit of making a more productive contribution to this thread, I'll elaborate and try to articulate an argument here. I think the reliance on secondary composers and arrangers does factor into the appraisal of his music's artistic value, and the consequences of this methodology does contribute to why the output music doesn't always work for some people. And note, before I proceed, I didn't say "ghost writers". I've long thought one of the more commendable elements of Zimmer is he does seem to genuinely push for his collaborators to have recognition and I don't recognise that criticism as particularly fair.

But.

It is clear from any earnest and clear-minded appraisal of his musical career, that many of his scores contain musical cues that barely sound like him. That often aren't even consistent within the scope of the score. That often sound like the voice of another composer. That sound like music that he either wouldn't (or couldn't) write. Granted I've not listened to everything. And the effect is more pronounced on some scores than others. But I just don't get that feeling listening to, say, John Powell - even when there is significant involvement from other arrangers.

We know from Zimmer's own words that his method is often to compose a "suite" of ideas for the film and then let the music editors and arrangers have at the bulk of the cue-by-cue scoring. Sometimes the resulting scores work well for the film, sometimes they're a bit disjointed. But simply assessing the suites - which as far as we know are the purest distillation of his core musical sensibilities and voice -, they are usually compositionally fairly basic, utilise a limited pallet of constructs and chord progressions, and the more orchestral stuff sometimes sounds forced and strained.

When you listen to the cues themselves, sometimes you'll hear a composer struggling to extend his musical concept to adapt to what the picture demands. With clumsy, clumping, repetitive arrangements. And then you'll hear an interesting, well-developed cue, and your ears perk up... and inevitably find someone else's name attached to it. John Powell. Henry Jackson. Lorne Balfe. Steve Mazzaro. Even in the tracks linked in the opening post, taking "Fools of Fortune"... the progressions are all the usual familiar stuff, but the arrangement and orchestration sounds completely different to anything I've heard from Zimmer. To the point it sounds like someone else's voice. Which of course, it is, when you see who was involved.

Taking WW84 that you mentioned... and to my "Steve Mazzaro LOL" comment. We know what Zimmer wrote here because he released the album with his demo suites. Some of them are okay. But the lively, punchy versions of them ... we know it's Mazzaro. In particular the more adventurous 1984 track with (albeit basic) contrapuntal writing, and multiple lines of woodwinds and brass, of which there's none to be found in the comparatively stale suites... it's someone else's writing. The more frantic and demanding orchestral animated scores like "Boss Baby" or "Megamind" always have a co-credit. Why? On "Kung Fu Panda" we know the cues with orchestral density and vigour were Powell. And we know Balfe bailed him out on the third one. Again this isn't a "ghost writer" criticism... this is a question of whether collaborator overload dilutes the musical voice of the product, and whether the reason for the collaboration isn't always the purity of musical exchange, but the practicality of being unable to arrange large quantities of varied orchestral music quickly due to a lack of capability.

I think there's something to the comment Jurassic T.Park made about a pre-Gladiator and post-Gladiator Zimmer. Zimmer probably did "get lucky" (good for him!) and found himself on assignments a bit beyond where his capabilities were and gave them his best shot, sometimes with enjoyable results. There's an earnestness and freshness to his 90's work even when the composition itself is sloppy or repetitive. And I don't personally believe a formal classical training is necessarily required to become original or excellent. But something broke. Maybe getting sued by the Holst foundation. Maybe the burden of carrying the tag of being a musical "genius". Maybe boredom with the action genre. But Gladiator feels like one of the few post-2000 works where he truly went beyond his comfort zone, without a reliance on secondary composers to work through the more demanding orchestral ideas. And even that isn't perfect, with some sloppy cues ("Patricide"), and sometimes unsatisfying orchestrations. For me Prince of Egypt probably represents his pinnacle... it's not perfect, but his ideas are well-expressed, suit the material, there is a strong voice, clear themes, clear direction, and an attempt to take on most of the more demanding material himself.

 
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