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 Posted:   Nov 2, 2020 - 3:01 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

You are totally wrong in believing that Antoine Duhamel was frustrated. On the contrary, Duhamel enjoyed very much his work with Godard on PIERROT LE FOU (and three years later on WEEKEND), although Godard used only fragments of the music he had for the most part composed before the films were even finished.

I have read a very different story. In fact, I think it's in the Brown book. Dudamel didn't even know what Godard was doing to the music, and was surprised when he heard the mute/unmute "trick".

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 2, 2020 - 3:18 PM   
 By:   Stefan Schlegel   (Member)


I have read a very different story. In fact, I think it's in the Brown book. Dudamel didn't even know what Godard was doing to the music, and was surprised when he heard the mute/unmute "trick".


Certainly Duhamel was at first surprised, but not at all in a negative way. You can read all of what I have written above in a long interview with Duhamel in the November 1998 issue of the French cinema magazine Positif.
Maybe you can understand French, so here some quotations from this interview:

"Par exemple, la scène où Belmondo et Karina traversent la Durance m´a amené à écrire le fameux thème "Ferdinand". Or Godard l´a exactement employé sur la même sequence, sans que nous soyons concertés au préalable. Autrement dit, ses images m´ont inspiré un thème, et lui, de son côté, a recu ce thème comme étant destiné aux mêmes images. Voilà l´exemple d´une symbiose totale avec un minimum de dialogue!
En plus, Godard sait admirablement utiliser la musique. Il la fait démarrer et l´interrompt au bon etroit… Il se comportait moins en mixeur que´en véritable chef d´orchestre! Trente ans après PIERROT LE FOU, Godard reste, avec Pollet, l´une de mes plus fructueueses rencontres de cinéma."

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 2, 2020 - 3:34 PM   
 By:   William R.   (Member)

I remain baffled by many of Brown's apparently contrarian takes (AMARCORD a "dud???" Cmon man), but at least he's able to criticize something on a rational level, instead of spritzing bile all over the place like Page Cook. His books inspired to me to seek out composers and films (often French, of course) that never would have found otherwise.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 2, 2020 - 3:42 PM   
 By:   Linae   (Member)

Did Royal S. Brown do a list of his top 1960s scores? Did he make any comments/observations?

Chris


I couldn't find any earlier lists for decades than the 1970s, but there might be something that I don't know about.

Mockingbird was "perhaps a top 10 score" for Brown, and that's a score from the 60s. Pierrot le Fou was top 10 of all time material for Brown. He has also praised Ennio Morricone's Once Upon a Time in the West and listed it among his top three or four Morricone scores. He gave it a perfect 10/10 rating, while The Mission was given a 7.5/10.

And yes, he also wrote the following about a 1960 score: "Elmer Bernstein's score for The Magnificent Seven was not only one of film music's major trend setters, it stands as a classic of contemporary American music, film or otherwise"

 
 Posted:   Nov 2, 2020 - 3:51 PM   
 By:   gsteven   (Member)

Brown provided a good alternative to Page Cook back in the day, still I could not understand his dismissal of anything composed by Alfred Newman

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 2, 2020 - 4:08 PM   
 By:   Linae   (Member)

Here is some of his writing:

He called John Williams's The Fury "a masterpiece", but generally finds Williams overrated as a composer.

From Varese Sarabande's ongoing series of CD reissues of MCA original soundtrack recordings comes The Fury (VSD-5264 [ADD?]; 43:39; London Symphony Orchestra), an absolute masterpiece from the pen of John Williams, a composer I have generally found overrated. In his score for Brian De Palma's second go-round with the subject of telekinesis, Williams has created music that stands on its own particularly well but that also communicates the entire affective content of the film if you have seen it . . . and to a degree even if you haven't. Williams has been seen as the rescuer and resuscitator of the symphonic movie score, an honor that is not without its pastichy downside. Here, as usual, the composer mobilizes a large orchestra whose individual instrumental timbres are almost always integrated into the broader orchestral fabric. But in The Fury, Williams, while working in a solidly minor-mode tonal base, ventures into much more modern sounding, much darker harmonic domains, and much more complex textures, than he usually does, so that the emotions are continually jolted nearer to the level of the collective unconscious than in such more consciously archetype-on-sleeve scores as Star Wars and Superman. Further, The Fury contains one of the supreme musico-visual amalgams of cinema history. Around an hour and a quarter into the film, the telekinetic, psychic Gillian (Amy Irving) escapes from the secret, government-run testing center where she is being held against her will. The six-minute musical cue, entitled “Gillian's Escape,“ begins with some ominous, low figures as Gillian and Hester (Carrie Snodgress) prepare her escape. As Gillian runs out of the building, director De Palma cuts off the voice track and turns to the slow motion he often uses in key sequences, while the music rises to a joyous theme, initially in a bitonal harmonic setting, in the high strings. Additional resonance from various bells adds an eerie note. From this point on, the score slowly becomes darker and darker as Gillian's pursuer's close in on her. Action and score reach a pitch of almost unbearable, elegaic intensity as Hester is struck and killed by an automobile in one of De Palma's crudest manipulations and one of Williams's saddest

Moments later, De Palma and Williams ingeniously create a bit of “Mickey Mousing“ that grows totally out of the musical structure as the three shots fired by Gillian's rescuer (Kirk Douglas) coincide with the first three of a series of major triads played in the horns and oboes beneath a high, sustained unison in the violins. The sequence closes with a particularly poignant reprise of the film's dirge-like main theme as Gillian and her rescuer escape. This is music that can elicit tears even without its film; with it, it tears you apart. And the music remains on this elevated level throughout, which the film unfortunately does not. Included on this CD is an original, very serioso version of the “Death on the Carousel“ cue not heard on the LP and replaced in the film by a synthesized-calliope version of the main theme that speeds and glissandos upward as Gillian's counterpart (Andrew Stevens) telekinetically trashes a carnival ride. One wishes the producers of the Vertigo CD had likewise returned to the original material. The Fury CD closes with an “Epilogue“ for strings, a deeply moving, concert elegy not heard in the film. The sound captures with equal depth and clarity Williams's beautifully mobilized strings and his varied deployment of the winds, although I must say that the digital side of the transfer was much more apparent through my speakers than on my earphones, which is not always the case. The Fury should be a basic film-score recording in any collection. And those who like The Fury will not want to be without its companion piece, Dracula, penned a year later, reissued on Varese Sarabande

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 3, 2020 - 2:36 AM   
 By:   Stefan Schlegel   (Member)

I have read a very different story. In fact, I think it's in the Brown book. Dudamel didn't even know what Godard was doing to the music, and was surprised when he heard the mute/unmute "trick".

I have looked up the Brown book again and not even there any frustration on Duhamel´s part is mentioned. So I don´t know where you got that from.
Above all, you seem to forget a very important thing: The prerequisite of the Duhamel/Godard collaboration was that Duhamel supplied the music in advance (in the case of PIERROT LE FOU an almost classical suite with four movements mainly for strings) and Godard could then do with it what he liked. This was of course based on a mutual agreement between the two of them!
Duhamel was not at all naive or had any wrong expectations as you may suggest and he was familiar with Godard´s working methods.
I would recommend you to buy the PIERROT LE FOU/WEEKEND CD from Universal France and read the liner notes in the booklet which are mainly based on Stéphane Lerouge´s conversations with Duhamel. Duhamel was a great admirer of Godard. And above all these notes by him are very important to understand why he could not be frustrated by Godard´s handling of his music in the way a more traditional (film) composer probably would have been:
"Godard revolutionised my life as a spectator in 1961 with UNE FEMME EST UNE FEMME which Michel Legrand set to music. His modern, iconoclastic way of treating a musical was like an electroshock, not to mention that stupefying technique in fragmenting a score: Anna Karina walks down a street over the music; she turns around, and the music stops; when she continues, the music picks up again. My feelings about Godard´s musical approach owe a good deal to that sequence, and his aesthetic nerve. Godard´s great achievement was to be at the cutting edge of the avant-garde and still make films seen by a large audience. He always knew how to create an event without compromising his goal. To me that situation represents a sort of ideal... and my greatest ambition was to work with Godard."

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 3, 2020 - 3:22 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I know that Dudamel generally appreciated his collabs with Godard. It's not like when North discovered Kubrick had jettisoned his music in 2001 or anything. I'm primarily referring to this sentence in the Brown book:

"One can almost sense a frustrated composer in some of the ways that Godard modified parts of Dudamel's score via music-editing technologies" (p. 201).

But yeah, re-reading it now, it's more Brown's speculation than actual truth.

Soundtrack-wise, I have the lavish NOUVELLE VAGUE 3CD set from Universal, which covers a lot of bases - including PIERROT LE FOU. I would be interested in acquiring the dedicated soundtrack at some point, though.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 3, 2020 - 3:35 AM   
 By:   Stefan Schlegel   (Member)

I know that Dudamel generally appreciated his collabs with Godard. It's not like when North discovered Kubrick had jettisoned his music in 2001 or anything. I'm primarily referring to this sentence in the Brown book:

"One can almost sense a frustrated composer in some of the ways that Godard modified parts of Dudamel's score via music-editing technologies" (p. 201).

But yeah, re-reading it now, it's more Brown's speculation than actual truth.


It is just as I wrote above: Of course, a more traditional composer - take for example someone like Miklós Rózsa - would have been certainly disappointed by the way Godard used his music - and this is what Brown means. But this was not the case with Duhamel who orignally came from the avant-garde (he was a pupil of Olivier Messiaen) and who appreciated Godard´s working style. For him, the complete score he had composed existed outside of the film as more or less autonomous music and could be heard on LP (or later CD) whereas within the film itself it could be used in manifold and very unusual ways to create a new art form.

By the way, Thor, it is not "Dudamel", but "Duhamel" smile

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 3, 2020 - 4:04 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)



By the way, Thor, it is not "Dudamel", but "Duhamel" smile


Yes, sorry about the typo. Damn you, Gustavo!

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 3, 2020 - 4:55 AM   
 By:   Rameau   (Member)

Well it just comes down to one bloke's list of favourite film scores.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 3, 2020 - 1:07 PM   
 By:   Chris Malone   (Member)

Thanks for digging out a few 1960s score observations!

Chris

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 3, 2020 - 2:17 PM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

"Finally, inspired by a request for the ten best scores from Pro Musica Sana, the journal of the Miklós Rózsa Society, I offer my list, sans comments, of the best scores of the past decade." (RSB)

So it was I who inspired Mr. Brown's venture! I had forgotten. In the 1970s Pro Musica Sana was still attempting to be a general journal of film music. That had been Miklos Rozsa's urging, as there wasn't much else around when we started in 1972. Sight and Sound's decennial critics poll struck me as a good model, so I rounded up a dozen or so writers of varying backgrounds and asked them for lists and comments. The sampling was small, and the Rozsa Society sponsorship hardly augured for neutrality. Still, there were some interesting choices and comments. I tabulated the results in some detail. The most often cited scores were STAR WARS, PROVIDENCE, CE3K,TIME AFTER TIME, and THE WIND AND THE LION. Jerry Goldsmith was the most often cited composer by a very wide margin.

This was all in PMS 30 (Spring 1980). Evidently I had asked RSB to participate, but he did not do so.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 3, 2020 - 2:23 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

PMS....not the best abbrevation there, but good work nonetheless, inspiring Mr. Brown! wink

 
 
 Posted:   May 14, 2021 - 6:03 PM   
 By:   Aenae   (Member)

I have always found it interesting how Howard Shore is considered better than John Williams in some circles.

Brown considers the Shore/Cronenberg partnership to be better than Williams/Spielberg - a collaboration he said wasn't particularly fruitful if i'm not mistaken. Brown lists three Shore/Cronenberg scores (Videodrome, Dead Ringers and Naked Lunch) from the 70s-90s among his top favourites, but no Williams/Spielberg scores from that period.

Brown tends to favor Williams's non-Spielberg scores in general. He likes Images and The Fury especially if I not mistaken.

I do like some of Shore's music a lot, but I never considered him to be a composer of Williams's calibre. He is far behind in terms of craft for example.

I say that even if I agree that Shore may be generally more inventive than Williams. I do however think that Williams's best music blows away anything that Shore has done.

I hadn't considered the Shore/Cronenberg collaboration better than Williams/Spielberg before, but I think you could make a case for it now when I think about it. I certainly like some of Shore's electronic explorations for example.

 
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