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  Re: Laying the Zimmer-basher smackdown just like old times?  
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• Posted by Josh
• Date: Saturday, July 22, 2006, at 6:42 p.m.
• IP Address:
• In Response to: Laying the Zimmer-basher smackdown just like old times? (Nate U)

> Zimmer is an untraditional film composer, both in the technical aspects of
> his music and his conceptual approaches to scoring motion pictures. (Even
> ones that have the genre-expectations like a Pirate movie)

> I have a hard time disliking someone who is untraditional just for being
> untraditional. But you're right southall Zimmer can be a caricature of
> himself sometimes if he doesn't have a unique concept to work from. But it
> makes you wonder how the film music fans were reacting to someone like
> Bernard Herrmann's scores back in the day...doesn't the fact that Zimmer
> is controversial mean there is real substance to his contribution to film
> music? Or that he effects listeners in a certain way, be it positive or
> negative? I mean, Rite of Spring was booed off the stage, wasn't it?

I really hope you're not comparing Zimmer and his power anthems with a film scoring artist like Hermann, much less Stavinsky, whose works will still be performed and marvelled at when an algorithm has been invented to construct Zimmer-esque action scores automatically.

Anyway, you touch on the problem - neither of the Pirates scores (okay, I haven't actually heard the second one, but I doubt it's very different by any indication...) amounts to much in the way of an original concept. Stock progressions and themes along with the standard (and increasingly dated-sounding) electronics do not make for particularly interesting music.

But to take the "controversial -> real substance" argument at face value, we'd then conclude that John Cage's music (well, pieces) has substance, would we not? Substance in this case would seem to imply a sort of artistry or unique expression. At this point, the standard Zimmer score has little of either. When it comes to considering the substance of creative works, do you think people will still be listening to Zimmer action scores in 25 years? Fifty years? Of course, the same could be asked of *any* film music, but where the music of Williams and, yes, even Horner, has long since entered the public consciousness (and the concert hall, at least for pops concerts), I see Zimmer's more standard fare as merely ephemeral.

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