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Comments about the soundtrack for A Beautiful Mind (James Horner)

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Re: Standing Ovation for A Beautiful Mind
• Posted by: Kevin Scott   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Saturday, April 13, 2002, at 1:05 p.m.
• IP Address:
• In Response to: Re: Standing Ovation for A Beautiful Mind (Dan Sartori)

> You're confusing me. The opening intervals of the score are a minor
> second, minor third,and perfect fourth in that order, and nowhere in the
> opening suite did I hear any of the arpeggiations predominate. There were
> bits and pieces of arpeggiations in the piano and low strings, but they
> were never in the foreground. The music also cuts right from very
> schizophrenic-sounding flute octave-jump-and-then-trills along with quick
> moving key changes to the tonally-based melody - a style of writing that
> is EXTREMELY appropriate for showing the unpredictability of Nash's mind.
> Plus the "arpeggiations set against a tonal background" which
> you dislike don't exist since the arpeggiations are only in the opening
> section and the tonal bacjground doesn't begin until immediately after
> that. And who said that just because the BEGINNING of the storyline is set
> in the 1940s that the whole movie should be written in that style!? That's
> ridiculous!

It seems that we have differing viewpoints on this score. I disliked what I felt was misleading the viewer into a vortex of something quite different than what the story conveys. I respected your viewpoint until your last comment regarding my credentials.

> Are you really a musician or are you just calling yourself one? Because I
> think the work is fantastically balanced (a most difficult task in a film
> like this)and really explores the inner psyche not only of Nash, but of
> each of us.

> Dan

I am a composer who has scored some minor independent films back in the late 70s, and one of them dealt with a very complex relationship between a pseudo-intellectual hippie gal and a quadripalegic man. That was not an easy film to score, but using folk and atonal elements was, in my opinion, the proper approach to justify their two lifestyles (sometimes I would use the atonal style for her, folk for him - mirror imaging, so to speak).

Moreover, I have been composing works for orchestra, voice and chamber groups for about 30 years, since my teens, and have been performed by several major orchestras in the United States. I have also been an avid devotee of film scores and composers, and have conducted first performances of several works of Bernard Herrmann.

Horner's music is indeed good, but for me it just did not fit this film. What I heard and felt in conjunction with the images of the screen did not bode well with me. In closing, I respect your views, and indeed your analysis. But not your last statement. Such a questioning will only come back to reflect those who deliver those goods - including me.

Kevin Scott
New York

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