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 Posted:   Jun 5, 2010 - 4:46 AM   
 By:   That Neil Guy   (Member)

Came across two excellent articles online, one a takedown of Horner, the other, well, begins as a takedown on Horner but emerges as a really interesting look at the history of film music.

These are old articles, no doubt linked to or discussed here before, but they're great reading and worth seeing again. Look for the shout out to Film Score Monthly...

http://www.therestisnoise.com/2004/05/symphony_of_bra.html

http://www.therestisnoise.com/2004/05/oscar_scores.html

 
 Posted:   Jun 5, 2010 - 9:01 AM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

I'll bite. I like Ross and his book The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century is fantastic. That said, the first piece, where he's just ragging on Horner, doesn't do much for me, but the other one is well worth reading.

 
 Posted:   Feb 14, 2019 - 2:53 AM   
 By:   makro   (Member)

I want to reopen this topic since I just (almost) finished reading "The Rest is Noise" and I have some thoughts.

The book is great in describing what happens in "serious" music in the 20th century but I am very sad that film music is barely represented. First of all, who defines what's "serious" and why isn't film music eligible for being a part of it? The whole movement that is described in the book from Mahler's tonal stuff over Schönberg and 12 tone music to Stockhausen can also be tranced to a degree in film music but only very few examples make it in the book.

Secondly the author has a very low opinion of game soundtracks, they are only mentioned once and are called "functional music" together with other examples that are clearly not comparable to game music.

I get it that the book deals with "contemporary classical" composers but the author claims that one can see a steep decline of quality (or something similar, not sure about the term he uses) in the music (in the last chapter) but what he fails to see is other areas of music where composers produce phantastic and sophisticated works. Just because those don't follow the trend that was visible in the line of the composers Ross mentions (I'm referring to the tonal --> atonal / dissonant / whatever movement) doesn't mean they don't contribute massively to 20th century music.

Again, who decides what can go into a book like that? Is it the fact that there are concerts and people actually go there that makes music "serious"? Because this holds true for soundtracks as well obviously.

Would be very glad to hear your opinions on that.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 14, 2019 - 3:22 AM   
 By:   MCurry29   (Member)

I want to reopen this topic since I just (almost) finished reading "The Rest is Noise" and I have some thoughts.

The book is great in describing what happens in "serious" music in the 20th century but I am very sad that film music is barely represented. First of all, who defines what's "serious" and why isn't film music eligible for being a part of it? The whole movement that is described in the book from Mahler's tonal stuff over Schönberg and 12 tone music to Stockhausen can also be tranced to a degree in film music but only very few examples make it in the book.

Secondly the author has a very low opinion of game soundtracks, they are only mentioned once and are called "functional music" together with other examples that are clearly not comparable to game music.

I get it that the book deals with "contemporary classical" composers but the author claims that one can see a steep decline of quality (or something similar, not sure about the term he uses) in the music (in the last chapter) but what he fails to see is other areas of music where composers produce phantastic and sophisticated works. Just because those don't follow the trend that was visible in the line of the composers Ross mentions (I'm referring to the tonal --> atonal / dissonant / whatever movement) doesn't mean they don't contribute massively to 20th century music.

Again, who decides what can go into a book like that? Is it the fact that there are concerts and people actually go there that makes music "serious"? Because this holds true for soundtracks as well obviously.

Would be very glad to hear your opinions on that.


Itz all just noise. 'Academics' like these have such a high opinion of themselves they decide for everyone else what's relevant and what goes into the book. So sick of the ragging on James Horner.

 
 Posted:   Feb 14, 2019 - 5:04 AM   
 By:   makro   (Member)



Itz all just noise. 'Academics' like these have such a high opinion of themselves they decide for everyone else what's relevant and what goes into the book. So sick of the ragging on James Horner.


I mean, to be honest, the guy is not just "some academic" and he is super on the spot when it comes to tracing the influential artists of our time. The book is great. It's just that I also feel that scores are super influential as well and regardless of "classical" or not, they deserve at least some words in a book on the music of the 20th century. But even Hip Hop got more room in the book, that's what's kind of weird to me.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 14, 2019 - 6:25 AM   
 By:   barleywagon   (Member)

Itz all just noise. 'Academics' like these have such a high opinion of themselves they decide for everyone else what's relevant and what goes into the book. So sick of the ragging on James Horner.

Do you know of an original Horner score? Or two? I need to find one. I was actually excited when the Intrada American Tail was announced. I was going to buy it on the first day, then I remembered that Borodin’s “In the Steppes of Central Asia” was in the Main Title.

I then had flashbacks to my first three Horner scores.

The Land Before Time[Bartok(The Wooden Prince), Prokofiev(Romeo and Juliet, Peter and the Wolf)]

Willow[Rachmaninov, Schumann, lots more Prokofiev]

Glory[Prokofiev(Ivan the Terrible), Orff(Carmina Burana)]

I was horrnified! Do you know which scores actually have Horner themes in them?

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 14, 2019 - 7:38 AM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

Itz all just noise. 'Academics' like these have such a high opinion of themselves they decide for everyone else what's relevant and what goes into the book.

Alex Ross is not an "academic" at all. He works for the New Yorker, in the journalistic realm where good and lively writing is expected. Lots of people, including myself, have found him worth reading:

Alex Ross has been the music critic at The New Yorker since 1996. He writes about classical music, covering the field from the Metropolitan Opera to the contemporary avant-garde, and has also contributed essays on literature, history, the visual arts, film, and ecology. His first book, “The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century,” a cultural history of music since 1900, won a National Book Critics Circle award and the Guardian First Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His second book, the essay collection “Listen to This,” won an ascap-Deems Taylor Award. He is now at work on “Wagnerism: Art in the Shadow of Music,” an account of the composer’s vast cultural impact. He has received a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

 
 Posted:   Feb 14, 2019 - 7:44 AM   
 By:   SchiffyM   (Member)

Again, who decides what can go into a book like that?

In this case, Alex Ross, I would say. It's his own analysis, his take on music and history and musical history. Anybody is free to write a book like this if he has a different take.

 
 Posted:   Feb 14, 2019 - 7:47 AM   
 By:   SchiffyM   (Member)

Itz all just noise. 'Academics' like these have such a high opinion of themselves they decide for everyone else what's relevant and what goes into the book. So sick of the ragging on James Horner.

Who but the author of a book should decide what goes into it? Isn't that his job?

And you can be as sick as you want about the ragging on James Horner, but the swipes he cites are legitimate. You can decide you don't care, or that the uncredited uses of others' music is artistically valid, or that it works anyway, or whatever you want, but you can't reasonably say that Ross's points are fake news.

 
 Posted:   Feb 14, 2019 - 9:28 AM   
 By:   johnonymous86   (Member)

It's his prerogative to beat the dead horse again about how there is no originality in music. Admittedly, Horner is a good straw man for such an argument.

But it really is a lot of contemplation of navels. I've only been an active member on this board for a short while and already I notice a sort of existential crisis moving through some of these threads about "what makes such and such good and what makes such and such bad." It's human nature to define and categorize.

But obviously art--and really, pretty much anything-- is subjective and a lot of people have managed to make a pretty decent living by attempting to place their opinions above that simple truth. And, again, because we like to define and categorize, there will always be a market for critics.

Bottom line--originality has never been a yard stick for quality.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 14, 2019 - 10:08 AM   
 By:   Ado   (Member)

Itz all just noise. 'Academics' like these have such a high opinion of themselves they decide for everyone else what's relevant and what goes into the book. So sick of the ragging on James Horner.

Who but the author of a book should decide what goes into it? Isn't that his job?

And you can be as sick as you want about the ragging on James Horner, but the swipes he cites are legitimate. You can decide you don't care, or that the uncredited uses of others' music is artistically valid, or that it works anyway, or whatever you want, but you can't reasonably say that Ross's points are fake news.



Shiffy is right on this. And look, I have quite a few Horner scores, and I especially have a love of his earlier works. I feel like his passion was more of a fire perhaps up to the 90's, even when he was cribbing classical stuff. His later scores were always well made, but they fell into a heavy, though finely woven, pastiche-knitting of his own themes that existed for 30 years. For outsiders that are casual movie watchers, they could probably never know it, but the community of musicologists certainly knew what was going on.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 14, 2019 - 10:35 AM   
 By:   jkholm   (Member)


But obviously art--and really, pretty much anything-- is subjective and a lot of people have managed to make a pretty decent living by attempting to place their opinions above that simple truth. And, again, because we like to define and categorize, there will always be a market for critics.


That's a pretty objective statement about all art being subjective. :-)

While there are some aspects of art that are subjective, there are many qualities that both academics, critics and "regular" people have been using for centuries to judge the merits of individual works. It's why we still read Homer and Shakespeare. It's why we still listen to Bach and Beethoven. Time has proven that those works are not merely subjectively entertaining or moving, but that they have transcendental value. And originality is certainly a valid means of determining quality.

As for the Alex Ross book, it's one of my favorites. He is more than qualified to offer his opinions on classical music, even if he doesn't give as much time to film music.


 
 
 Posted:   Feb 14, 2019 - 10:55 AM   
 By:   Ado   (Member)


But obviously art--and really, pretty much anything-- is subjective and a lot of people have managed to make a pretty decent living by attempting to place their opinions above that simple truth. And, again, because we like to define and categorize, there will always be a market for critics.


That's a pretty objective statement about all art being subjective. :-)

While there are some aspects of art that are subjective, there are many qualities that both academics, critics and "regular" people have been using for centuries to judge the merits of individual works. It's why we still read Homer and Shakespeare. It's why we still listen to Bach and Beethoven. Time has proven that those works are not merely subjectively entertaining or moving, but that they have transcendental value. And originality is certainly a valid means of determining quality.

.


Thank you for saying this better than I could.
That, "everyone's subjective opinion is valid" stuff, it's just pathetic.

 
 Posted:   Feb 14, 2019 - 11:07 AM   
 By:   johnonymous86   (Member)


But obviously art--and really, pretty much anything-- is subjective and a lot of people have managed to make a pretty decent living by attempting to place their opinions above that simple truth. And, again, because we like to define and categorize, there will always be a market for critics.


That's a pretty objective statement about all art being subjective. :-)

While there are some aspects of art that are subjective, there are many qualities that both academics, critics and "regular" people have been using for centuries to judge the merits of individual works. It's why we still read Homer and Shakespeare. It's why we still listen to Bach and Beethoven. Time has proven that those works are not merely subjectively entertaining or moving, but that they have transcendental value. And originality is certainly a valid means of determining quality.

As for the Alex Ross book, it's one of my favorites. He is more than qualified to offer his opinions on classical music, even if he doesn't give as much time to film music.


I respectfully disagree. Like most of these discussions on the nature of art criticism, I think it all comes down to semantics. I would argue that Bach, Homer, etc are relevant and are objectively considered quality based off the fact that we still consume their works and still gain value from them despite the myriad of artists who followed their footsteps. However, that doesn't mean that they are good or bad, it merely means that they are liked. For every person that likes Homer, there may be another who prefers Virgil, etc. Again, it all comes down to how we define what is good or bad on a personal level. Originality is useful but it's not the only metric to use in determining value. I think that was the point in my OP but I got sidetracked trying to show how much I despise professional critics.

 
 Posted:   Feb 14, 2019 - 11:10 AM   
 By:   johnonymous86   (Member)


But obviously art--and really, pretty much anything-- is subjective and a lot of people have managed to make a pretty decent living by attempting to place their opinions above that simple truth. And, again, because we like to define and categorize, there will always be a market for critics.


That's a pretty objective statement about all art being subjective. :-)

While there are some aspects of art that are subjective, there are many qualities that both academics, critics and "regular" people have been using for centuries to judge the merits of individual works. It's why we still read Homer and Shakespeare. It's why we still listen to Bach and Beethoven. Time has proven that those works are not merely subjectively entertaining or moving, but that they have transcendental value. And originality is certainly a valid means of determining quality.

.


Thank you for saying this better than I could.
That, "everyone's subjective opinion is valid" stuff, it's just pathetic.


I like what I like, you like what you like. That's not valid?

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 14, 2019 - 11:24 AM   
 By:   Ado   (Member)


But obviously art--and really, pretty much anything-- is subjective and a lot of people have managed to make a pretty decent living by attempting to place their opinions above that simple truth. And, again, because we like to define and categorize, there will always be a market for critics.


That's a pretty objective statement about all art being subjective. :-)

While there are some aspects of art that are subjective, there are many qualities that both academics, critics and "regular" people have been using for centuries to judge the merits of individual works. It's why we still read Homer and Shakespeare. It's why we still listen to Bach and Beethoven. Time has proven that those works are not merely subjectively entertaining or moving, but that they have transcendental value. And originality is certainly a valid means of determining quality.

.


Thank you for saying this better than I could.
That, "everyone's subjective opinion is valid" stuff, it's just pathetic.


I like what I like, you like what you like. That's not valid?


I am not going down the rabbit hole on this. JKholm already very nicely explained it.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 14, 2019 - 5:29 PM   
 By:   Alex Klein   (Member)

Folks: there is no objective criteria to measure art. But you can all keep trying.

Good night.

Alex

 
 Posted:   Feb 15, 2019 - 12:49 AM   
 By:   makro   (Member)

I neither want to talk about the question whether scores are art or not nor want I deal with the whole Horner thing again, I just want to understand why he didn't include scores in his book. They are undoubtedly hugely influential so this couldn't have been the criterion. They also follow trends that are visible in "other" orchestral music, not just mimicking them but sometimes also creating something new that hasn't been heard before. Critics write about scores. They are discussed by the public. There are concerts. They can be technically and artistically very sophisticated.
It just doesn't make sense to me.
Hell, he even mentioned Musica Ricercata by Ligeti without mentioning that it is one of the central pieces used in Eyes Wide Shut! (I know it wasn't composed for the film).

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 15, 2019 - 5:53 AM   
 By:   Ado   (Member)

Folks: there is no objective criteria to measure art. But you can all keep trying.

Good night.

Alex


completely false

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 15, 2019 - 7:31 AM   
 By:   Alex Klein   (Member)


completely false


Wow. I'm blown away by your argument to claim otherwise roll eyes.

Alex

 
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