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 Posted:   Aug 1, 2021 - 12:48 PM   
 By:   HAL 2000   (Member)

I had a chance to speak to the musical director of my city's symphony orchestra about their "live-to-film" programs and asked about films scored by Jerry Goldsmith. I wondered why more of Jerry's scores weren't performed this in way and his answer was interesting.

Of course, the ultimate benefit of these concerts is to draw in audiences and fill seats and the most popular movies get the treatment, thus the prevalence of Harry Potter, Lord of the rings, Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc, concerts live to film. But there is a technical challenge to doing Goldsmith's scores according to him.

He said that it's difficult to recreate Goldsmith's scores live on stage because of all the exotic effects and instrumentation Goldsmith used on his scores. Not just electronics but all the found devises Goldsmith would use such as the mixing bowls on POTA or the blaster beam in ST:TMP. He said that so much of Goldsmith's repertoire was non-standard orchestra that it would take some doing adding the instruments and players of such instruments to the ensemble.

He also mentioned some scores he'd love to perform but that could never be properly replicated live such as Total Recall, minus the electronic effects or POTA with its use of echoplex. In particular, he said that Star Trek: The Motion Picture would make a wonderful live to film performance but they'd have to procure a blaster beam and someone who could play it. In his comments, "otherwise we'd have to simulate it somehow or leave it out. And to do so would be such a major amputation from the score that it wouldn't be worth it".

I started to get his point.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 1, 2021 - 12:53 PM   
 By:   zooba   (Member)

I'd love to see CAPRICORN ONE with a Live Orchestra!

I worked at a movie theater when the film was first run and remember how Jerry's score got those audiences cheering.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 1, 2021 - 5:45 PM   
 By:   Spymaster   (Member)

He said that it's difficult to recreate Goldsmith's scores live on stage because of all the exotic effects and instrumentation Goldsmith used on his scores. Not just electronics but all the found devises Goldsmith would use such as the mixing bowls on POTA or the blaster beam in ST:TMP. He said that so much of Goldsmith's repertoire was non-standard orchestra that it would take some doing adding the instruments and players of such instruments to the ensemble.

There was a live-to-picture performance of Planet of the Apes in London a few years ago at the Royal Festival Hall if I recall. It was tremendous.

 
 Posted:   Aug 1, 2021 - 6:17 PM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

It's a good point, and in this light it makes perfect sense why Rudy in Concert happened. Very straightforward orchestra for that one. Another thing to keep in mind is that Goldsmith often spotted films very judiciously, at least before the 80s/90s. So stuff like Patton wouldn't make sense to do live-to-film so much, since it's only a half hour of music in a three hour film. You'd be paying the orchestra to just sit around for five sixths of that time!

David Newman may have done one of the first Goldsmith live-to-picture performances, well over a decade ago now with a youth orchestra in L.A. performing The Twilight Zone's "The Invaders". It was really cool to talk with him about that experience and I'm sure he'd love to do more in the future.

Yavar

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 1, 2021 - 7:22 PM   
 By:   Larry847   (Member)

Perhaps Sand Pebbles or Blue Max...

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 1, 2021 - 9:46 PM   
 By:   Jurassic T. Park   (Member)

Well, I have been to live scores for Star Wars and Jurassic Park and the synthesizer elements there were performed by a keyboardist. I don't completely recall but I think the opening synth hits and shakuhachi for Jurassic Park were triggered by the keyboardist.

SO - a similar setup could be done for Goldsmith, but to that musical director's point, someone still has to sit down and figure out how to program it all again, even if it's just being triggered as a layer over the orchestra (maybe Intrada can see if they can assemble any separate electronic elements?)

I will say though that it's hard to recreate stuff. I used a sample recreation of the Synclavier Goldsmith used for STAR TREK V, but still couldn't get it to sound the same without knowing the precise samples and settings he used.

This also comes back to the popularity of the films too - I'm not sure what Goldsmith films have the same mass family appeal as the big franchises of STAR WARS, INDIANA JONES, JURASSIC PARK, etc. When I've been to these performances it's EVERYBODY, including families and people who aren't even really there for the music but for the movie itself.

PLANET OF THE APES would be an amazing musical performance but I don't think it has broad family appeal today. Same with PATTON.

TOTAL RECALL would be amazing, maybe ALIEN could have appeal (but I feel like modern audiences would find it too slow), and maybe MULAN.

AIR FORCE ONE would be so much fun but I think that movie, as much as it was an action blockbuster, probably has no draw to current audiences. But it has the benefit of being largely orchestral-only.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 1, 2021 - 9:48 PM   
 By:   Jurassic T. Park   (Member)

Oooh, THE EDGE.

Great score, mostly orchestral (or I think ALL orchestral) and while it's kind of a sleeper of a film I think it actually hews pretty closely to contemporary films.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 1, 2021 - 11:22 PM   
 By:   Randy Watson   (Member)

This also comes back to the popularity of the films too - I'm not sure what Goldsmith films have the same mass family appeal as the big franchises of STAR WARS, INDIANA JONES, JURASSIC PARK, etc. When I've been to these performances it's EVERYBODY, including families and people who aren't even really there for the music but for the movie itself.

PLANET OF THE APES would be an amazing musical performance but I don't think it has broad family appeal today. Same with PATTON.

TOTAL RECALL would be amazing, maybe ALIEN could have appeal (but I feel like modern audiences would find it too slow), and maybe MULAN.

AIR FORCE ONE would be so much fun but I think that movie, as much as it was an action blockbuster, probably has no draw to current audiences. But it has the benefit of being largely orchestral-only.


I would love to see Total Recall with a live orchestra but even without the electronics that score would be quite the challenge (see the failed Munich sessions).

The Mummy should be a popular enough title to draw in the crowds. Maybe Basic Instinct as well.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 2, 2021 - 4:27 AM   
 By:   alexp   (Member)


David Newman may have done one of the first Goldsmith live-to-picture performances, well over a decade ago now with a youth orchestra in L.A. performing The Twilight Zone's "The Invaders". It was really cool to talk with him about that experience and I'm sure he'd love to do more in the future.

Yavar


There was an occasion where the American Youth Symphony Orchestra performed a music cue from ‘Alien’ along with the appropriate scene from that film as part of a 2010 Goldsmith salute.

http://www.filmmusicsociety.org/news_events/features/2010/050410.html?isArchive=050410

It looks like it was ‘the shaft’ sequence (I wasn't there). As the DVD’s isolated-score track suggests, that sequence was one of the few from the film that wasn’t re-edited after Goldsmith scored it.

Would anyone know if a recording of this event is kept in the UCLA archives for anyone to view?

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 2, 2021 - 7:37 AM   
 By:   HAL 2000   (Member)

Well, I have been to live scores for Star Wars and Jurassic Park and the synthesizer elements there were performed by a keyboardist. I don't completely recall but I think the opening synth hits and shakuhachi for Jurassic Park were triggered by the keyboardist.

SO - a similar setup could be done for Goldsmith, but to that musical director's point, someone still has to sit down and figure out how to program it all again, even if it's just being triggered as a layer over the orchestra (maybe Intrada can see if they can assemble any separate electronic elements?)

I will say though that it's hard to recreate stuff. I used a sample recreation of the Synclavier Goldsmith used for STAR TREK V, but still couldn't get it to sound the same without knowing the precise samples and settings he used.

This also comes back to the popularity of the films too - I'm not sure what Goldsmith films have the same mass family appeal as the big franchises of STAR WARS, INDIANA JONES, JURASSIC PARK, etc. When I've been to these performances it's EVERYBODY, including families and people who aren't even really there for the music but for the movie itself.

PLANET OF THE APES would be an amazing musical performance but I don't think it has broad family appeal today. Same with PATTON.

TOTAL RECALL would be amazing, maybe ALIEN could have appeal (but I feel like modern audiences would find it too slow), and maybe MULAN.

AIR FORCE ONE would be so much fun but I think that movie, as much as it was an action blockbuster, probably has no draw to current audiences. But it has the benefit of being largely orchestral-only.


That's the thing, isn't it. It would have to be those zeitgeist films. But I also think classics could also draw an audience.

I would think The Mummy is a good candidate for a mass appeal fun film that would make a mammoth concert. The problem with Mulan is that people would come expecting the songs to be performed live too. But I could see Gremlins or Poltergeist (as long as they got the rub rod effects) as part of a seasonal draw (Halloween).

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 2, 2021 - 7:56 AM   
 By:   JSDouglas   (Member)

Why not FIRST BLOOD?

 
 Posted:   Aug 2, 2021 - 10:24 AM   
 By:   Jeff Bond   (Member)

The main target for these kinds of performances are families and Williams has been associated with some of the biggest family-friendly franchises--apart from all the technical problems involved with Goldsmith's instrumentation, things like Alien, Total Recall and even the Rambo films (which come closest to a broadly popular franchise where Goldsmith scored all three of the original movies) are all quite violent and geared more toward late teens and adults. The Mummy would be a good candidate although I feel like it's fallen off the radar like a lot of late '90s/early 2000s remakes and franchise attempts. It does seem like a conspiracy of random factors that all add up to Goldsmith's works not being performed live to picture--Star Trek TMP is probably the most perfect candidate in terms of being a very familiar, historically important (in terms of establishing the movie franchise), Oscar-nominated work that really functions almost as a concert in the movie itself as it dominates the film and plays through numerous visual sequences with little or no dialogue. But it also happens to be one of the less popular Trek movies with the general public (even though its reputation has been burnished in recent years).

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 2, 2021 - 11:05 AM   
 By:   JSDouglas   (Member)

Despite an apparent mandate for "family friendly" fare, THE MATRIX has been popularly performed - so the presence of R-rated violence is not always seen as an obstacle.

The popularity of the film in question is really all that is looked at. Unfortunately Goldsmith did great scores for films that current audiences care nothing about. THE SAND PEBBLES or THE WIND AND THE LION would be great to do, but the films would not attract large audiences. Its a shame.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 2, 2021 - 11:19 AM   
 By:   Jurassic T. Park   (Member)

Despite an apparent mandate for "family friendly" fare, THE MATRIX has been popularly performed - so the presence of R-rated violence is not always seen as an obstacle.

The popularity of the film in question is really all that is looked at. Unfortunately Goldsmith did great scores for films that current audiences care nothing about. THE SAND PEBBLES or THE WIND AND THE LION would be great to do, but the films would not attract large audiences. Its a shame.


THE MATRIX crossed my mind as one that was slightly out of the norm but it’s culturally very popular. TOTAL RECALL, AIR FORCE ONE, PATTON, PLANET OF THE APES - they were all popular in their time but not really in defining culture. PLANET OF THE APES definitely has meme-value in contemporary times and sort of established culture, but other films of the time did as well. I think it’s too dated to maintain relevance today, unfortunately.

The family-friendly criteria isn’t specifically about the rating, it’s more about whether, with typically high ticket prices and often an intermission, parents could bring their kids to the showing and they would all enjoy the experience. With a movie like HOME ALONE for example, the movie is entertaining for kids but also the music is twinkly and captivating so there is always something of interest. THE MATRIX musically is pretty challenging and while it’s very adult it skirts by with a reasonably appropriate appeal to pre-teens but definitely teens. While it’s smaller than full family appeal, the cultural significance of the film is enough to bring in enough people.

I’d be REALLY surprised though if the 2nd and 3rd Matrix movies were done.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 2, 2021 - 11:22 AM   
 By:   Jurassic T. Park   (Member)

STAR TREK V would be an absolutely incredible live score-to-film performance, but the movie is not that great so I’m not sure it would draw people in. However, it does have a lot of moments that would play for families.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 2, 2021 - 11:45 AM   
 By:   HAL 2000   (Member)

STAR TREK V would be an absolutely incredible live score-to-film performance, but the movie is not that great so I’m not sure it would draw people in. However, it does have a lot of moments that would play for families.

Though Final Frontier is musically superior, First Contact would probably be a better choice. Of course the chances of a sellout are far greater with films popular with a general audience but I do think there is space for films with a strong fan base to also fill seats for an orchestra. These concerts do, after all, subsidize the more straight-up classical programs for any serious symphony orchestra.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 2, 2021 - 12:18 PM   
 By:   neumation   (Member)

I have some Goldsmith concert plans for the future, but there are several complications that make it difficult:

*Goldsmith's music is very technically demanding and orchestras have a very limited time to rehearse for these LtP concerts. Nearly all of the concert scores I've seen have altered the orchestrations to be easier to perform. Some music doesn't lend itself to being rearranged without totally diminishing the composer's intent. Goldsmith's later period is less virtuosic, so something like The Mummy wouldn't be too challenging.

*The film needs to have a broad audience. Poltergeist and The Omen are classics and would be amazing to hear live, but will they fill a concert hall like Star Wars? Absolutely not. The same can be said for most of JG's work. Incredible music that just doesn't have a large enough appeal to make it cost effective. I was surprised to see Rudy. Films like The Matrix are rare exceptions that have huge cross-over appeal.

*Orchestras have had dwindling revenue and budgets for quite some time. The pandemic has not helped. These concerts are not cheap to produce and they require multiple stakeholders to approve them, so only big name properties are worth their time. According to some people involved in licensing the LtP concerts, even the big ticket films are barely profitable. Marvel, Disney, Pixar: safe bets, but even then, they are not huge money makers for orchestras.

*Convincing orchestras to program any film music has always been problematic. Aside from John Williams and the Top 40 Greatest Hits of Hollywood Movie Music, orchestras are hesitant to put on a suite from a film that isn't Oscar winning, enormously popular, or ingrained in the public consciousness. There is a little more flexibility getting regional orchestras to do it.

I have several ideas for limited engagement events that I hope will garner enough interest to make larger-scale productions possible. There is some interesting film and TV music for chamber ensemble that can be performed at significantly less cost than a full orchestral score.

 
 Posted:   Aug 2, 2021 - 12:54 PM   
 By:   Thierry Schreurs   (Member)

It's a very nice and interesting thread.

It' seems that nobody here around is aware that the complete score to PLANET OF THE APES live onscreen with the movie has already been performed....but only once!

That was 6 years ago in LONDON, at the SOUTHBANBK CENTRE in 2015..and I was of course in attendance of this thing, fortunately.

Planet of the Apes - Live
with the BBC Concert Orchestra
Royal Festival Hall
Friday, 28 August, 2015
7:30 PM

This was conducted by Robert Ziegler.

Some 2015 links regarding this event are still alive:

https://bynder.southbankcentre.co.uk/m/1f81dbfa84c15791/original/SC-Touring-Marketing-Packs_Planet-of-the-Apes-live-.pdf
https://www.bbc.co.uk/events/e6pbp6
https://cultbox.co.uk/news/headlines/planet-of-the-apes-to-be-screened-with-live-soundtrack-in-london-next-month
https://drownedinsound.com/in_depth/4149371-meltdown-festival--planet-of-the-apes-screening-31-08-2015

Plus that it has been advertised and discussed on this very forum:
https://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=110371&forumID=1&archive=0

The official announcement was as follows:

"Planet of the Apes -Friday 28 August at 7.30pm. -Please note that there will now be a free pre-concert talk at 6.15pm. - Conductor Robert Ziegler and producer Tommy Pearson will discuss the daring, landmark score by Jerry Goldsmith for Planet of the Apes and its influence on film music and composers."

I even managed to take 2 stills of the score sheets before they were removed from the podium at the end of the ciné-concert (actually Main Title and No escape tracks first score sheet of each)...but I still don't know the process as of how to post them on the forum (!)

No need to say that this event was absolutely terrific!

To my knowledge, this is the only related to Jerry Goldsmith CINE-CONCERT that ever happened so far.
Nice other new candidate would certainly be POLTERGEIST, STAR TREK TMP, CAPRICORN ONE and FIRST BLOOD...indeed.

Let's dream a bit of. And for what matters the blaster beam and how to find a player to perform, just ask BearMcCreary how he did achieve to use it in 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE....it's only a few years ago:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbzsp_twePE&t=2s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEBAwEcgtw8
Craig Huxley rules when it matters with the blaster beam!

Maybe we could hope something special in 2024 for Jerry Goldsmith 20th passing away anniversary.

 
 Posted:   Aug 2, 2021 - 1:01 PM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

I'm quite jealous of you getting to hear Planet of the Apes performed live!

To my knowledge, this is the only related to Jerry Goldsmith CINE-CONCERT that ever happened so far.


Incorrect -- Rudy was performed in 2019 (and was going to be performed again in 2020 but was canceled due to Covid): https://www.rudyinconcert.com/

Yavar

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 2, 2021 - 1:02 PM   
 By:   Spymaster   (Member)

I was aware. I was there. See above.

 
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