Film Music Today.............*Depressing*.....Isn't It?

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Film Music Today.............*Depressing*.....Isn't It?

Post by stenka razin » Sat Feb 06, 2010 5:41 pm

It is very depressing that so many of the best movies today have Directors who have no idea what a good symphonic musical score means to their movies. The newest generation of film composers gets by with a few electronic burps and lots of loud noises and of course, some songs.
Where are the great film composers today?..
I am deadly serious.......Good films need good musical scores....Not schlock.. :( :( :( :(

Comments please..... 8)


P.S. Just look at the scores nominated for Oscars this year and check out the winners in the past few years for best film score....Korngold, Herrmann, Rozsa, Rota, Walton, Prokofiev and Shostakovich to name but a few, would turn over in their graves.... :( :( :( :(
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Re: Film Music Today.............*Depressing*.....Isn't It?

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:07 pm

I can't help Mel with the topic, but disappointing scores may be nothing new. The other day I heard Omar Sharif interviewed, and he had just two problems with Dr. Zhivago--in my opinion exactly the right two problems. His own casting and performance, which he called his worst, and that dumb song which he correctly describes as too sentimental.

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Re: Film Music Today.............*Depressing*.....Isn't It?

Post by Madame » Tue Feb 09, 2010 5:50 am

jbuck919 wrote:I can't help Mel with the topic, but disappointing scores may be nothing new. The other day I heard Omar Sharif interviewed, and he had just two problems with Dr. Zhivago--in my opinion exactly the right two problems. His own casting and performance, which he called his worst, and that dumb song which he correctly describes as too sentimental.
So, did he refund the difference between what he earned and what he thought he was worth?

;)

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Re: Film Music Today.............*Depressing*.....Isn't It?

Post by Lance » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:11 pm

I have a fair share of film music on record partly because I wrote about it for program notes in symphonic concert programs and had to be knowledgable about it myself. Invariably, some film music would be added as a special feature in "pops" concerts specifically. Some of it I enjoyed very much. It seems documentary film music, such as Virgil Thomson's The Plow that Broke the Plains are particularly fine works and have stood the test of time for many. Also, much of what Bernard Herrmann wrote for films is quite excellent and enjoyable. I especially recall Citizen Kane, Gulliver's Travels, Hangover Square. John Williams is another favourite, as is Ennio Morricone. Jerry Goldsmith has also composed some brilliant film music. One I particularly enjoyed was Stagecoach, which I found on a Silver Screen Classics CD of which only 3,000 copies were printed [this was a toughie to find!]. Some of this material gets more valuable with the passage of time.
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Re: Film Music Today.............*Depressing*.....Isn't It?

Post by Lance » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:12 pm

Lance wrote:I have a fair share of film music on record partly because I wrote about it for program notes in symphonic concert programs and had to be knowledgable about it myself. Invariably, some film music would be added as a special feature in "pops" concerts specifically. Some of it I enjoyed very much. It seems documentary film music, such as Virgil Thomson's The Plow that Broke the Plains are particularly fine works and have stood the test of time for many. Also, much of what Bernard Herrmann wrote for films is quite excellent and enjoyable. I especially recall Citizen Kane, Gulliver's Travels, Hangover Square. John Williams is another favourite, as is Ennio Morricone. Jerry Goldsmith has also composed some brilliant film music. One I particularly enjoyed was Stagecoach, which I found on a Silver Screen Classics CD of which only 3,000 copies were printed [this was a toughie to find!]. Some of this material gets more valuable with the passage of time. In the end, however, I wouldn't say it is all that depressing.
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Re: Film Music Today.............*Depressing*.....Isn't It?

Post by stenka razin » Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:35 pm

Lance, not what you have written. That is wonderful, not depressing. But, I am talking about today's films. Very depressing musical scores my friend. :( :( :(
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Re: Film Music Today.............*Depressing*.....Isn't It?

Post by Lance » Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:56 am

Hi Mel ... yes, there are LOTS of things I am finding rather depressing as I see this next decade of life in the 21st century unfolding. I personally believe people our age (60 and above) have come through the very best of times especially with regard to artistic matters and subjects such as music and performance practice. All the more reason to thoroughly enjoy all the wonderful things such as recordings and DVDs that you have at your disposal. Perhaps the only place it gets better is in the After Life, eh?
stenka razin wrote:Lance, not what you have written. That is wonderful, not depressing. But, I am talking about today's films. Very depressing musical scores my friend. :( :( :(
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Re: Film Music Today.............*Depressing*.....Isn't It?

Post by stenka razin » Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:39 pm

Lance wrote:Hi Mel ... yes, there are LOTS of things I am finding rather depressing as I see this next decade of life in the 21st century unfolding. I personally believe people our age (60 and above) have come through the very best of times especially with regard to artistic matters and subjects such as music and performance practice. All the more reason to thoroughly enjoy all the wonderful things such as recordings and DVDs that you have at your disposal. Perhaps the only place it gets better is in the After Life, eh?
stenka razin wrote:Lance, not what you have written. That is wonderful, not depressing. But, I am talking about today's films. Very depressing musical scores my friend. :( :( :(
Lance, let's plan on continuing to enjoy life, even with its many flaws, including today's crop of badly trained film composers, my friend.. :wink: 8)
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Re: Film Music Today.............*Depressing*.....Isn't It?

Post by Corlyss_D » Fri Feb 19, 2010 3:37 am

Can't agree with the usually agreement-worthy Mel. I think many film scores are shamefully underrated, as is the genre by and large within the music trade. I used to think that movies was where the tonal music of the mid-late 20th century fled and where talented modern composers fled when all that noisy crap seized the label "contemporary classical music." I guess it would depend on what one was looking for in movie music. Maybe Mel could tell us his idea of what elements movie music should contain or what it has to accomplish. Then we could all chime in with our own views.
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Re: Film Music Today.............*Depressing*.....Isn't It?

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Feb 20, 2010 12:14 am

jbuck919 wrote:I can't help Mel with the topic, but disappointing scores may be nothing new. The other day I heard Omar Sharif interviewed, and he had just two problems with Dr. Zhivago--in my opinion exactly the right two problems. His own casting and performance, which he called his worst, and that dumb song which he correctly describes as too sentimental.
I hung out with him back in my McCartney days, we were having dinner and the conversation turned to Gambling, he said he lost his entire Fee for Doctor Zhivago playing Backgammon on the first night of the filming...now you know why his performance sucks... :wink:
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Re: Film Music Today.............*Depressing*.....Isn't It?

Post by Corlyss_D » Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:06 am

^^^

If I'm lucky, another film I will die without ever having seen.
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Re: Film Music Today.............*Depressing*.....Isn't It?

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Feb 20, 2010 1:59 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:^^^

If I'm lucky, another film I will die without ever having seen.
I watched it for the first time about ten years ago, I found it dead boring...
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Re: Film Music Today.............*Depressing*.....Isn't It?

Post by John F » Sat Feb 20, 2010 2:23 pm

Oh, I don't know, I thought the soundtrack music for "Amadeus" was the best thing about the movie. :D
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Re: Film Music Today.............*Depressing*.....Isn't It?

Post by IcedNote » Sat Feb 20, 2010 2:24 pm

stenka razin wrote:The newest generation of film composers gets by with a few electronic burps and lots of loud noises
I agree and disagree with this:

I agree...because I think a lot of these electronic composers are untalented hacks who don't know what they're doing and are simply using electronic sounds to "be edgy."

I disagree...because it sounds like you're saying that the electronic music itself is the problem.


I almost exclusively use electronic sounds for my film scores...partly because that's why they hire me, and partly because I'm trying to accomplish with electronic sounds what has been done so well with symphonic sounds. When the electronic music is done "correctly," I think it can be just as effective/affective as a traditional symphonic score.

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Re: Film Music Today.............*Depressing*.....Isn't It?

Post by stenka razin » Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:42 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:Can't agree with the usually agreement-worthy Mel. I think many film scores are shamefully underrated, as is the genre by and large within the music trade. I used to think that movies was where the tonal music of the mid-late 20th century fled and where talented modern composers fled when all that noisy crap seized the label "contemporary classical music." I guess it would depend on what one was looking for in movie music. Maybe Mel could tell us his idea of what elements movie music should contain or what it has to accomplish. Then we could all chime in with our own views.

Corlyss, there are far too many composers today who have any conservatory or university training. Most of todays leading film composers know the synthesizer, but, have no idea how to orchestrate a movie properly. The use of older popular songs as the basis of a film score, doesn't cut it. A composer comes up with a original theme and that's about it. He then milks that melody to death and uses songs that the audience knows to fill in the rest of his film score.
This will not do.

It reminds me of a time many years ago when Shostakovich's powerful score for a Russian film of 'Hamlet' lost to a treacly Hollywood score of no great originality. That is what is happening today.
John Williams, bless him, can write a supurb orchestral score for a major movie and lose a possible Oscar to a young composer who has written a few notes and filled in the rest of his score with others unoriginal material. It is not fair. :( :( :( :(
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Re: Film Music Today.............*Depressing*.....Isn't It?

Post by Corlyss_D » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:37 am

stenka razin wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:Can't agree with the usually agreement-worthy Mel. I think many film scores are shamefully underrated, as is the genre by and large within the music trade. I used to think that movies was where the tonal music of the mid-late 20th century fled and where talented modern composers fled when all that noisy crap seized the label "contemporary classical music." I guess it would depend on what one was looking for in movie music. Maybe Mel could tell us his idea of what elements movie music should contain or what it has to accomplish. Then we could all chime in with our own views.

Corlyss, there are far too many composers today who have any conservatory or university training. Most of todays leading film composers know the synthesizer, but, have no idea how to orchestrate a movie properly. The use of older popular songs as the basis of a film score, doesn't cut it. A composer comes up with a original theme and that's about it. He then milks that melody to death and uses songs that the audience knows to fill in the rest of his film score.
This will not do.

It reminds me of a time many years ago when Shostakovich's powerful score for a Russian film of 'Hamlet' lost to a treacly Hollywood score of no great originality. That is what is happening today.
John Williams, bless him, can write a supurb orchestral score for a major movie and lose a possible Oscar to a young composer who has written a few notes and filled in the rest of his score with others unoriginal material. It is not fair. :( :( :( :(

Name names, darlin'. If you like John Williams, there's some hope for making an impression on you. :D After curling, I'll try to gin up a list of scores I think are worthy, but you're going to have to see the bloody films to know! :lol:
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Re: Film Music Today.............*Depressing*.....Isn't It?

Post by Brendan » Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:54 pm

I think it might also depend on the movies one watches. Zbigniew Preisner's score for Three Colors: Blue is the definition of perfect harmony of story, image and music, IMHO. The Double Life of Veronique isn't far behind (nor are White and Red in the Three Colors trilogy).

Ry Cooder's guitar was perfect for Paris, Texas. Wender's use of Nick Cave's music as well as the bands (the Bad Seeds and Crime and the City Solution) in Der Himmel Uber Berlin was inspired and effective.

Nick Cave's scores for Ghosts of the Civil Dead, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and The Proposal are also noteworthy, although nothing remotely orchestral.

And who could forget Klaus Kinski in Fitzcarraldo with the Gramophone playing Caruso down the Amazon? Pure magic.

Bear McReary's work on Battlestar Galactica was delightful IMHO, as was Howard Shore and Enya with The Lord of the Rings. Helped make it more than Harry Potter or Narnia.

And I still like The Sting, movie and music. One of the few Hollywood movies to get the soundtrack right.

I suppose if I were to watch a bunch of Hollywood "industrial" movies about comic-book heroes and such I'd be more depressed, but I don't. I tend to think movies and TV is where the compositional talent is to be found. But that doesn't necessarily mean the same thing as mainstream Hollywood.

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Re: Film Music Today.............*Depressing*.....Isn't It?

Post by Corlyss_D » Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:28 am

It all depends on what one expects out of a score. Do you want it to stand apart from the vehicle of its presentation, to leave you whistling tunes as you leave the theater? Or do you expect it to heighten mood, tell you what the characters are thinking, produce leit motivs to enhance character and anticipate action? I like the latter more than the former.

I never cared much for Korngold, although I understood why he was thought to be so good. Hermann was spotty IMO but knocked out some amazing ones like The Day the Earth Stood Still and Psycho. I kinda thought both of them tried too hard to be symphonic and seemed unwilling to take a back seat to the reason for their employ, i.e., the movie. Victor Young, Jerry Goldsmith, and Elmer Bernstein were in many respects what one's ear was trained to expect to hear, but still they were seldom trite. One-offs like Duke Ellington's for Anatomy of a Murder could be as characterful and in synch with the story without really participating in it, mirroring the jaunty, tawdry, modern, hip of Lee Remick's Laura Manion and telling you straight up what she was when the script left you guessing to the last scene.
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Re: Film Music Today.............*Depressing*.....Isn't It?

Post by Chalkperson » Mon May 10, 2010 8:08 pm

Alexandre Desplat is a really good Film Composer, the best new one in quite some time...
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Re: Film Music Today.............*Depressing*.....Isn't It?

Post by Neytiri » Tue May 18, 2010 6:25 pm

Chalkperson wrote:Alexandre Desplat is a really good Film Composer, the best new one in quite some time...
But he is French. You don't like French. :?

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Re: Film Music Today.............*Depressing*.....Isn't It?

Post by Chalkperson » Tue May 18, 2010 10:30 pm

Neytiri wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:Alexandre Desplat is a really good Film Composer, the best new one in quite some time...
But he is French. You don't like French. :?
I like some French, in fact lately i've been listening to quite a bit of French...i'm warming to it...this week at least... :wink:
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