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Comments about the soundtrack for The Dark Knight Rises (Hans Zimmer/Various)
Who is this reviewer?

Hyun21K
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  Responses to this Comment:
Doppity
Jacque
Drew C.
EndOfLine
Flo
Hyun21K
Thomas Allen
Who is this reviewer?   Monday, July 16, 2012 (8:22 p.m.) 

I've been reading this review and have noticed there are some strange declarations in it.
1) John Powell "bleeds creativity in relative obscurity"--then what about his Academy Nomination for How to Train Your Dragon, as well as his fairly busy career?
2) "Zimmer's mouth is his worst enemy for anyone interested in actually examining the merits of his structures and instrumentation." Well, sorry to be the intellectual party-pooper, but I don't listen to film scores for intellectual stimulation. If you want to actually work your brain, try analyzing Anton Webern's Symphonie, which uses docecophony, Pierre Boulez's Le marteau sans maître, or any other modern classical composers. These composers actually create musical forms in which their music has no image or dramatic backdrop to prop themselves upon. The fact is, while Bach composed fugues, while Beethoven broke Classical forms, while Chopin and Debussy loosened the meaning of tonality, and while Schoenberg did away with tonality altogether, Mr. Zimmer merely has to make a scene dramatic or sad.
3) "The "bull[bleep!] meter" is pegging on that explanation, with the dreaded phrase "creative differences" a more likely reason for Howard's wish to divest himself from the equation." What makes Mr. Clemmensen so sure that Mr. Howard has Clemmensen's exact opinion? Do they have a personal relationship? And also, I frankly don't care whether Mr. Howard scored or didn't score the movie anyways, as I do not like Mr. Howard's compositions.
4) "The composer needs to shut his yap, dump the ghostwriters, shift to F major, conjure a fluid theme, and drop a wicked oboe solo on us." Is the reviewer a composer too? Because he should know that F MAJOR HAS THE SAME KEY SIGNATURE AS D MINOR! And what's so important about themes? It may sound weird, but many great composers did not create themes in the proper sense. Beethoven's utterance in his 5th symphony is only 4 notes long. Mr. Elfman's contribution to the Batman universe was 5 notes long. But, just because Elfman's theme is one note longer does not make it better than Beethoven's idea. The only requirement of music is that it must have an idea, whether 100 measures or just one note. And also, oboe solos are a painful cliche in scoring poignant scenes. Why not have a viola solo? Violas actually have a darker and more mysterious tone than violins.


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Doppity
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Hyun21K
Re: Who is this reviewer?   Monday, July 16, 2012 (8:57 p.m.) 

Normally the people who bash the reviewer are a whole lotta nitwits. But I fully agree on many levels. For once someone bashes with knowledge! I, for one, am disappointed by the score, but I feel that the reviewer can take his opinions about the artist out and review the art itself. Sure, opinions are part of reviews, but instead of bickering, try to be less tasteless.


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Jacque
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Hyun21K

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Hyun21K
Re: Who is this reviewer?   Monday, July 16, 2012 (9:04 p.m.) 

> I've been reading this review and have noticed there are some strange
> declarations in it.
> 1) John Powell "bleeds creativity in relative obscurity"--then
> what about his Academy Nomination for How to Train Your Dragon, as well as
> his fairly busy career?

I think he means that he doesn't understand the copious media attention that Zimmer receives--interviews, publicized performances, praise by directors, gigs playing at the Academy Awards, etc. As for Powell's Oscar nomination in 2011, consider the fact that the awful score for the Social Network won that year for further proof that the composers that get the most media attention are often the most undeserving.

> 2) "Zimmer's mouth is his worst enemy for anyone interested in
> actually examining the merits of his structures and instrumentation."
> Well, sorry to be the intellectual party-pooper, but I don't listen to
> film scores for intellectual stimulation. If you want to actually work
> your brain, try analyzing Anton Webern's Symphonie, which uses
> docecophony, Pierre Boulez's Le marteau sans maître, or any other modern
> classical composers. These composers actually create musical forms in
> which their music has no image or dramatic backdrop to prop themselves
> upon. The fact is, while Bach composed fugues, while Beethoven broke
> Classical forms, while Chopin and Debussy loosened the meaning of
> tonality, and while Schoenberg did away with tonality altogether, Mr.
> Zimmer merely has to make a scene dramatic or sad.

Perhaps you are actually in agreement with the reviewer here. Lately Zimmer only creates a basic atmosphere with his music--dark, brooding, etc. But he doesn't go further than that and make truly dynamic, complex, emotionally satisfying music. He can write a cue that sounds sad (correction: his ghost writers can write a cue that sounds sad), but he's apparently lost his ability and/or willingness to tell a story with his music that can appropriately evoke the kinetics of a film scene. I won't lie and say that most film music is intellectually impressive, but it certainly can be, and I think that's what most people here want to hear from Zimmer. He's attaching himself to hugely popular franchises like Batman, Pirates of the Caribbean, and now Superman, so it seems like a waste to have a composer that doesn't want to push the intellectual boundaries of film music. John Williams did it with Star Wars, Indiana Jones, etc. Howard Shore did it with Lord of the Rings. We want Zimmer to do the same thing with the considerable number of movies that he writes music for.

> 3) "The "bull[bleep!] meter" is pegging on that
> explanation, with the dreaded phrase "creative differences" a
> more likely reason for Howard's wish to divest himself from the
> equation." What makes Mr. Clemmensen so sure that Mr. Howard has
> Clemmensen's exact opinion? Do they have a personal relationship? And
> also, I frankly don't care whether Mr. Howard scored or didn't score the
> movie anyways, as I do not like Mr. Howard's compositions.

Honestly, I think that Howard was basically implying that they had creative differences. He didn't want to infringe on the relationship between Zimmer and Nolan--that sounds very much like Zimmer and Nolan knew what they wanted to do with the music and Howard didn't feel like his contributions were needed.

> 4) "The composer needs to shut his yap, dump the ghostwriters, shift
> to F major, conjure a fluid theme, and drop a wicked oboe solo on
> us." Is the reviewer a composer too? Because he should know that F
> MAJOR HAS THE SAME KEY SIGNATURE AS D MINOR! And what's so important about
> themes? It may sound weird, but many great composers did not create themes
> in the proper sense. Beethoven's utterance in his 5th symphony is only 4
> notes long. Mr. Elfman's contribution to the Batman universe was 5 notes
> long. But, just because Elfman's theme is one note longer does not make it
> better than Beethoven's idea. The only requirement of music is that it
> must have an idea, whether 100 measures or just one note. And also, oboe
> solos are a painful cliche in scoring poignant scenes. Why not have a
> viola solo? Violas actually have a darker and more mysterious tone than
> violins.

Oh please. Beethoven and Elfman did infinitely more with their simple themes than Zimmer has ever done with the Batman theme. Also, Beethoven's four-note motif was supposed to represent a single concept--fate knocking on the door. But Zimmer wrote a boring two-note theme that's supposed to represent a very psychologically complex character. It just doesn't work. If you read the review, you'll see that Clemmensen complained that Zimmer doesn't do anything interesting with the two-note theme, even though he promised he would. Therein lies the problem.

And how can you possibly say that oboe solos are a cliche when pretty much every technique that Zimmer and his clones use in their action scores have become cliches? Cliche or not, an oboe solo could really make a diverse contribution to the score simply by virtue of the fact that the score is otherwise absent in woodwinds.

By the way, one of the nicest touches to Zimmer's score for At World's End was the addition of significant woodwind solos. It was one of the most important reasons that score became the best in its series. Clemmensen isn't crazy to suggest that it would work again here.



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Hyun21K
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  In Response to:
Jacque

  Responses to this Comment:
Jacque
Corey
Re: Who is this reviewer?   Monday, July 16, 2012 (9:33 p.m.) 

> I think he means that he doesn't understand the copious media attention
> that Zimmer receives--interviews, publicized performances, praise by
> directors, gigs playing at the Academy Awards, etc. As for Powell's Oscar
> nomination in 2011, consider the fact that the awful score for the Social
> Network won that year for further proof that the composers that get the
> most media attention are often the most undeserving.

> Perhaps you are actually in agreement with the reviewer here. Lately
> Zimmer only creates a basic atmosphere with his music--dark, brooding,
> etc. But he doesn't go further than that and make truly dynamic, complex,
> emotionally satisfying music. He can write a cue that sounds sad
> (correction: his ghost writers can write a cue that sounds sad), but he's
> apparently lost his ability and/or willingness to tell a story with his
> music that can appropriately evoke the kinetics of a film scene. I won't
> lie and say that most film music is intellectually impressive, but it
> certainly can be, and I think that's what most people here want to hear
> from Zimmer. He's attaching himself to hugely popular franchises like
> Batman, Pirates of the Caribbean, and now Superman, so it seems like a
> waste to have a composer that doesn't want to push the intellectual
> boundaries of film music. John Williams did it with Star Wars, Indiana
> Jones, etc. Howard Shore did it with Lord of the Rings. We want Zimmer to
> do the same thing with the considerable number of movies that he writes
> music for.

> Honestly, I think that Howard was basically implying that they had
> creative differences. He didn't want to infringe on the relationship
> between Zimmer and Nolan--that sounds very much like Zimmer and Nolan knew
> what they wanted to do with the music and Howard didn't feel like his
> contributions were needed.

> Oh please. Beethoven and Elfman did infinitely more with their simple
> themes than Zimmer has ever done with the Batman theme. Also, Beethoven's
> four-note motif was supposed to represent a single concept--fate knocking
> on the door. But Zimmer wrote a boring two-note theme that's supposed to
> represent a very psychologically complex character. It just doesn't work.
> If you read the review, you'll see that Clemmensen complained that Zimmer
> doesn't do anything interesting with the two-note theme, even though he
> promised he would. Therein lies the problem.

> And how can you possibly say that oboe solos are a cliche when pretty much
> every technique that Zimmer and his clones use in their action scores have
> become cliches? Cliche or not, an oboe solo could really make a diverse
> contribution to the score simply by virtue of the fact that the score is
> otherwise absent in woodwinds.

> By the way, one of the nicest touches to Zimmer's score for At World's End
> was the addition of significant woodwind solos. It was one of the most
> important reasons that score became the best in its series. Clemmensen
> isn't crazy to suggest that it would work again here.

Thank you for your evaluation of my review. You do have very good points.
In my honest opinion, I think Hans Zimmer is maybe too successful for his own good. He acheived great popularity with the blockbuster action style he created, and perhaps he's afraid to deviate from that formula of success. Hans Zimmer's scores are most certainly derivative and simple, and the only recent Zimmer score I like is Inception, not because it is any different from Zimmer's other scores, only because it worked so well in the movie.

I am wondering what is your definition of complex music? Of all the film composers, I only consider John Williams capable of writing complex music, that is layered with counterpoint with imaginative orchestrating. Complexity does not make music good or bad. On a side note, John Williams composes concert music in additiong to his film scores, and his flute concerto is in fact atonal.

I am also wondering which composers you like? You mentioned John Williams and Howard Shore. Personally, I think the score from Lord of the Rings has characteristics in common with Zimmer's scores: long ostinatos and very heavily orchestrated. As another interesting side note, Howard Shore is also a concert composer who recently completed an opera based on The Fly. Moreover, Shore's entire Lord of the Rings score is indebted to Wagner's system of letimotifs.

These are my reactions from each of your comments:
1) All too correct. I have absolutely no respect for the scores being selected for best score. It's time for the music to speak for itself rather than breaking down into a popularity contest.
2) My point with that paragraph was to imply that most film composers are not as intellectual as most concert composers, with Mr. Zimmer included. I do not think most film scores lend themselves to deep analysis. Film scores are popular music, they need to sound pleasing to the masses.
3) I agree with you again! It was the review that implied that Howard got sick of Zimmer.
4) I guess Elfman did more with his theme, although his variants were fairly obvious. Of course Beethoven did more, making every major idea and accompaniment in the first movement based on that 4 note motif. My objection is subtler than that: Mr. Clemmensen listens to Mr. Zimmer's words to yell at him. I, having previously stated about my position on film music, take Zimmer's words as a grain of salt: of course the score is not intellectual, otherwise how would it be appropriate for a megablockbuster on the scale of Dark Knight Rises? Both Mr. Zimmer and Mr. Elfman lack classical training and consequently their music developes on a more obvious scale. But, more and more, Mr. Zimmer's music is beginning to remind me of another genre of classical music, minimalist music. Philip Glass, an occasional film score composer, has constructed genuine symphonies soley out of ostinatos. Another minimalist, Terry Riley, composed a piece called In C, which is the only note in the entire piece. And John Cage trumps them all, in 4'33", he asks the performer to do nothing. My objection is that the reviewer feels he is on an intellectual higher ground, which I feel is not the case.

And finally, Zimmer should not have added just woodwinds, but all sorts of exotic percussion battery to give Gotham City an industrial gleam. Think Don Davis' (another concert composer)score for the Matrix


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Jacque
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Hyun21K

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Corey
Re: Who is this reviewer?   Monday, July 16, 2012 (10:13 p.m.) 

> Thank you for your evaluation of my review. You do have very good points.
> In my honest opinion, I think Hans Zimmer is maybe too successful for his
> own good. He acheived great popularity with the blockbuster action style
> he created, and perhaps he's afraid to deviate from that formula of
> success. Hans Zimmer's scores are most certainly derivative and simple,
> and the only recent Zimmer score I like is Inception, not because it is
> any different from Zimmer's other scores, only because it worked so well
> in the movie.

Thank you for writing an actual rebuttal to the review! It is a nice change of pace. I think you may be right about Zimmer. He's like the Dr. Luke of film music. He's a great businessman who at the moment doesn't have any motivation to deviate from his formula.

> I am wondering what is your definition of complex music? Of all the film
> composers, I only consider John Williams capable of writing complex music,
> that is layered with counterpoint with imaginative orchestrating.
> Complexity does not make music good or bad. On a side note, John Williams
> composes concert music in additiong to his film scores, and his flute
> concerto is in fact atonal.

I agree John Williams probably writes the most complex music in film music today (in a classical sense). He's also my favorite film composer, so I have a bit of a bias there. I know complexity doesn't automatically make music good, but when you have a visionary director like Christopher Nolan who wants to take the world of Batman and make a serious film trilogy that can rival any other movie in its drive to make artistic statements about life...I can't help but want the composer to do the same.

>Both Mr. Zimmer and Mr.
> Elfman lack classical training and consequently their music developes on a
> more obvious scale.

Okay, I have to nitpick this one because I love Elfman haha. Listen to Elfman's Spider-Man 2 opening suite and tell me there's anything conventional or predictable about it. Actually, it, too, features a simple theme for Spider-Man, only 4 notes long, yet just listen to all the wild places he takes the theme in just 3 minutes. It's not intellectual like a concert piece is but it's vibrant and wondrous whereas Zimmer's music for Batman is monotonous and repetitive.

But, more and more, Mr. Zimmer's music is beginning to
> remind me of another genre of classical music, minimalist music. Philip
> Glass, an occasional film score composer, has constructed genuine
> symphonies soley out of ostinatos. Another minimalist, Terry Riley,
> composed a piece called In C, which is the only note in the entire piece.
> And John Cage trumps them all, in 4'33", he asks the performer to do
> nothing. My objection is that the reviewer feels he is on an intellectual
> higher ground, which I feel is not the case.

Ah, the argument that Nolan's movies only need minimalist music. I have no beef with minimalist music, but I can't get behind this argument because Nolan does not make minimalist movies. If the art director, visual effects designer, or cinematographer took the same approach as Zimmer, you would have a completely visually flat and boring movie. If the screen writer took the same approach as Zimmer, the movie would have no plot or conlflict/resolution of conflict. Everything else about this Batman trilogy is done on an epic scale, so why shouldn't the music? And we know from the history of the genre that superhero films excel on an emotional level when they have extravagant music.

> And finally, Zimmer should not have added just woodwinds, but all sorts of
> exotic percussion battery to give Gotham City an industrial gleam. Think
> Don Davis' (another concert composer)score for the Matrix

I'd have loved to hear that.



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Corey
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Jacque

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Hyun21K
Re: Who is this reviewer?   Wednesday, July 18, 2012 (12:30 a.m.) 

> Ah, the argument that Nolan's movies only need minimalist music. I have no
> beef with minimalist music, but I can't get behind this argument because
> Nolan does not make minimalist movies. If the art director, visual effects
> designer, or cinematographer took the same approach as Zimmer, you would
> have a completely visually flat and boring movie. If the screen writer
> took the same approach as Zimmer, the movie would have no plot or
> conlflict/resolution of conflict. Everything else about this Batman
> trilogy is done on an epic scale, so why shouldn't the music? And we know
> from the history of the genre that superhero films excel on an emotional
> level when they have extravagant music.

I completely agree with that. Music is seen to be such a side note in films these days. Any other aspect of filmmaking is usually praised when it has complexity and/or asserts itself emotionally, but music is just "give me a mood" when it is capable of doing and being so much more.



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Hyun21K
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Corey
Re: Who is this reviewer?   Wednesday, July 18, 2012 (10:28 a.m.) 

> I completely agree with that. Music is seen to be such a side note in
> films these days. Any other aspect of filmmaking is usually praised when
> it has complexity and/or asserts itself emotionally, but music is just
> "give me a mood" when it is capable of doing and being so much
> more.

The problem is that composing is a mercurical process that takes time--waiting for the right sounds, which can drive producers crazy!
Producers need to care that all parts of the movie are on schedule and accounted for; the nature of music composing does not easily fit into schedules and I feel many movie composers are rushed into finishing their jobs.


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Corey
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Hyun21K

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Hyun21K
Re: Who is this reviewer?   Tuesday, July 17, 2012 (1:05 a.m.) 

> Personally, I think the score from Lord of the Rings has
> characteristics in common with Zimmer's scores: long ostinatos and very
> heavily orchestrated.

That's a pretty big stretch. Although there are instances of ostinato in LOTR, that's hardly the signature sound of those scores. It's not even a minor defining characteristic. LOTR is predominantly driven by representational (and more importantly, vastly different) melody and harmony - something Zimmer's score cannot claim.

"Heavily orchestrated" is also too broad a characteristic. Shore's are heavily orchestrated, yes, but they utilize the full range of the orchestra and aren't confined to the bass region.


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Hyun21K
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Corey
Re: Who is this reviewer?   Tuesday, July 17, 2012 (8:17 a.m.) 

> That's a pretty big stretch. Although there are instances of ostinato in
> LOTR, that's hardly the signature sound of those scores. It's not even a
> minor defining characteristic. LOTR is predominantly driven by
> representational (and more importantly, vastly different) melody and
> harmony - something Zimmer's score cannot claim.

> "Heavily orchestrated" is also too broad a characteristic.
> Shore's are heavily orchestrated, yes, but they utilize the full range of
> the orchestra and aren't confined to the bass region.

I am sorry for the mistunderstanding. My comparison was not to equate the scores of Zimmer and Shore in any way. I know all about Shore's Wagnerian system of motifs in Lord of the Rings, something which is only rivaled by the score of Star Wars.
My purpose of the comparison was a direct question to user Jacques. I wanted to see his taste in composers and making such a comparison would provoke an interesting reaction, as it did in your case.

For my review to your comment, I agree and disagree with you. Yes, Shore's score is completely different from Zimmer's in terms of tone. Shore's orchestral sound is obviously more colorful and not has weighty, and his harmonic language was supposed bring in mind the ancient times. But, that doesn't mean that Shore and Zimmer could not have used similiar compositional techniques, such as the use of ostinato. A majority of motifs in Lord of the Rings use ostinato whether as a accompaniment figure or as melodic material. Shore's string section is heavily orchestrated: the strings most commonly play divisi to create a dense chord. Heavily orchestrated does not mean heavy in a tonal sense: if Shore had rewritten all the violin parts for flutes and oboe, then I would still consider it to be heavily orchestrated.

So I wanted to point out that they used same compositional techniques the end result is different. Thank you for your response!


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Hyun21K

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Hyun21K
Re: Who is this reviewer?   Wednesday, July 18, 2012 (12:22 a.m.) 

> A majority of motifs in Lord of the Rings use ostinato whether as a
> accompaniment figure or as melodic material.

Ok, yes, as accompaniment figures, that is true. You can even hear this in the Hobbit trailer music.

> Shore's string section is heavily orchestrated: the strings most commonly play > divisi to create a dense chord.

Also true, but I think a lot of people miss the other instruments playing in unison with the strings (commonly woodwinds). Doug Adams talks about this in his book about the music. A lot of it sounds like strings, but there are actually several instruments across the orchestra making up a single chord. It's what gives the LOTR scores such a unique tone, even when they're playing something very simple. That's also what makes them heavily orchestrated.



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Re: Who is this reviewer?   Wednesday, July 18, 2012 (10:25 a.m.) 

> Ok, yes, as accompaniment figures, that is true. You can even hear this in
> the Hobbit trailer music.

> Also true, but I think a lot of people miss the other instruments playing
> in unison with the strings (commonly woodwinds). Doug Adams talks about
> this in his book about the music. A lot of it sounds like strings, but
> there are actually several instruments across the orchestra making up a
> single chord. It's what gives the LOTR scores such a unique tone, even
> when they're playing something very simple. That's also what makes them
> heavily orchestrated.

Thank you for your response, that was exactly what I meant!


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Drew C.
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Hyun21K
Jiden
Re: Who is this reviewer?   Monday, July 16, 2012 (9:14 p.m.) 

> I've been reading this review and have noticed there are some strange
> declarations in it.
> 1) John Powell "bleeds creativity in relative obscurity"--then
> what about his Academy Nomination for How to Train Your Dragon, as well as
> his fairly busy career?
> 2) "Zimmer's mouth is his worst enemy for anyone interested in
> actually examining the merits of his structures and instrumentation."
> Well, sorry to be the intellectual party-pooper, but I don't listen to
> film scores for intellectual stimulation. If you want to actually work
> your brain, try analyzing Anton Webern's Symphonie, which uses
> docecophony, Pierre Boulez's Le marteau sans maître, or any other modern
> classical composers. These composers actually create musical forms in
> which their music has no image or dramatic backdrop to prop themselves
> upon. The fact is, while Bach composed fugues, while Beethoven broke
> Classical forms, while Chopin and Debussy loosened the meaning of
> tonality, and while Schoenberg did away with tonality altogether, Mr.
> Zimmer merely has to make a scene dramatic or sad.
> 3) "The "bull[bleep!] meter" is pegging on that
> explanation, with the dreaded phrase "creative differences" a
> more likely reason for Howard's wish to divest himself from the
> equation." What makes Mr. Clemmensen so sure that Mr. Howard has
> Clemmensen's exact opinion? Do they have a personal relationship? And
> also, I frankly don't care whether Mr. Howard scored or didn't score the
> movie anyways, as I do not like Mr. Howard's compositions.
> 4) "The composer needs to shut his yap, dump the ghostwriters, shift
> to F major, conjure a fluid theme, and drop a wicked oboe solo on
> us." Is the reviewer a composer too? Because he should know that F
> MAJOR HAS THE SAME KEY SIGNATURE AS D MINOR! And what's so important about
> themes? It may sound weird, but many great composers did not create themes
> in the proper sense. Beethoven's utterance in his 5th symphony is only 4
> notes long. Mr. Elfman's contribution to the Batman universe was 5 notes
> long. But, just because Elfman's theme is one note longer does not make it
> better than Beethoven's idea. The only requirement of music is that it
> must have an idea, whether 100 measures or just one note. And also, oboe
> solos are a painful cliche in scoring poignant scenes. Why not have a
> viola solo? Violas actually have a darker and more mysterious tone than
> violins.

1. Just because HTTYD received an Academy Award nomination doesn't mean anything. Clemmensen was probably commenting about other scores from Powell. And just because Powell had a busy few years, that has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the music!

2. I am sorry, but film music is supposed to have complexity for intellectual simulation, just like the story or film. Would a screenplay be dumbed-down just to the bare emotions? Would the art direction be de-colord to only support the emotions of a given scene? No. So, in all seriousness, WHY THE MUSIC???!!!! I really don't get why many small-budget films get well-thought music and so many $250 Million blockbusters get the most dumbed-down, stupidest, most generic music in existence!!!

3. Well guess what: Howard is gone from the franchise, you should be happy! And if you didn't enjoy Howard's music, than that's you own problem. Clemmensen can have his opinion, and you can have yours. Problem solved!

4. You idiot, when Clemmensen refers to "D Minor", he is talking about the note (D, in this case) that every statement of the main theme starts on! When he states "F Major", he is only saying that Zimmer should have the first note of a theme / statement / phrase be an F for once rather than Zimmer's way over-used D!!!

You people really need to stop calling the editor an idiot and calling Zimmer god. All of you brainwashed fanboys only make us hate Zimmer even more than we already did. I am tired of explaining this, so please tell all of your other brainwashed fanboys to go somewhere else (meaning off this site)!!!!!



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Hyun21K
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Hyun21K
Re: Who is this reviewer?   Monday, July 16, 2012 (9:42 p.m.) 

> 1. Just because HTTYD received an Academy Award nomination doesn't mean
> anything. Clemmensen was probably commenting about other scores from
> Powell. And just because Powell had a busy few years, that has
> absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the music!

> 2. I am sorry, but film music is supposed to have complexity for
> intellectual simulation, just like the story or film. Would a
> screenplay be dumbed-down just to the bare emotions? Would the art
> direction be de-colord to only support the emotions of a given scene? No.
> So, in all seriousness, WHY THE MUSIC???!!!! I really don't get why many
> small-budget films get well-thought music and so many $250 Million
> blockbusters get the most dumbed-down, stupidest, most generic music in
> existence
!!!

> 3. Well guess what: Howard is gone from the franchise, you should be
> happy! And if you didn't enjoy Howard's music, than that's you own
> problem
. Clemmensen can have his opinion, and you can have yours.
> Problem solved!

> 4. You idiot, when Clemmensen refers to "D Minor", he is talking
> about the note (D, in this case) that every statement of the main theme
> starts on! When he states "F Major", he is only saying that
> Zimmer should have the first note of a theme / statement / phrase be an F
> for once rather than Zimmer's way over-used D!!!

> You people really need to stop calling the editor an idiot and calling
> Zimmer god. All of you brainwashed fanboys only make us hate Zimmer even
> more than we already did. I am tired of explaining this, so please tell
> all of your other brainwashed fanboys to go somewhere else (meaning off
> this site)!!!!!

What makes you assume that I am a Zimmer fanboy.
Am I defending Zimmer's score?
Very well, since I have criticized the reviewer, I shall now criticize Zimmer's scoring style to balance the picture.

I think Zimmer is a case of someone who caught the tiger's tail: I found a successful formula of scoring, and can't let it go for fear of losing success.
As a background, Zimmer did not have classical training, so already is orchestral style is somewhat 2-dimensional. His ideas are developed in an obvious manner. Enough said.

But, Zimmer is as much a businessman as a composer. He has his own music company and enjoys a close relationship with Bruckheimer. All of his "students" inherit his sound, a cardinal crime for any young composer in my opinion. Therefore, Zimmer's scores are nothing more than business contracts that make money. I do not see much musical value. Therefore, time spent criticizing his scores is time wasted.

My sole objection was the tone of the reviewer, who was taking an intellectual high ground. Let me ask you, do you know what dodecaphony is? Or total serialism? Limited transposition modes? Or do you know the composer Arnold Schoenberg? Pierre Boulez? Karlheinz Stockhousen? Gyorgi Litegi?

As for your attack on me, two words: °³ »õ³¢


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Laurens
Re: Who is this reviewer?   Monday, July 16, 2012 (9:43 p.m.) 

> What makes you assume that I am a Zimmer fanboy.
> Am I defending Zimmer's score?
> Very well, since I have criticized the reviewer, I shall now criticize
> Zimmer's scoring style to balance the picture.

> I think Zimmer is a case of someone who caught the tiger's tail: I found a
> successful formula of scoring, and can't let it go for fear of losing
> success.
> As a background, Zimmer did not have classical training, so already is
> orchestral style is somewhat 2-dimensional. His ideas are developed in an
> obvious manner. Enough said.

> But, Zimmer is as much a businessman as a composer. He has his own music
> company and enjoys a close relationship with Bruckheimer. All of his
> "students" inherit his sound, a cardinal crime for any young
> composer in my opinion. Therefore, Zimmer's scores are nothing more than
> business contracts that make money. I do not see much musical value.
> Therefore, time spent criticizing his scores is time wasted.

> My sole objection was the tone of the reviewer, who was taking an
> intellectual high ground. Let me ask you, do you know what dodecaphony is?
> Or total serialism? Limited transposition modes? Or do you know the
> composer Arnold Schoenberg? Pierre Boulez? Karlheinz Stockhousen? Gyorgi
> Litegi?

> As for your attack on me, two words: °³ »õ³¢

Apparently this browser is incompantable with Korean. Two words: Geh sekki



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Re: Who is this reviewer?   Tuesday, July 17, 2012 (1:55 p.m.) 

> Apparently this browser is incompantable with Korean. Two words: Geh sekki

Hyun-san, you are an enlightening little chap .
Thank you for those comments. But I believe "some" people in this universe are just lost to their own insanity, in this case, "Zimmer-phobia".
But still, I like what you wrote, and I believe everyone should respect it, even the reviewer, of whom I think he is having a hard time in his life, on occasions, which is sad really. Just enjoy music for what it is. I enjoy everything, from Armenian traditional music to Rammstein industry/metal. It flows, it goes, it's music, and it makes me live. That's what's important. If you don't like something, don't bash it, but try to find the good things in it, why other people like it. Then you will start to learn even more about who you are yourself.


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Re: Who is this reviewer?   Tuesday, July 17, 2012 (2:10 p.m.) 
• Now Playing: The Edge (Jerry Goldsmith)  

> Hyun-san, you are an enlightening little chap .
> Thank you for those comments. But I believe "some" people in
> this universe are just lost to their own insanity, in this case,
> "Zimmer-phobia".
> But still, I like what you wrote, and I believe everyone should respect
> it, even the reviewer, of whom I think he is having a hard time in his
> life, on occasions, which is sad really. Just enjoy music for what it is.
> I enjoy everything, from Armenian traditional music to Rammstein
> industry/metal. It flows, it goes, it's music, and it makes me live.
> That's what's important. If you don't like something, don't bash it, but
> try to find the good things in it, why other people like it. Then you will
> start to learn even more about who you are yourself.

That was about the lamest comment I've ever read. Zimmer is a self-cannabalizing pseudo-intellect. He created an interesting style, then hammered it into the ground. I know he's capable of greater things and so does Clemmensen, that's why we're so harsh on rubbish like this. Every second he spends wasting on a mundane score is robbed from moments when he could be making real innovations. There's no "hard time" in our lives because we say this.


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Re: Who is this reviewer?   Tuesday, July 17, 2012 (5:52 p.m.) 

> That was about the lamest comment I've ever read. Zimmer is a
> self-cannabalizing pseudo-intellect. He created an interesting style, then
> hammered it into the ground. I know he's capable of greater things and so
> does Clemmensen, that's why we're so harsh on rubbish like this. Every
> second he spends wasting on a mundane score is robbed from moments when he
> could be making real innovations. There's no "hard time" in our
> lives because we say this.

I don't think it's lame to listen to certain music even if other people don't like it.


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Laurens
Re: Who is this reviewer?   Tuesday, July 17, 2012 (7:43 p.m.) 

> I don't think it's lame to listen to certain music even if other people
> don't like it.

I think it's lame to assume people are having a hard time in life simply because their tastes differ from another.


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Re: Who is this reviewer?   Saturday, July 21, 2012 (6:33 a.m.) 
• Now Playing: Single Man  

> I think it's lame to assume people are having a hard time in life simply
> because their tastes differ from another.

Maybe Zimmer has no innovations up his sleeve, so get over with it.
I am no Zimmer-man, fyi, but I seem to be just different in that sense that I try to find something of interest in whatever it is I get presented with. You are right, it might be that Zimmer is being careful and lazy, but he still gets some nice material out of it, so why care? And there are loads of other scores out there, if you don't like it.
By the way, I must say that the points "soundtrack with the movie" are a bit low. The sound Zimmer has made fits perfectly with the movie! You think that Nolan, an intellect himself, would accept the music if he didn't think it fitted in. Is Clemmenson also the movie goeroe to have knowledge of what music works for which movie?
But in the end, it's a review, and his opinion. And I respect that. But when looking at the amount of text he wrote! In that case I say again, get over it, leave ZImmer for what he is, and enjoy life.


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Re: Who is this reviewer?   Tuesday, July 17, 2012 (5:58 p.m.) 

> That was about the lamest comment I've ever read. Zimmer is a
> self-cannabalizing pseudo-intellect. He created an interesting style, then
> hammered it into the ground. I know he's capable of greater things and so
> does Clemmensen, that's why we're so harsh on rubbish like this. Every
> second he spends wasting on a mundane score is robbed from moments when he
> could be making real innovations. There's no "hard time" in our
> lives because we say this.

Also what innovations would you care for Zimmer to make? Just curious


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Re: Who is this reviewer?   Tuesday, July 17, 2012 (7:55 p.m.) 

> Also what innovations would you care for Zimmer to make? Just curious

You bring up a good question and I can honestly say I don't know. But the layered synthetic and amplified bass is almost inaudible to me after a hour's listening experience. There's an infinite of new things to be done, but I think Zimmer has become too comfortable with his own style to pursue them--much like John Barry in his later career. It's just disappointing.


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Hyun21K
Re: Who is this reviewer?   Tuesday, July 17, 2012 (8:24 a.m.) 

> 2. I am sorry, but film music is supposed to have complexity for
> intellectual simulation, just like the story or film. Would a
> screenplay be dumbed-down just to the bare emotions? Would the art
> direction be de-colord to only support the emotions of a given scene? No.
> So, in all seriousness, WHY THE MUSIC???!!!! I really don't get why many
> small-budget films get well-thought music and so many $250 Million
> blockbusters get the most dumbed-down, stupidest, most generic music in
> existence
!!!

Exactly! Why eat hamburger when you can have steak?


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Re: Who is this reviewer?   Tuesday, July 17, 2012 (8:32 a.m.) 

> Exactly! Why eat hamburger when you can have steak?

Oh, you seem to have misunderstood me also.
My comment was that it is unreasonable to expect film composers to compose intellectually satisfying music.
Before you attack me for bashing all film composers at once, I'll give you an example of music that is intellectually satisfying (or nerve-wracking)
dodecaphony, in which all notes of the chromatic scale has to be used equally, the twelve-tone row, its inversion, retrograde, and retrograde inversion.
Compared to this, all tonal music (yes, dodecaphony is atonal) is easy to listen, which is not to say all film composers are not as smart.
In fact, both John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith have composed dodecaphonic atonal concert works, but I like their film scores better! Why?
Because their film scores show character and an individual mind, and, are frankly more entertaining, which brings me back to my first arguement: I don't listen film scores for intellectual stimuluation because they aren't intellectually stimulating. A film score is supposed to heighten the emotions of the audience. Therefore, film scores are supposed to be emotionally satisfying.

All those claims by Zimmer pale in comparison by the claims of John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen.


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Hyun21K
Re: Who is this reviewer?   Tuesday, July 17, 2012 (6:42 a.m.) 

> 4) "The composer needs to shut his yap, dump the ghostwriters, shift
> to F major, conjure a fluid theme, and drop a wicked oboe solo on
> us." Is the reviewer a composer too? Because he should know that F
> MAJOR HAS THE SAME KEY SIGNATURE AS D MINOR!

Aside from the sharpened 7th in D Minor. Which actually has a pretty huge effect on the key.
Maybe CC chose to mention F major for that reason. Same key signature but without the sharpened 7th.



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Re: Who is this reviewer?   Tuesday, July 17, 2012 (8:22 a.m.) 

> Aside from the sharpened 7th in D Minor. Which actually has a pretty huge
> effect on the key.
> Maybe CC chose to mention F major for that reason. Same key signature but
> without the sharpened 7th.

I'll nitpick this one, haha, which doesn't mean I don't appreciate you responding to me.

The sharpened 7th in D minor is chracteristic of only the harmonic D minor scale. Natural D minor has no extra accidentals, and melodic D minor has no accidentals going up and two extra accidentals going down.
And why can't F major have the sharpened 7th (which is C sharp in D minor)?
Augemented chords are fine by me.

If I were to suggest another key, I would choose A flat major because that key has a sweet tone.


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Re: Who is this reviewer?   Tuesday, July 17, 2012 (1:00 p.m.) 

hey there,

actually pretty cool, that someone writes a response like this to a review like the one above. I expected the review would be along such lines - as a lot of other people here too I think - but still, good response.
I have to say I disagree on some parts of your argument tho, especially the intellectual aspects. Film music has many ways it can work and there is not one single approach that is more valid than another, except for maybe that it has to work in the context of the film. Then again, some filmscores work very well, while working in opposite directions to the film they are underscoring. Carter Burwell said in an interview that he likes to give a scene what's not in it, instead of underscoring what's in it, meaning that his approach is more about what the scene is about in context - which is a more intellectual approach. Still it is meant to give a certain emotion to the scene. Being intellectual IMHO has not only to do with the structural approach to music (like serialism or if it's a double fugue), but also how the general tone of the music works in context of the film.
In TORA TORA TORA Jerry Goldsmith used a strong japanese tone that underscores both the traditionalism, heroism as well as doom of the attack on Pearl Harbour. He could have just written martial music or have a marching band play, but he chose this more intellectual approach, which takes a little time to get accustomed to instead.

Hope I got my point across, no criticism intended. And btw, I would love to hear a good viola solo from Zimmer. Violas are awesome!

cheers
Flo



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Jonathan Broxton
Flo
Re: Who is this reviewer?   Tuesday, July 17, 2012 (1:43 p.m.) 

> hey there,

> actually pretty cool, that someone writes a response like this to a review
> like the one above. I expected the review would be along such lines - as a
> lot of other people here too I think - but still, good response.
> I have to say I disagree on some parts of your argument tho, especially
> the intellectual aspects. Film music has many ways it can work and there
> is not one single approach that is more valid than another, except for
> maybe that it has to work in the context of the film. Then again, some
> filmscores work very well, while working in opposite directions to the
> film they are underscoring. Carter Burwell said in an interview that he
> likes to give a scene what's not in it, instead of underscoring what's in
> it, meaning that his approach is more about what the scene is about in
> context - which is a more intellectual approach. Still it is meant to give
> a certain emotion to the scene. Being intellectual IMHO has not only to do
> with the structural approach to music (like serialism or if it's a double
> fugue), but also how the general tone of the music works in context of the
> film.
> In TORA TORA TORA Jerry Goldsmith used a strong japanese tone that
> underscores both the traditionalism, heroism as well as doom of the attack
> on Pearl Harbour. He could have just written martial music or have a
> marching band play, but he chose this more intellectual approach, which
> takes a little time to get accustomed to instead.

> Hope I got my point across, no criticism intended. And btw, I would love
> to hear a good viola solo from Zimmer. Violas are awesome!

> cheers
> Flo

Thank you for giving me your perspective on film scoring! It is very insightful.

I have to confess that I am only an occasional film music listener. I usually listen to modern music so that tells you what music I'm used to.

I definitely do agree that what you described is a more intellectual approach to scoring films. I only went over the techniques of composition, not the context in the film.

On the other hand, I do wish that more film composers would try to learn about music theory because too much film music is sounder more like popular music (i.e. songs). I guess that has a lot to do with the composer's background (i.e. Hans Zimmer), but still writing to match the emotions and action of the screen flexibility requires more skill.

John Williams uses counterpoint and advanced instrumental techniques. Jerry Goldsmith used them too. But most of the other film composers do not.

Once again, thank you for your thoughtful response!


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Re: Who is this reviewer?   Tuesday, July 17, 2012 (2:40 p.m.) 

> John Williams uses counterpoint and advanced instrumental techniques.
> Jerry Goldsmith used them too. But most of the other film composers do
> not.

I'd dare you to say that to the face of Ennio Morricone, Thomas Newman, James Horner, Alexandre Desplat, Howard Shore, Elliot Goldenthal, Philippe Rombi, George Fenton, Patrick Doyle, Christopher Young, Wojciech Kilar, Brian Tyler, Marco Beltrami, Mark Isham, Dario Marianelli, Bruce Broughton, Mark McKenzie, Roque Banos, Joe Hisaishi, Mychael Danna, David Newman, or any one of the dozens and dozens of other film music specialists who learned composition, counterpoint and orchestration at some of the finest music schools in the world.

You've got a real snobbery thing going on - coming on to a site like this with an attitude like "I only listen to modern music, but I think I know everything about film scores".

Give it a rest.


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Re: Who is this reviewer?   Tuesday, July 17, 2012 (3:39 p.m.) 

> You've got a real snobbery thing going on - coming on to a site like this
> with an attitude like "I only listen to modern music, but I think I
> know everything about film scores".

Maybe my english isn't good enough to read this between the lines, but I think he never said that really. Or did he, please correct me if i'm wrong, but so far it has been a more pleasant thread about the Hans Zimmer methodology than any I have read in a long time .

cheers
Flo


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Agreed!   Thursday, July 19, 2012 (10:50 a.m.) 

This is actually one of the most level-headed interesting discussions on Hans Zimmer to ever take place at Filmtracks. Shame that some try and pull it in the direction of a flame war over someone's natural inclination to slightly exaggerate their opinion and the facts.

Almost every Hollywood composer gets sucked into the expectations and limitations of scoring a major Hollywood film, and their art is restricted as a result. I like to think of it as who can pull off the most emotionally-engaging, dynamic, interesting music with the constraints placed upon them as a component in a money-making venture.

Zimmer's style has NEVER been very complex; even his "greatest scores" (in my opinion, "The Burning Bush" from The Prince of Egypt is his greatest piece) are a variation on a similar technique for developing ideas to that utilized in the Batman films. Much of his style has remained the same because it happened to sync up with the needs of the modern blockbuster, and he has innovated in other areas (electronic manipulation, instrumentation) where he is free to experiment more while still retaining that core style. There is no question that his work has stagnated somewhat as he is able to delegate more and more responsibility to those below him.

In my opinion, Zimmer emulating his own style is no different from a composer like Giacchino emulating John Williams' style. I just listened to John Carter again and it's amazingly unoriginal. Somehow, no one seems to care with a score like that, where the themes are incredibly simple, barely developed, and devoid of innovation. It's simply a matter of people preferring that style to Zimmer's and declaring one to be superior.


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Re: Agreed!   Thursday, July 19, 2012 (2:08 p.m.) 

Thanks for your response! Actually it's pretty hard to have a level-headed discussion about filmmusic nowadays. It seems like it's divided into certain camps with crossovers being possible but not the most likely. Then there's also the problem with everyone's native language.

IMHO Zimmer is currently in a phase, like every artist has certain phases. He comes from point A, develops his style a little more, matures and then moves on. I am not sure if this is his end point or if it's just a phase. Even big composers like Goldsmith or Williams tend to have this, where the stuff they do doesn't develop as quickly as it had before.
In terms of how he constructs his themes I have to agree with you, but then accessibility is always one of the main forces in filmmusic. And in that regards he actually delivers. His themes - although simplistic - are there and are recognizable. Although it's tiring to see, that his tools remain pretty stagnant. Then again, he doesn't have to evolve that much, since there are people who praise his stuff above all else. So there's no need for being hasty, meaning there might be a change of his sound, but it will be a slow and evolving process. Would be pretty interesting to see actually.

> he has innovated in other areas (electronic
> manipulation, instrumentation) where he is free to experiment more while
> still retaining that core style. There is no question that his work has
> stagnated somewhat as he is able to delegate more and more responsibility
> to those below him.

I'm pretty much in agreement with you on that issue. Maybe his innovation doesn't lie so much in the field of orchestral writing, but enhancing his basic orchestral usage with interesting electronic manipulation and instrumentation. It's a bit of a shame that people bash him for his usage of an orchestra, while they don't bash other composers for their usage of electronics. His orchestral style may not be as refined, but the way he uses synths is actually pretty good and innovative (except for his tendency to alter the brass maybe )

> In my opinion, Zimmer emulating his own style is no different from a
> composer like Giacchino emulating John Williams' style. I just listened to
> John Carter again and it's amazingly unoriginal. Somehow, no one seems to
> care with a score like that, where the themes are incredibly simple,
> barely developed, and devoid of innovation. It's simply a matter of people
> preferring that style to Zimmer's and declaring one to be superior.

I have tried to listen to John Carter (haven't seen the movie yet, maybe one day) and I have similiar problems with it. It's one hell of a ride, but one that leaves me somewhat cold. I don't want to diminish Giacchino's work as I think he's a great composer and can write very interesting music, but somehow I have not been able to really get into his John Carter score. Maybe one day as well .
As I've said earlier, there is not one approach to film scoring that is right. As there is a multitude of films, there's a great range of music to go with it. If you want to put 60s pop music in your science fiction music, then please, maybe it will work, you never know.
With all this said with as much objectivity as I can right now, my personal opinion to Zimmers most recent soundtrack still remains somewhat the same. I can see that it works, but am dissappointed by what he said about it beforehand and how it turned out in the end.



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Re: Who is this reviewer? *NM*   Tuesday, July 17, 2012 (4:27 p.m.) 


(Message edited on Wednesday, July 18, 2012, at 12:55 p.m.)


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Re: Who is this reviewer?   Wednesday, July 18, 2012 (10:19 a.m.) 

> I'd dare you to say that to the face of Ennio Morricone, Thomas Newman,
> James Horner, Alexandre Desplat, Howard Shore, Elliot Goldenthal, Philippe
> Rombi, George Fenton, Patrick Doyle, Christopher Young, Wojciech Kilar,
> Brian Tyler, Marco Beltrami, Mark Isham, Dario Marianelli, Bruce
> Broughton, Mark McKenzie, Roque Banos, Joe Hisaishi, Mychael Danna, David
> Newman, or any one of the dozens and dozens of other film music
> specialists who learned composition, counterpoint and orchestration at
> some of the finest music schools in the world.

> You've got a real snobbery thing going on - coming on to a site like this
> with an attitude like "I only listen to modern music, but I think I
> know everything about film scores".

> Give it a rest.

You know what? When I first read your comment, I apologized right away out of courtesy.
But now that I re-read your comment, I wonder why are you so defensive?

My exact words were "I have to confess I am only an occasional film music listener." That means I have a lot to learn! Does the word confess not carry that connotation?

As for that other comment, I shall not concede as much this time. Of course, I would never say that to their faces, for the opportunity of meeting them is too much of an honor. But, with just my ears, I can tell that the scores of John Williams in general have more melodic lines, while listening to the music of those composers YOU mentioned, I have to say that their compositions are primarily homophonic in texture and their harmonic language is on the whole simpler than Williams' (although I know Goldenthal and Kilar are also concert composers).

And finally, this is a discussion, to share opinions. Why do you take all this personally? My comments are certainly not the most rude nor the most ignorant (okay, fine, call me a snob now). If you look at my comments, you will find the reason I posted at "a site like this" was to question the reviewer's logic in reviewing Zimmer's score, not to show-off my supposedly delusional knowledge on film music.

Do you know the film composers personally? I actually have a mutual friend with some of the names you mentioned. To Don Davis, the Matrix was a source of money, not his magnum opus, and most movie composers write on a three-line score or even a piano score, then hand them off to the orchestrators (NOT insulting them, they just have to do it in the interest of TIME).


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Flo
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Re: Who is this reviewer?   Tuesday, July 17, 2012 (3:48 p.m.) 

> Thank you for giving me your perspective on film scoring! It is very
> insightful.

> I have to confess that I am only an occasional film music listener. I
> usually listen to modern music so that tells you what music I'm used to.

I listen to a lot of modern music as well. I see filmmusic as a sort of extension and side-development of 20th-century music. But there's also a lot of cross-inspiration going on.

> I definitely do agree that what you described is a more intellectual
> approach to scoring films. I only went over the techniques of composition,
> not the context in the film.

You definately have to take the context of the film into account as well. Some movies don't need a complex type of score - which doesn't mean that the composer wouldn't be able to supply it. Hans Zimmer for instance has shown, that he can write good and interesting music. It just seems that lately he isn't really in the mood for it.
A lot of Goldsmith's themes for instance are relatively simple, but the way he uses them are interesting, intelligent and complex. Or Bernard Herrmann for example. He uses simple musical motivs which he develops and changes. Zimmer also uses themes, but the orchestration and application never really varies, as if he thinks that people won't be able to remember a theme if it is played differently.

> On the other hand, I do wish that more film composers would try to learn
> about music theory because too much film music is sounder more like
> popular music (i.e. songs). I guess that has a lot to do with the
> composer's background (i.e. Hans Zimmer), but still writing to match the
> emotions and action of the screen flexibility requires more skill.

As I said, a lot of crossover going on. Filmmusic doesn't necessarily have to be orchestral music. It has no real musical tradition (back in the 20s they would play whatever came to mind when a movie would play). In this regard a song can work as well as a piece of music tailored for the scene. It has to do with how you apply it. Sadly nowadays music is way too overused. Getting back to TORA TORA TORA, that movie, being 2 hours something in lenght only has a score of about 30 minutes. Even more sparse is how Tarkovsky handled the music in his pictures. STALKER for instance has only 10 to 15 minutes of music in a 3 hour long picture. And the composer who did this was classically trained and had a long background in composition for film and concert hall. And what he wrote was very simple and haunting.
On the other hand there are a lot of composers without classical training who are able to make great scores.

> John Williams uses counterpoint and advanced instrumental techniques.
> Jerry Goldsmith used them too. But most of the other film composers do
> not.

> Once again, thank you for your thoughtful response!

You're welcome! I always enjoy a good discussion about music! BTW, which contemporary composers do you enjoy?

cheers
Flo


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Hyun21K
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Re: Who is this reviewer?   Tuesday, July 17, 2012 (4:39 p.m.) 

> I listen to a lot of modern music as well. I see filmmusic as a sort of
> extension and side-development of 20th-century music. But there's also a
> lot of cross-inspiration going on.

> You definately have to take the context of the film into account as well.
> Some movies don't need a complex type of score - which doesn't mean that
> the composer wouldn't be able to supply it. Hans Zimmer for instance has
> shown, that he can write good and interesting music. It just seems that
> lately he isn't really in the mood for it.
> A lot of Goldsmith's themes for instance are relatively simple, but the
> way he uses them are interesting, intelligent and complex. Or Bernard
> Herrmann for example. He uses simple musical motivs which he develops and
> changes. Zimmer also uses themes, but the orchestration and application
> never really varies, as if he thinks that people won't be able to remember
> a theme if it is played differently.

> As I said, a lot of crossover going on. Filmmusic doesn't necessarily have
> to be orchestral music. It has no real musical tradition (back in the 20s
> they would play whatever came to mind when a movie would play). In this
> regard a song can work as well as a piece of music tailored for the scene.
> It has to do with how you apply it. Sadly nowadays music is way too
> overused. Getting back to TORA TORA TORA, that movie, being 2 hours
> something in lenght only has a score of about 30 minutes. Even more sparse
> is how Tarkovsky handled the music in his pictures. STALKER for instance
> has only 10 to 15 minutes of music in a 3 hour long picture. And the
> composer who did this was classically trained and had a long background in
> composition for film and concert hall. And what he wrote was very simple
> and haunting.
> On the other hand there are a lot of composers without classical training
> who are able to make great scores.

> You're welcome! I always enjoy a good discussion about music! BTW, which
> contemporary composers do you enjoy?

> cheers
> Flo

Thank you for sharing your knowledge on film music!
The composers interest me most are actually the composers that try to take their heritage into the compositions: Takemitsu, Bela Bartok, Vuaghan Williams, even Yoon Isang.


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Re: Who is this reviewer?   Tuesday, July 17, 2012 (7:05 p.m.) 

> Thank you for sharing your knowledge on film music!
> The composers interest me most are actually the composers that try to take
> their heritage into the compositions: Takemitsu, Bela Bartok, Vuaghan
> Williams, even Yoon Isang.

Takemitsu definately is very intersting. I have been a bit more into his filmmusic like RAN for Akira Kurosawa than his concert work. Usually I have not so much trouble with atonal works - I listen to Penderecki and Ligeti quiet a lot - but Takemitsu's is a bit too shrill for my taste.
I have only recently discovered Bartok and find him very interesting. In part I guess, because through a friend from Hungary I have caught a glimpse at hungarian folk music - which Bartok's output is based upon and also through listenint to a performance of his opera BLUEBEARDS CASTLE. Lovely piece of music.
About Vaughan Williams not much needs to be said. I love his music!
If you're into artists taking their cultural heritages into account, might I suggest Geirr Tveitt to you. He was a norwegian composer and toured Europe a lot in the 30s. His style shows a lot of influence by impressionism but also by his native home of norway. He wrote a number of suites based on norwegian folk music called A HUNDRED HARDANGER TUNES. The music is not as modern sounding as other things done in that time, but it has a very timeless quality.
The other person I'd recommend is Jón Leifs from iceland. He studied in Germany but developed a purely icelandic style of music derived also from folksongs. His music is very very different to anything I have ever heard. It's like a mix of something really old and then something modern, with huge blocks of chords - usually in parallel fifth - and some sudden and complex percussion accents. In terms of epicness and stubborness on relying on his harmonic system you could call him the Hans Zimmer of his time . Although the methodology behind it is vastly different. Definately worth checking out are his four nature tone poems (DETTIFOSS, HEKLA, HAFIS and GEYSIR) as well as his EDDA Oratorium. Might be of interest to you, but it's a very different kind of music, so I can understand anyone who is turned off by it.

cheers
Flo


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Re: Who is this reviewer?   Thursday, July 19, 2012 (6:30 p.m.) 

> You definately have to take the context of the film into account as well.

Then how do you judge a rejected film score?



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Re: Who is this reviewer?   Friday, July 20, 2012 (6:41 a.m.) 

> Then how do you judge a rejected film score?

Rejected scores are a hard topic. First, why does a score get rejected? Sometimes it doesn't fit the directors "vision" or it's plain not working at all or it gets dumped because someone thinks they need a hip type of score - something that they know sells CDs.
For instance Elmer Bernstein's rejected music to GANGS OF NEW YORK. It was a bit uneven in it's approach maybe, but would have worked very well. I have seen the movie only once and liked some of the music I was hearing in it, while some selections felt a bit too artificial.



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Re: Who is this reviewer?   Tuesday, July 17, 2012 (6:38 p.m.) 

> I've been reading this review and have noticed there are some strange
> declarations in it.
> 1) John Powell "bleeds creativity in relative obscurity"--then
> what about his Academy Nomination for How to Train Your Dragon, as well as
> his fairly busy career?
> 2) "Zimmer's mouth is his worst enemy for anyone interested in
> actually examining the merits of his structures and instrumentation."
> Well, sorry to be the intellectual party-pooper, but I don't listen to
> film scores for intellectual stimulation. If you want to actually work
> your brain, try analyzing Anton Webern's Symphonie, which uses
> docecophony, Pierre Boulez's Le marteau sans maître, or any other modern
> classical composers. These composers actually create musical forms in
> which their music has no image or dramatic backdrop to prop themselves
> upon. The fact is, while Bach composed fugues, while Beethoven broke
> Classical forms, while Chopin and Debussy loosened the meaning of
> tonality, and while Schoenberg did away with tonality altogether, Mr.
> Zimmer merely has to make a scene dramatic or sad.
> 3) "The "bull[bleep!] meter" is pegging on that
> explanation, with the dreaded phrase "creative differences" a
> more likely reason for Howard's wish to divest himself from the
> equation." What makes Mr. Clemmensen so sure that Mr. Howard has
> Clemmensen's exact opinion? Do they have a personal relationship? And
> also, I frankly don't care whether Mr. Howard scored or didn't score the
> movie anyways, as I do not like Mr. Howard's compositions.
> 4) "The composer needs to shut his yap, dump the ghostwriters, shift
> to F major, conjure a fluid theme, and drop a wicked oboe solo on
> us." Is the reviewer a composer too? Because he should know that F
> MAJOR HAS THE SAME KEY SIGNATURE AS D MINOR! And what's so important about
> themes? It may sound weird, but many great composers did not create themes
> in the proper sense. Beethoven's utterance in his 5th symphony is only 4
> notes long. Mr. Elfman's contribution to the Batman universe was 5 notes
> long. But, just because Elfman's theme is one note longer does not make it
> better than Beethoven's idea. The only requirement of music is that it
> must have an idea, whether 100 measures or just one note. And also, oboe
> solos are a painful cliche in scoring poignant scenes. Why not have a
> viola solo? Violas actually have a darker and more mysterious tone than
> violins.

Well, it seems that this post was certainly controversial. About have the people agreed with me and the other half very strongly disagreed with me.

Looking at the discussion board and the review, I've noticed there is a very strong anti-Zimmer bias. Now, I have no opinion on Zimmer, but I've noticed that all the pro-Zimmer comments were squelched by the majority. My comments were to see how far the pro-Zimmer side can go.

Although nearly everyone criticized me, I liked most of the criticisms as (I am guessing) a majority of the people have more balanced opinions than the few outliers who post outlandish things. Thank you for your criticisms, as this has been a most enjoyable discussion.

However, I know I've said some outlandish things of my own, probably in an effort to get more reactions. I have been called simultaneously a fanboy and a snob---is that even possible? Nevertheless, I want to clarify some things
1) Just because I don't like a composer DOES NOT mean he is a bad composer. I've just realized that I had off-handedly written off James Newton Howard as not one of my favorite composers. But, I still think James Newton Howard is a talented and very capable composer. His scores are well orchestrated and have a lyrical element. Please don't take my criticisms too personally (BTW I didn't take any of your criticisms personally either)
2) In this discussion I was actively trying to re-evaluate my opinions of the composers in question. But, I will behave much differently if I met the composers in person! If Hans Zimmer offered me composition lessons, I think that I will take the opportunity just to see what he knows (but I certainly wouldn't write in his style--I just want to see what he will teach)
3) I definitely stacked the cards against Mr. Clemmensen. Even after writing my militant review, I am still grateful that Mr. Clemmensen still writes reviews and even gives us free samples to listen too.

Thank you Everyone,

Hyun21K


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Thomas Allen
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Re: Who is this reviewer?   Wednesday, July 18, 2012 (9:25 a.m.) 

> Beethoven's utterance in his 5th symphony is only 4
> notes long. Mr. Elfman's contribution to the Batman universe was 5 notes
> long. But, just because Elfman's theme is one note longer does not make it
> better than Beethoven's idea.

Please don't compare Beethoven to Zimmer (or even Elfman for that matter). There will forever be only one Beethoven, and Zimmer and his group of ghost writers can't even fathom the shear brilliance of the man's work.


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Re: Who is this reviewer?   Wednesday, July 18, 2012 (10:23 a.m.) 

> Please don't compare Beethoven to Zimmer (or even Elfman for that matter).
> There will forever be only one Beethoven, and Zimmer and his group of
> ghost writers can't even fathom the shear brilliance of the man's work.

Yes, I know very well!
I know the analogy isn't very well balanced; I was just trying to make an arguement against Mr. Clemmensen's continous plea for long melodies.

Mr. Zimmer may be mass producing scores at the moment, but he is also a composer with his own style, and to assume that you know what to tell him to do is to give yourself a lot of credit (aimed at Mr. Clemmensen's review).


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Re: Who is this reviewer?   Wednesday, July 18, 2012 (8:03 p.m.) 

> Yes, I know very well!
> I know the analogy isn't very well balanced; I was just trying to make an
> arguement against Mr. Clemmensen's continous plea for long melodies.

> Mr. Zimmer may be mass producing scores at the moment, but he is also a
> composer with his own style, and to assume that you know what to tell him
> to do is to give yourself a lot of credit (aimed at Mr. Clemmensen's
> review).

Clemmensen's beef with Zimmer is that Zimmer (nowadays) is all talk and no game. It's not "revolutionary" or "different" music because we've heard before not only in the previous films, but also in several other blockbusters Zimmer scores. The man's "one-score-fits-all" technique is getting old and losing what little appeal it had. If Zimmer had only used this sound for the Batman scores and refrained from spreading this simplistic droning style to other films, we might not care so much. But as has been stated many times before, he's gotten the idea he's a celebrity and that he doesn't really have to try to be original anymore. I'm not happy that this is what it's come to, but it is what it is.


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Re: Who is this reviewer?   Wednesday, July 18, 2012 (2:23 p.m.) 

> Please don't compare Beethoven to Zimmer (or even Elfman for that matter).
> There will forever be only one Beethoven, and Zimmer and his group of
> ghost writers can't even fathom the shear brilliance of the man's work.

Maybe that's what people said a couple of centuries ago of Beethoven, when somebody put up his name in connection with Mozart. Only time will tell


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Touché *NM*   Wednesday, July 18, 2012 (7:58 p.m.) 



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Re: Who is this reviewer?   Wednesday, July 18, 2012 (8:39 p.m.) 
• Now Playing: Alien 3 (Elliot Goldenthal)  

> Maybe that's what people said a couple of centuries ago of Beethoven, when
> somebody put up his name in connection with Mozart. Only time will tell

I really doubt it - Since Beethoven was an instant celebrity (despite some mixed feelings about his later works), and Mozart was basically forgotten for around a century after his death.


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