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euphony131
02-17-2001, 10:13 PM
Ok, don't wanta' be hogging the board, but an all-night binge on B. has me going -- I'll probably hibernate after this...

Here's my gripe/question --

Why does Hollywood bother to score original soundtracks for movies when there's a near endlesss supply of incredible music already existing? A' la Beethoven and other greats? After all, you look at some of the more famous soundtracks and they're really nothing more than rip-offs of what has come before, ex. -- Star Wars theme and Imperial March are either collages or taken almost straight from Holst's "The Planets" and you hear any ominous choral track and it's basically a slight variation on "Carmina Burana" by Orff. And let's not forget all the tear-jerking Hollywood "love/sad" music which is just watered down versions of Adagios from the Masters. It doesn't make any sense. Why not save your dough and just use the music by the Great Composers? Music that's infinitely more profound? Lifted out of context or taken in bites, any Great Composer's music can be made to fit a movie. Is it just because guys in Hollywood are so ignorant of Classical Music? What a costly mistake! To pay someone millions just to copy Beethoven!

Personally I'd rather hear the Greats played in a movie than somebody's pirated version of it. I'm sick of people leaving a movie and saying "Oh, that soundtrack was great!" As if it's something so original! Don't they know about TRULY great music; music that was created way, way before any Mel Gibson movie?

I suppose I'm a purist in that regard; would rather hear Beethoven's Adagio or Allegro rather than Hollywood's hatchet-job take on it. If you're gonna listen to it, listen to the REAL DEAL. Accept no substitutes!

And forgive my naivete but does copyright infringement somehow come into play in all this? Is that why even directors who know a thing or too about Classical don't want to use it? But that's still bizarre to me. I mean -- who you would you have to pay to use Beethoven's music? All his descendents have passed away, right?

All I know is that if I were a film-director I would be using TONS of Classical for the soundtrack -- for the full gamut of human emotions there's nothing better.

[This message has been edited by euphony131 (edited 02-17-2001).]

Peter
02-17-2001, 10:29 PM
I agree - Sorry to bring Mahler into it yet again, but your comments remind me of the film Death in Venice, when one of the hollywood producers remarked - great music, who is this guy Mahler? - we must sign him !!

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'Man know thyself'

Michael
02-18-2001, 12:36 AM
Even in the movie, "Beethoven" (the one about the dog) the makers could have made some use of B's music, but they settled for a mock-Mozartian soundtrack by Randy Edelman.
They couldn't even get the style right.

Michael

Kevin
02-18-2001, 05:19 PM
Originally posted by euphony131:
Ok, don't wanta' be hogging the board, but an all-night binge on B. has me going -- I'll probably hibernate after this...

Here's my gripe/question --

Why does Hollywood bother to score original soundtracks for movies when there's a near endlesss supply of incredible music already existing? A' la Beethoven and other greats? After all, you look at some of the more famous soundtracks and they're really nothing more than rip-offs of what has come before, ex. -- Star Wars theme and Imperial March are either collages or taken almost straight from Holst's "The Planets" and you hear any ominous choral track and it's basically a slight variation on "Carmina Burana" by Orff. And let's not forget all the tear-jerking Hollywood "love/sad" music which is just watered down versions of Adagios from the Masters. It doesn't make any sense. Why not save your dough and just use the music by the Great Composers? Music that's infinitely more profound? Lifted out of context or taken in bites, any Great Composer's music can be made to fit a movie. Is it just because guys in Hollywood are so ignorant of Classical Music? What a costly mistake! To pay someone millions just to copy Beethoven!

Personally I'd rather hear the Greats played in a movie than somebody's pirated version of it. I'm sick of people leaving a movie and saying "Oh, that soundtrack was great!" As if it's something so original! Don't they know about TRULY great music; music that was created way, way before any Mel Gibson movie?

I suppose I'm a purist in that regard; would rather hear Beethoven's Adagio or Allegro rather than Hollywood's hatchet-job take on it. If you're gonna listen to it, listen to the REAL DEAL. Accept no substitutes!

And forgive my naivete but does copyright infringement somehow come into play in all this? Is that why even directors who know a thing or too about Classical don't want to use it? But that's still bizarre to me. I mean -- who you would you have to pay to use Beethoven's music? All his descendents have passed away, right?

All I know is that if I were a film-director I would be using TONS of Classical for the soundtrack -- for the full gamut of human emotions there's nothing better.

[This message has been edited by euphony131 (edited 02-17-2001).]

Hollywood is an industry and as such has little to do with art. They don't know much about CM, much less B. They are guided first and foremost by economic considerations and politics. They prefer watered down versions of the classics because they don't believe the public can handle anything else. Plus present day "composers" can make a commission. In Hollywood like many other places it isn't about art or what is good, it is about money and who you know.

Chris
02-18-2001, 06:06 PM
Maybe I don't understand what you are saying, but how could you use that kind of music for movies? It needs to be timed to the action, and all that kind of stuff. I don't think straight Beethoven would do the job in a film.

Rod
02-18-2001, 06:26 PM
Originally posted by Chris:
Maybe I don't understand what you are saying, but how could you use that kind of music for movies? It needs to be timed to the action, and all that kind of stuff. I don't think straight Beethoven would do the job in a film.

Sorry for just being me again Chris (glad I'm not the only patronising person here!), but the best man for the job is Ennio Morricone.

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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

SR
02-19-2001, 05:25 PM
Originally posted by Chris:
Maybe I don't understand what you are saying, but how could you use that kind of music for movies? It needs to be timed to the action, and all that kind of stuff. I don't think straight Beethoven would do the job in a film.

You are the only one who does get it. It's much easier to write music to match picture than to cut picture to match music. I work in the movie business.



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Regards

Steve

Michael
02-19-2001, 08:10 PM
Originally posted by SR:
You are the only one who does get it. It's much easier to write music to match picture than to cut picture to match music. I work in the movie business.



Maybe that was what was wrong with "Immortal Beloved". The director said he cut most of the film to match Beethoven's music - for example the (fictitious) "Moonligh Sonata" scene was timed exactly to fit the music.
Then again, the director had no choice in a movie about Beethoven. He could hardly call in Ennio Morricone.
Maybe that's why all movies about composers turn out so unsatisfactorily.

Michael

Peter
02-19-2001, 11:15 PM
Originally posted by Michael:
Maybe that's why all movies about composers turn out so unsatisfactorily.

Michael



It's possibly a factor - I suggest misrepresenting the facts, appalling scripts and lousy acting also play a big part !

I make an exception with the epic 1984 'Wagner' starring Richard Burton (his last film I believe). The film was of course way too long (9 hours!), overblown like the operas, but there was some fine acting. Burton grew into the part so by the time he was portraying the old Wagner, he actually looked like him. The guy who played Liszt was amazing, he simply was Liszt.
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'Man know thyself'

[This message has been edited by Peter (edited 02-19-2001).]

euphony131
02-20-2001, 01:18 AM
Originally posted by SR:
It's much easier to write music to match picture than to cut picture to match music.



Ok, granted...but how about this -- why not cut the MUSIC to fit the picture? As I stated earlier, any composer's music taken out of context or in bites or edited can be made to fit a movie (look at John Boorman's "Excalibur"). I'm not saying you gotta use an ENTIRE symphony or concerto; just use portions or edited bits.

But then again I suppose film-makers enjoy spending tons of money for music that's not even original?

And I'm sorry but saying that Ennio Morricone (or AC/DC or whatever) is the equal to Beethoven is like saying Charles Schulz is as good as Michelangelo. Hey! I like Snoopy as much as the next guy, but no way is Charlie Brown close to the splendor of the Sistine Chapel! Is Stephen King better than Shakespeare? I don't think so.

Go ahead, call me "elitist" or "stupid" or what have you, but I can't see the point in using music that's just a lame copy of what's already been done and done better by the Masters. I'm not saying EVERY soundtrack is lame and retarded; I just don't see the point in spending all that time and energy in creating what amounts to be a rip-off. http://www.gyrix.com/~cgraye/ubb/frown.gif

Even John Williams admitted he went back to Holst's "The Planets" for ideas on how to score Star Wars. Lucas could've saved himself a bundle and lot of hassle by just going out and buying "The Planets" on CD. Like duh...


[This message has been edited by euphony131 (edited 02-19-2001).]

Michael
02-20-2001, 01:19 AM
Peter, where did you see the nine hour Wagner bio? Is it on video? Of course it would have to be that length with Wagner - every one of his operas seems to be about nine hours long.

Michael

[This message has been edited by Michael (edited 02-19-2001).]

euphony131
02-20-2001, 02:15 AM
Taking a step back here --

Interesting how everytime I've heard the subject of CM and movies come up that invariably there will be the one "from Hollywood" who scoffs at the idea of using CM instead of original soundtracks --
"because you can't time the music to the movie." And yet that has never stopped film-makers from "timing" Pop music/songs to their movies. Hmmmm...Pop good/CM bad?

I think it all just comes down to a lack of knowledge and love for CM. That's all. I'd love to see every director in Hollywood given a crash course on the sounds of CM -- maybe something will change after that, maybe they'll be like, "Oh, uh, what a minute...why don't we just use THIS stuff instead of hiring somebody?" Yeah, buddy -- Why NOT???

Chris
02-20-2001, 04:33 AM
There are more problems than just timing with using classical pieces for movies. Sometimes you want a certain tune associated with a certain character, and if people have heard that tune before, it ruins the effect. Plus, when you're writing for movies, you sometimes have to write in a style that isn't available in classical music, since music takes a back seat to the action in movies. You need music that sounds stupid when played by itself, sometimes. Watch some episodes of the original Star Trek to get a feel for what I mean about composing to fit the situation on screen.

Peter
02-20-2001, 09:33 AM
I agree with Chris here - Just look at what associating classical music with individual characters can do - I can't hear the overture to William Tell without an image of the Lone Ranger galloping across my mind !

The music has to fit the action. A film such as Death in Venice worked because there was little action and plenty of atmosphere - it really was a slow moving visual film which Mahler's music fitted perfectly . There are plenty of examples of other films where Classical music has been used successfully (Walt Disney's Fantasia), but to suggest that it is appropiate for all films is unrealistic.

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'Man know thyself'

Peter
02-20-2001, 09:49 AM
Originally posted by Michael:
Peter, where did you see the nine hour Wagner bio? Is it on video? Of course it would have to be that length with Wagner - every one of his operas seems to be about nine hours long.

Michael

[This message has been edited by Michael (edited 02-19-2001).]

I actually have it on 3 videos - It has an amazing cast - Richard Burton, Vanessa Redgrave, Gemma Craven, Laurence Olivier, John Geilgud , Ralph Richardson , Joan Plowright, Arthur Lowe, Prunella Scales - I could go on - with other equally well known names - it even has a small part (non-speaking)with Sir William Walton as Friedrich August ll of Saxony ! The music is conducted by Solti.
I warn you though - it is drawn out (like the operas) but it does have some wonderful moments and superb visual effects - It covers the general historical period as well (with the 1848 Revolutions, which Wagner was of course personally involved at Dresden). It is directed by Tony Palmer (who apparently has done a Handel film - do you know of it Rod?) Available on Connoisseur Videos.

For all its defects, it is a better effort than 'Immortal beloved' and I just wish Tony Palmer would do something with Beethoven !
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'Man know thyself'

[This message has been edited by Peter (edited 02-20-2001).]

euphony131
02-20-2001, 10:34 AM
Yeah, perhaps I jumped the gun on that one -- after all, the associating of a stupid movie with great music isn't a good thing.

But I just can't stand seeing movie-goers going wild over a film's soundtrack, one that's not even original. I think that's another thing that's hurt CM -- the advent of motion pictures and their cornball music. People think of it as "New Classical" hence forgoing even further any notion of listening to genuine CM: "Why should I listen to Beethoven? He sucks! John Williams rules dude!"

Plus even when CM is used, any symbolic effect is completely lost on an audience ignorant of CM. For example -- most people failed to see the Wagner/racist analogy when "Ride of the Valkyries" was played to such blasting effect in the movie, "Apocalypse Now."

Coppola, being an opera buff, was obviously trying to highlight the "redneck" sentiments of Col. Kilgore: "I play Wagner! Scares the hell outa' the gooks!" (I'm sure Wagner would've loved to hear that one) It also seemed to capture the whole "white man's burden" ideology of dominating the "mud" races as helicopters spray on the fire. But again, all this was lost on theatre-goers oblivious to Wagner's racist theories. Too bad...instead they just cheer and wallow in the destruction.

Maybe CM shouldn't be used in movies after all. Not enough people are erudite enough to see the connections. Not that I'm a genius or anything! http://www.gyrix.com/~cgraye/ubb/smile.gif

Rod
02-20-2001, 11:06 AM
Originally posted by Peter:
It is directed by Tony Palmer (who apparently has done a Handel film - do you know of it Rod?) Available on Connoisseur Videos.

For all its defects, it is a better effort than 'Immortal beloved' and I just wish Tony Palmer would do something with Beethoven !


I haven't seen the Handel film. but since Handel generally kept his opinions and emotions totally to himself (or at least very little indeed is know of these things today) I'm not sure an accurate portrayal could be made of the man, although he traveled alot and got into many an opera 'duel' which would make for a good story.

With Beethoven, ultimately I think the man is simply too much of a complex character for TV and film.


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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

BP
02-20-2001, 10:56 PM
Correction, Peter, I believe Richard Burton's last film was a verson of George Orwell's 1984. As for film music, I don't see all of it as rip-offs, there is some origional material in the movies. I suggest reading the book "The Score" by Michael Schelle for more info on this. Also, I cannot help but say to Euphony, It doesn't matter that every movie adagio is a version of a classical one because almost every classical one is a new version of another classical one, and almost all slow movements of the classical period sound alike, and most romantic ones do too, in one way or another.

BP

Peter
02-21-2001, 09:33 AM
Originally posted by BP:
It doesn't matter that every movie adagio is a version of a classical one because almost every classical one is a new version of another classical one, and almost all slow movements of the classical period sound alike, and most romantic ones do too, in one way or another.

BP

You're on dangerous ground there ! The examples to disprove that are too numerous to list.


Without wishing to sound pretentious, to the unmusical ear you may be right - To someone not familiar with much 'serious' music,Haydn sounds like Mozart, Bach sounds like Handel and in fact ALL Classical,Baroque,Romantic music sounds the same !




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'Man know thyself'

Rod
02-21-2001, 11:35 AM
Originally posted by Peter:
You're on dangerous ground there ! The examples to disprove that are too numerous to list.



I'll list one anyway!

In Baroque times it was the accepted norm for composers to 'borrow' other composers thematic material and then develop it. Handel is the most famous 'borrower', but they all did it - Bach borrowed at least as much from the Italians as Handel, Bach even borrowed from Handel himself on occasion (is seems H never heard any of B's music). Yet after all this, these two exactly contemporary composers are chalk and cheese musically! Totally different.

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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Peter
02-21-2001, 12:49 PM
Originally posted by Rod:

Yet after all this, these two exactly contemporary composers are chalk and cheese musically! Totally different.



Which one's the chalk ?!

Handel said after being accused of borrowing from a minor composer, 'Yes, but it was much too good for him!'

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'Man know thyself'

Rod
02-21-2001, 01:43 PM
Originally posted by Peter:
Which one's the chalk ?!


Personally I find, for all that Bach can write a good tune, his obession with complex counterpoint lessens the music's melodic effectiveness, whereas Handel's generally simpler part-writing allows for a bolder harmony and melody. Bach's music is also somewhat predictable to my ears compared with Handel's. Just my impression since you've asked for it, I know most people prefer Bach.

Much was made here of the significance of the occasion when Beethoven met Mozart - the 'meeting of two giants', but I feel the event was ultimately of little consequence, Beethoven being a relative minor at that time. But JS Bach really wanted to meet up with Handel (who was far more famous) but his efforts were thwarted by circumstance. If these two had met I think this would have been the greatest meeting of minds as would be possible between direct contemporaries.




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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

BP
02-23-2001, 12:56 AM
What I was saying that in effect is that there are often many similarities, peter. Yes, there may be personal differences, but for the most part, Classical Period slow movements never really build towards a climax, they just float around. And Romantic movements usually have a very 'heavy' sound. I can cite many examples that prove my theory. You might not agree with me, but disagreements are unavoidable here, thats what this forum seems to be about.

BP

Serge
02-23-2001, 04:59 AM
The whole nature of the different periods of c.m. is endlessly arguable, but I'm definitely in BP's corner on this one.

The reason I dislike the "classical" period so much is that it usually seems to me like a performer vamping continually for, like, an hour. I find there is little in the way of theme development, exposition, or any other method involved in sonata form. A melody is introduced, gets played around for a bit, then comes back and then it's done. I am obviously not putting much musicological detail here, but that is certainly due to the fact I won't listen to Mozart or Haydn unless it's accidental. I spent a good ten years giving them a try, and am completely soured on them, despite the valuable contribution they gave to Ludwig. I'm bored to tears when I listen to classical c.m. I can't help it.

Getting back to the original topic (!), if Hollywood spent more time using c.m. as it were truly written, it is very possible that the saturation of c.m. could cheapen it. I like the idea of using source material, but only in movies that "deserved" it.

Peter
02-23-2001, 09:45 AM
Originally posted by Serge:

The reason I dislike the "classical" period so much is that it usually seems to me like a performer vamping continually for, like, an hour. I find there is little in the way of theme development, exposition, or any other method involved in sonata form I'm bored to tears when I listen to classical c.m. I can't help it.

.

Well Beethoven is a 'Classical' composer ! I find it bizarre that you find 'little in the way of theme development, exposition, or any other method involved in sonata form ' with Classical composers - Sonata form belongs primarily to the Classical period ! Of course it is ultimately a personal choice but I think it sad if someone finds Haydn/Mozart/Schubert (and by your criteria 'classical'- Beethoven as well!) boring and actively dislikes the music.

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'Man know thyself'

Serge
02-27-2001, 12:55 AM
Don't cry for me, Peter. I only restrict my defintion of 'classical' c.m. to H and M. Schubert is very nice to listen to, and I consider the nature of Beethoven to be anything but classical. I suppose my only deliberate attempt to avoid music comes at the expense of H and M; and that's after years of trying to enjoy them. I really can't explain why that's the way it is. There is just something in those two composers' music (Haydn, esp.) that won't engage me.

Peter
02-27-2001, 09:52 AM
Originally posted by Serge:
Don't cry for me, Peter. I only restrict my defintion of 'classical' c.m. to H and M. Schubert is very nice to listen to, and I consider the nature of Beethoven to be anything but classical.

Well as I said in another post , read Charles Rosen 'The Classical Style' and you will see that Beethoven quite clearly was a Classical composer. He provides an excellent study of Beethoven from the musical point of view - a must for anyone who is going to argue this point.

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'Man know thyself'

Rod
02-27-2001, 12:54 PM
Originally posted by Serge:
Don't cry for me, Peter. I only restrict my defintion of 'classical' c.m. to H and M. Schubert is very nice to listen to, and I consider the nature of Beethoven to be anything but classical. I suppose my only deliberate attempt to avoid music comes at the expense of H and M; and that's after years of trying to enjoy them. I really can't explain why that's the way it is. There is just something in those two composers' music (Haydn, esp.) that won't engage me.

One could describe Beethoven as 'late classical' but still classical! But you can make anybody sound Romantic if ignore history and the score, which happens to be the case with Beethoven. You could probably make Palestrina sound like Wagner if you messed with it enought, certainly Beethoven has been messed with by all your heros! And thus Beethoven has been identified with the origin/excesses of the Romantics. I've got some rare late Handel music that would make your jaw drop, such is its 'modern' drama and novel invention, but that doesn't make it Romantic. Britten described Beethoven as 'where the rot set in'. I can only suppose Britten read nothing about music or its historical development - a not unreasonable possiblity from my experience of music critics. Why do you think Romanic music lovers can never accept the authentic Beethoven movement? I suspect because harsh realities shatter daydream illusions.

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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin