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Comments about the soundtrack for Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (Zimmer/Adams)

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Electronic cellos?
• Posted by: Art   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Saturday, September 6, 2003, at 8:02 a.m.
• IP Address:

I love synths and I love the sound of great big traditional orchestra as well. But that's not the case with many other film music fans. There are a lot of music nazis and fanatics who possess some kind of perverted admiration towards symphonic orchestra. They have decided which instruments and ensembles are "correct" and which are "incorrect" in very much same fashion as groups like Taleban came up with their fundamental rules and regulations. These narrow minded conservative synth haters have come up with this idea that synth is somehow lesser instrument than for example a clarinet. That's of course a matter of opinion but there is also a lot of ignorance behind that opinion. It's true that it takes less studying to make a piece of music with synth and sequencer than to compose music for orchestra with mere pen and paper. But to use synths in creative, beutiful and meaningful way in a orchestration is at least as difficult as orchestrating for purely acoustic instruments.

There seems to be a war amongst film music nerds. Another side is conservatives who think that all film music should sound like it used to sound in the past. And the other group thinks that film music is allowed to evolve. It's very interesting to see that in the world of film music fans innovative composers are not really respected that much. And now that I think of it I realize that it's not the film music that they really love. They should give their sites new names. Something like "Review site for the fans of huge orchestral bombastic and yet lighter and more entertaining than real classical music compositions and with absolutely no evil synths at all".

Some of these critics has revealed their unprofessionalism and weak knowledge of music, recording techniques and instruments by hearing synths where there are none. For example Mr. Clemmensen hears "Zimmer's broad electronic cellos" on the track 13 on Spirit:Stallion Of Cimarron soundtrack cd.
I could imagine Air Studio's Chief Engineer Geoff Foster getting a bit annoyed reading that review...not to mention the top London cellists with their precious 18th and 19th century instruments!
How can anyone take seriously anything that critic of this quality writes? Ok the latest orchestral sample libraries sound pretty convincing and almost anyone could be fooled in some circumstances. But guy who writes public reviews and makes very strong point against Hans Zimmer and his use of synths should know better! There are synths on the "Spirit" score but all the instrumentals on the cd feature also a large symphonic orchestra recorded by the top engineers in one the best orchestral recording venues in the world. And the same thing goes with the Gladiator score. Mr. Clemmensen hears "hars electronic edges" in the "Battle" cue. Has he ever heard a real orchestra? Those "hars" sounds come from instruments that we call Brass. Trumpets, Trombones, Bass Trombones and French Horns can sound quite hars when played together with furious volumes.
More of this "instrument racism" can be found in Mr. Aaron Kernaghan's Gladiator review. He writes: "solo acoustic guitar is fascinating, primarily for the unexpected sound of a guitar in ancient Rome." His review is much more professional than Mr.Clemmensen's but why is guitar unexpected in ancient Rome?
Guitar and it's type of plucked string instruments are much older than in the late 18th century born symphony orchestra! It seems that this reviewer based his expectations of ancient Roman music on old epic movies. Here's again battle of tradition versus power of invention. Many people hate Gladiator score because it is not similar to Miklos Rozsa's Ben Hur! Zimmer has got a right to use synths in Rome epic as Rozsa has got right to use 19th century orchestra.
And by the way Gladiator's main character is Spanish so there's intellectual motivation for the spanish guitar on the score...

P.S. Forget these Zimmer vs. Williams sort of competitions and enjoy the wonderful music that these Hollywood A-list composers make for us. They're all immensely talented!

Comments in this Thread:     Expand >>
  •   Electronic cellos?  (1894 views)    We're Here
       Art - Saturday, September 6, 2003, at 8:02 a.m.
    •    thanks  (1482 views)
         Sany - Saturday, September 17, 2005, at 3:21 a.m.

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