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 Posted:   Feb 9, 2024 - 3:22 AM   
 By:   jsmiley108   (Member)

Could somebody please remind me how it worked out that we didn't end up with Pachelbel Canon for the Building The Barn scene in 'Witness' (1985) and were instead blessed with Jarre's amazing score?

 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2024 - 7:06 AM   
 By:   Paul MacLean   (Member)

Could somebody please remind me how it worked out that we didn't end up with Pachelbel Canon for the Building The Barn scene in 'Witness' (1985) and were instead blessed with Jarre's amazing score?

Jarre decided to compose something that better-suited the sequence, and (happily) Peter Weir went along with it.

Perhaps Jarre also suggested to Weir that audiences might start thinking about light bulbs if Pachelbel was used in that sequence...

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2024 - 3:01 PM   
 By:   MikeP   (Member)

Just watched the movie again last night and was reminded how much I enjoy this score, it's really effective in the film. For me it's Jarre's best electronic score, no question.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 14, 2024 - 2:47 PM   
 By:   jsmiley108   (Member)

I did a bit of digging in some of my folders and found what I was looking for:

“In The Shadow of Maurice Jarre” - Interview with composer Maurice Jarre conducted by Daniel Mangodt (Soundtrack Magazine, Vol. 12, No. 45, March 1993)

Q: Did Peter Weir use a temp track for this scene (Witness (1985) – The Building of the Barn scene)?

“Yes. Peter Weir used a piece he loved, a canon by Pachelbel (Canon in D by Pachelbel). He edited the film to the music. So I was confronted with this temp track, it worked so well in the film. When we were ‘spotting’ the film, Peter said, “In this case I put in music I love so much. I think I’m going to keep it (in the film). You may try to score this scene if you want to do something, but I think I will keep the music”.

It was a big challenge for me. I came back to my office and I started thinking about this piece, and I studied how he had edited it to the music. I made some kind of map of the dynamics of the cut and I started to write the theme I wrote for the film and started to adjust my music to this map, completely technically.

I hadn’t completely finished the music, I was playing with the musicians and Peter arrived a bit earlier than expected and he asked “What is that?” I said it was my suggested piece of music for the barn scene. He said: “That’s great, that’s fabulous!” and he started to be very excited and he never mentioned the Pachelbel Canon again.”

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 14, 2024 - 2:48 PM   
 By:   jsmiley108   (Member)

And another beautiful quote about Mozart:

Interview with composer Maurice Jarre conducted by Paul Andrew MacLean (Film Score Monthly, Feb/Mar 1993)

Q: What composers do you admire?

“Mozart, Mozart, and Mozart! I love music of course, and I can listen to a lot of composers, but Mozart was for me a real genius, because you hear his music, and there is melody, beautiful themes, and the melody just goes and goes and goes. The harmony is so perfect and the orchestration is so simple and natural. You listen to Mozart and you get a great lesson in humility. To me his music is perfect. Also, you can listen to a piece of Mozart in the morning, and all day long you feel good. You don’t want to wake up and listen to the first symphony of Mahler, because it will leave you depressed for a few hours. At the end of the day, it is interesting to listen to Mahler, because it’s beautifully orchestrated, but you have to be in a special mood. But Mozart you can listen to as a musician, but you can also listen to him without thinking about how it is constructed.”

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 14, 2024 - 5:04 PM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

"You listen to Mozart and you get a great lesson in humility."

John Barry composed humility in the film music world like no other.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 15, 2024 - 12:32 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Just watched the movie again last night and was reminded how much I enjoy this score, it's really effective in the film. For me it's Jarre's best electronic score, no question.

For me, that would be JACOB'S LADDER, no question. But I appreciate WITNESS too. While Jarre sr. generally struggled with electronics (unlike his son), sometimes he hit a homerun.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 15, 2024 - 10:00 AM   
 By:   governor   (Member)



For me, that would be JACOB'S LADDER, no question. But I appreciate WITNESS too. While Jarre sr. generally struggled with electronics (unlike his son), sometimes he hit a homerun.


Jacob's ladder is indeed frighteningly excellent

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 15, 2024 - 10:16 AM   
 By:   William R.   (Member)

One of the greatest cues ever. The orchestral version Jarre did later is obviously ideal, but even the elctronic version is magical. Some of the other tracks aren't as great on their own (the suspense/thriller sections sound like Jarre trying to ape John Carpenter or Tangerine Dream) but "Building the Barn" is an all-time gem.

Nice to see JACOB'S LADDER get some love. Maybe Jarre's most mysterious, ghostly work (much more so than his score for GHOST!)

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 15, 2024 - 1:29 PM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

While Jarre sr. generally struggled with electronics...

How?

 
 Posted:   Feb 15, 2024 - 1:44 PM   
 By:   mgh   (Member)

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 15, 2024 - 1:45 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

How?

A lot of it came off as thin, transparent, kitschy and/or noisy. Either two things happened -- he played out a tune as if it were orchestra, only in horrid samples. OR...it was sheer-out unlistenable experimentation. Some major offenders include GORILLAS IN THE MIST, ENEMY MINE, I think also NO WAY OUT.

But then all of a sudden, he delivered a synth solid, be it JACOB'S LADDER, WITNESS or THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY (which I know you love).

It was all very ueven. He wasn't on speaking terms with Jean Michel in the 80s, so few tips from his son. He had to sort it out on his own.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 15, 2024 - 1:52 PM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

Your comments here seem of a better tone, more or less (esp. 16 June)--

https://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?forumID=1&pageID=1&threadID=144297&archive=0

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 15, 2024 - 1:53 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Pretty much the same sentiment, as far as I can tell. It was only 3 years ago! smile

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 15, 2024 - 1:54 PM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

Too fast a response per my date edit!

 
 Posted:   Feb 16, 2024 - 11:32 AM   
 By:   Paul MacLean   (Member)

How?

A lot of it came off as thin, transparent, kitschy and/or noisy. Either two things happened -- he played out a tune as if it were orchestra, only in horrid samples. OR...it was sheer-out unlistenable experimentation. Some major offenders include GORILLAS IN THE MIST, ENEMY MINE, I think also NO WAY OUT.


Some of the "electronic" cues in Gorillas in the Mist also contained solos by acoustic instruments (the cello solos for instance were real, not sampled).

In mitigation, perhaps film specialists in the 1980s did not exploit the full, expressive possibilities of synths -- but these people had only a few weeks to formulate a dramatic approach to a movie, create themes, determine the orchestration / timbre of their score and write out cues that adhered to meticulous timings (by hand, in those days) .

In what little spare time they had left over, they were also trying to learn the latest products from Yamaha, Korg, Roland, etc. to keep up with trends. Digital instruments back then could also be temperamental (Alan Silvestri's Synclavier once crashed in the middle of a session, Michael Kamen's Kurzweil "blew up" at CTS Studios, a synth's amp caught fire when Jerry Goldsmith was recording Supergirl).

This is a different scenario from synth specialists like Vangelis, Kitaro, JM Jarre, etc. who had the indulgent luxury of spending months tinkering in their studios with no deadlines (and, in Vangelis' case, selectively taking the occasional movie job when it suited his fancy).

Back to Maurice Jarre, unlike Jerry Goldsmith (who was always learning the latest keyboards) Maurice Jarre relied more on the players. He would describe what type of timbre he was after, and instrumentalists like Mike Lang, Ralph Grierson, Michael Boddiker, etc. (who were among the best session keyboardists in the world) would interpret and conjure what was in the composer's head.

Also, a lot of the melodic lines in Maurice Jarre's electronic scores were not performed by keyboard, but an EVI (played by Nyle Steiner).



 
 
 Posted:   Feb 16, 2024 - 11:52 AM   
 By:   GoblinScore   (Member)

Excellent post Paul!

I grew up exposed to MJ's synth work because those films always played on cable in my misspent youth. Unfair to just write them off as some old composer who was cluelessly fumbling around machinery he didn't know about.

He worked closely with his players and the synth scores were more elaborate and expensive than certain orchestral works!

I get it if one doesn't like the music - at least respect the creation.

-Sean



Ramble:
I love the moody moments in these, the action cues maybe less so, but the group sounds like they are having fun and are juat wild on the keys! Gorillas, finale of Fatal Attraction, storm in Mosquito Coast, No Way Out's chases.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 16, 2024 - 11:53 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Oh, I agree with your asssessment, Paul. There's no comparing electronic pioneers like Moroder, Vangelis, Tangerine Dream, JM Jarre, Faltermeyer and whoever else had not only months, but years and DECADES to hone their skill. That's in sharp contrast to old-school composers who were weaned on acoustic ensembles, and scrambled to wrap their head around the new tech.

That's also one of the reasons for why some of it succeeded, and some failed miserably. That's part of the charm, I suppose.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 16, 2024 - 4:53 PM   
 By:   William R.   (Member)

His synth scores often had a thin sound. I was listening to PRANCER the other day, which has wonderful melodies but almost no instrumental texture. It was a very unusual timbre which left a lot of people cold. Still they were unmistably his, sounding at times like electronic version of his chamber style scores from the early 70's. Not a huge fan of NO WAY OUT but the chase cues are great. Jarre's background as a percussionist always shone through.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 17, 2024 - 4:47 AM   
 By:   moolik   (Member)

I like the orchestral version of BUILING THE BARN much more and it shows the well crafted piece .The synths scores always sound too cold..especially for this kind of musical piece, which is structured like a canon and very much classical..so whats the point for the synth.( in my opinionsmile)

 
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