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 Post subject: Favorite Composers
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2003 8:49 am 
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Now, because this is in the Concert and Jazz ensemble page, I don't want you to necessarily think of those composers. You see, I am kickin' back listening to a Danny Elfman CD right now, and was wondering what people thought of composers like John Williams, and Leonard Bernstein, and others such as that. So, if you like Williams, post, but if you prefer Bethoven, then post also.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2003 10:17 am 
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beethoven? er... yea well i like John Williams

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2003 2:51 pm 
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I like both. They are both diffrent types of music, though. Beethoven's is much older and more original. John Williams is more recent, and he copies stuff from people, although I think all composers do that somewhat.


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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Composers
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2003 9:13 pm 
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Personal wrote:
Now, because this is in the Concert and Jazz ensemble page, I don't want you to necessarily think of those composers. You see, I am kickin' back listening to a Danny Elfman CD right now, and was wondering what people thought of composers like John Williams, and Leonard Bernstein, and others such as that. So, if you like Williams, post, but if you prefer Bethoven, then post also.


Okay, films:

Danny Elfman has some good stuff out there. Unfortunately, his music tends to be very predictable and repetitive after 15 years or so. It's like Haydn Symphonies; you listen to 'em and you go "Yep, that's an Elfman score" and you turn the page to something. Batman? Psh. Nightbreed was a better dark and serious score. His light-hearted soundtrack to "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" is simply OUTSTANDING and remains his 2nd best work. His magnum opus is easily "The Nightmare Before Christmas."

John Williams is a hack. He has a handful of good scores (The Cowboys, Schindler's List, Jurassic Park, Hook), but the rest of his stuff sounds like rip-offs (Jaws, 1941) and retreads (Home Alone, Midway); not to mention his scores that are just plain crap (Earthquake, Always).

David Arnold showed a lot of promise: his first orchestral movie score is one of the best ever (Stargate, 1993). Unfortunately, his score for Independence Day seemed like it used all the ideas not good enough to make it into the Stargate soundtrack, and he hasn't impressed me with anything since.

James Horner has written a lot of good stuff (Willow, Aliens, Die Hard, Field of Dreams, Glory, Sneakers, Braveheart, Titantic), but possibly his best score is forgotten because it was the first big hit of Eddie Murphy: 48hrs.

Hans Zimmer only seems to do his best work on animated films (The Lion King, The Prince of Egypt). I was not at all impressed with his score to Gladiator.

Basil Poledouris is another interesting case. His music for "Conan the Barbarian" and "The Hunt for Red October" is simply phenomenal... but the remainder of his scores are rather pedestrian.

Rachel Portman, the first female composer to win an Oscar, has some really nice scores out there ("Sirens", "Emma" and "The Cider House Rules" stand out first and foremost).

I still have no idea how Bruce Broughton wrote the fantastic scores to both "Silverado" and "Tombstone" when the rest of his works are so cheap and throw-away.

Back in the olden days, of course, Bernard Herrmann's credentials are impeccable (am I the only one who hears the influence of Rachmaninoff in Herrmann's scores?) and he stands out the most, over other qualified composers like Maurice Jarre, Franz Waxman and Erich Wolfgang Korngold, just to name a few.

Currently, I'd say the best composer in Hollywood is Jerry Goldsmith. Has been since Bernard Herrmann died, in my opinion. He's written 10x the number of quality scores that John Williams has written, yet only has one Oscar to show for it (The Omen, 1976). I think this is because he doesn't have a working relationship with a blockbuster director. Williams has Spielburg, Horner has Cameron, Goldsmith... well, Goldsmith has written some fantastic scores for some real bombs. But even that doesn't fully explain it, because he's written some great scores for some big name Oscar winners, too, like "Patton" and "Chinatown." I just don't know how this guy has only won one Oscar: he's been nominated EIGHTEEN TIMES. Here's my short list of his great scores: The Planet of the Apes (original, 1968), Patton, Rio Lobo, Chinatown, The Wind and the Lion, The Omen, The Great Train Robbery, Alien (the original, note), Poltergeist, The Secret of NIMH, Hoosiers, Leviathan, Total Recall, Sleeping with the Enemy, Congo, Chain Reaction, Star Trek - First Contact, L.A. Confidential, Mulan, and The Mummy.

Whew. :-)

Composers, I'll keep it short. My favorites:
5. Phillip Glass
4. Ottorino Respighi
3. Piotr Tchaikovsky
2. Aram Khachaturian
1. Dmitri Shostakovich


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 Post subject: Jazz
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2003 10:58 am 
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Sammy Nestico- nice guy too


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 Post subject: Re: Jazz
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2003 11:16 am 
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LittleFerg wrote:
Sammy Nestico- nice guy too


I like most of his stuff too. I'm playing a couple of things by him and have played some others and I really like them.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2003 9:21 am 
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Danny Elfman has some good stuff out there. Unfortunately, his music tends to be very predictable and repetitive after 15 years or so. It's like Haydn Symphonies; you listen to 'em and you go "Yep, that's an Elfman score" and you turn the page to something. Batman? Psh. Nightbreed was a better dark and serious score. His light-hearted soundtrack to "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" is simply OUTSTANDING and remains his 2nd best work. His magnum opus is easily "The Nightmare Before Christmas."


I know what you mean Phantom. He has some good works, and his music is dark, but when it comes down to it, he does tend to sound the same. Now, I hope you do not take offense to this, but I believe Williams is great. Yeah, he has some real bad pieces, but who doesn't? Sure, some pieces sound the same, but in his prime, he wrote great music.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2003 7:15 pm 
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Personal wrote:
Quote:
Danny Elfman has some good stuff out there. Unfortunately, his music tends to be very predictable and repetitive after 15 years or so. It's like Haydn Symphonies; you listen to 'em and you go "Yep, that's an Elfman score" and you turn the page to something. Batman? Psh. Nightbreed was a better dark and serious score. His light-hearted soundtrack to "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" is simply OUTSTANDING and remains his 2nd best work. His magnum opus is easily "The Nightmare Before Christmas."


I know what you mean Phantom. He has some good works, and his music is dark, but when it comes down to it, he does tend to sound the same. Now, I hope you do not take offense to this, but I believe Williams is great. Yeah, he has some real bad pieces, but who doesn't? Sure, some pieces sound the same, but in his prime, he wrote great music.


Offense? Not at all, you're allowed your opinion. My opinion is that Williams is a hack. He's an average composer, not a great one, and has achieved his level of success only by riding the coattails of the likes of Steven Spielburg. His music is remembered ONLY because the movies are so memorable. Any other composer could've fared just as well in those circumstances.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2003 8:49 am 
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You do have a valid point. He has done the scores to some great movies. In fact, all of the names (for the most part) of his pieces are all based off of the movies. Well, I still think that he is a great composer, but nowhere near as great as the "old" composers, who wrote music for the people, not the movies. I am referring to those such as Bernstein, and Copland. (Two of my Personal favorites).

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 Post subject: Composers
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2003 5:10 pm 
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I'm sorry, in my opinion you can't match Korngold. None of these movie composers had the success in symphonic music that Korngold had....Richard Strauss personally thought Korngold was a "Wunderkind." I do like Herrman, and also Miklos Rosza (Ben Hur, etc) and Dimitri Tiomkin (Giant, LOTS of westerns i.e. High Noon).

As far as current composers...well, I know its popular to feel that Williams is a hack, but very few modern composers can write as memorable a tune as him...I mean, you aren't going to walk out of Spiderman whistling the music by Elfman. Now, that doesn't make him NOT a hack, but it does mean he has a gift for melody. And, quite honestly, I think you will find that Williams stands the test of time & popularity more than those other guys. Again, that doesn't necessarily make him a superior composer any more than VHS is better than Sony Betamax, but VHS won the battle...and in that sense of his scores being heard 20 years from now, I think Williams will hold up better than the other guys.

For symphonic composers, I'd go with Respighi, R. Strauss, Granville Bantock, Bruckner, and Debussy. If you don't don't know Bantock's work, I highly suggest you get a couple CD's of his stuff. It is a cross between Strauss and Ralph Vaughan Willaims. Good stuff. I also have to admit if I had one CD to be stuck with on a desert island it might be Mahler's 1st, but after the 1st he pretty much leaves me cold.

Band composers....have recently formed a great love for Eric Whitacre, although is output is, so far, limited. Alfred Reed has some great stuff, and some really formula stuff. I consider Clifton Williams towards the top of the heap of band composers, (two ABA composition winners-Fanfare & Allegro and Symphonic Suite, etc), but some people don't. I think Hugh Stuart writes well for young bands. Clare Grundman is outstanding for young groups. Most current guys (Swearingen, Hosay, Bulla, etc.) I just find abyssmal. I think Mark Camphouse and Stephen Mellilo are great. I have to say, despite the fact he is not well known Leonard Duarte writes some pretty great stuff (Horseman of the Apocolypse, etc). I have a great love for Grainger, particularly Colonial Song and The Power of Rome and the Christian Heart...and many others. I could never hear Shepherd's Hey again and not mind a bit.

Well, thats a bucket of opinions...and everyone knows that an opinion and a buck still won't buy you a cup of coffee!

JCYS


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 Post subject: Re: Composers
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2003 8:18 pm 
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jcys wrote:
For symphonic composers, I'd go with Respighi, R. Strauss, Granville Bantock, Bruckner, and Debussy. If you don't don't know Bantock's work, I highly suggest you get a couple CD's of his stuff. It is a cross between Strauss and Ralph Vaughan Willaims. Good stuff. I also have to admit if I had one CD to be stuck with on a desert island it might be Mahler's 1st, but after the 1st he pretty much leaves me cold.


Coincidentally, spurred on by my discovery and newfound admiration of Arnold Bax, I just bought my first Bantock CD: "Pagan Symphony" and "Fifine at the Fair." It's some good stuff. I can't say Bantock impressed me as much as Bax did, but it's very listenable music.

Bruckner's Symphony #0 is outstanding. Possibly one of the most under-appreciated pieces ever (under-appreciated by it's own composer, even).

I agree whole-heartedly on Mahler: his first Symphony is terrific (especially the Klaus Tennstedt/Chicago S.O. recording), but the rest of his works can't hold my interest.

Take everything Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote (except "Folk Song Suite"), bundle it up, and blast it off the face of the earth. He doesn't do it for me at all. I refer to Aaron Copland's epic (and possibly apocryphal) quote: "Listening to Vaughan Williams's Fifth Symphony is like staring at a cow for forty-five minutes."

jcys wrote:
Band composers....have recently formed a great love for Eric Whitacre, although is output is, so far, limited. Alfred Reed has some great stuff, and some really formula stuff. I consider Clifton Williams towards the top of the heap of band composers, (two ABA composition winners-Fanfare & Allegro and Symphonic Suite, etc), but some people don't. I think Hugh Stuart writes well for young bands. Clare Grundman is outstanding for young groups. Most current guys (Swearingen, Hosay, Bulla, etc.) I just find abyssmal. I think Mark Camphouse and Stephen Mellilo are great. I have to say, despite the fact he is not well known Leonard Duarte writes some pretty great stuff (Horseman of the Apocolypse, etc). I have a great love for Grainger, particularly Colonial Song and The Power of Rome and the Christian Heart...and many others. I could never hear Shepherd's Hey again and not mind a bit.


Clifton Williams is definitely on the short list of great American band composers. Alfred Reed, surprisingly, hasn't written anything I've really cared for except "Symphony for Brass & Percussion". I always enjoyed playing W. Francis McBeth's pieces, especially "Kaddish." I completely agree that Swearigen's works are just inexcusable.

I also like David Holsinger, although he falls under that same blanket with Haydn and Danny Elfman. I can identify a Holsinger piece simply by listening to five seconds of it because he does the same thing in every piece. That said, I think that "same thing" has worked quite well on numerous occasions, and I like several Holsinger pieces.

I've recently become quite impressed with David Maslanka's work. I think Frank Ticheli is overrated. Whitacre and Mellilo have written some great stuff. Jack Stamp is VERY hit and miss. When he hits, he hits big, and when he misses he's horrid. I like a lot of David Gillingham's works. I'm not impressed at all with Cindy McTee. I like everything I've heard by Vincent Persichetti and Joseph Schwantner. I'm still undecided on Paul Hart. Amazingly, I don't care much for Phillip Sparke. I like both of the "euros", De Meij and Van Der Roost. Norman Dello Joio has some good stuff. I think I've talked enough. ;-)


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2003 8:27 pm 
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Clifton Williams is definitely on the short list of great American band composers. Alfred Reed, surprisingly, hasn't written anything I've really cared for except "Symphony for Brass & Percussion". I always enjoyed playing W. Francis McBeth's pieces, especially "Kaddish." I completely agree that Swearigen's works are just inexcusable.


I disagree. I find Clifton Williams' music to be rather boring and uneventful. However, I love Alfred Reeds' pieces. I am also a big Elliot Del Borgio fan. "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night," and "Festa" I think are great pieces. I haven't really played enough Swearingen pieces to know, but I am not to fond of his music. Robert W. Smith has some good pieces out there, but they mostly repeat themselves, and you can almost hum every piece of his if you have only heard one. Reinke (I think that is it) is who I think is a great composer. I love "Into The Raging River."

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2003 4:52 am 
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Personal wrote:
I disagree. I find Clifton Williams' music to be rather boring and uneventful.


Really? Fascinating. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree then. I've played a ton of C.W.'s piece and loved them all. Fanfare & Allergo, while not an overwhelming challenge, is a delightful piece. The Sinfonians has some great parts for the euphonium, and of course I think just about everyone in band has played or heard Symphonic Dance #3 "Fiesta". Ironically, I think "Fiesta" is inferior to his Symphonic Dance #2 "The Maskers" which is just outstanding.


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 Post subject: More on composers
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2003 8:29 am 
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I will say I don't find Clifton Williams stuff to be great euphonium literature, but I like it anyway :)

We are playing a piece by Reineike as we speak, and I have to say it is the most formulaic "John Williams" rip off I've ever heard. If you like John Williams you'll like Reineike.

We had a joke in college about WF McBeth...that he was writing the "McBeth Symphony" and every piece he wrote was just another movement...they sounded that much alike. And at the time he was pumping out stuff like Masque, Divergents, Kaddish, Canto, etc. I had to agree. I think Sailors and Whales was somewhat of a departure, and I still consider it his best piece.

I used to love Claude T Smith, but now his stuff seems kind of dated.

I do like Dello Joio...everything from Scenes from the Louvre to Concertante.

RW Smith has written some good stuff, but alot of pretty mediocre stuff too. Again, a composer who has suffered from too much success and is repeating himself. He also, if I can offer a humble opinion, has trouble instrumentating his pieces clearly at times. (Take for instance "12 Seconds to the Moon" which I consider a wonderful piece, but it sounds like a mess in many places because it is too thickly..and perhaps wrongly..instrumentated...thats just my opinion...but I've heard it played by several bands, HS, Honor, and College, and it always sounds mediocre.

I first played Del Borgo in HS (1974!), I considered him a hack then, and still do. I know many swear by him, but I'd prefer to swear at him! Just kidding..
seriously though, I'd put "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" on my list of the worlds 12 most overated band pieces.

Phantom, try getting Bantocks Celtic Symphony, I think you'll like it better than what you have.

Amen on Philipe Sparke. I keep buying more CD's of his stuff to hear what everyone else tells me is a great composer, but I haven't found him yet!

I will say that after working on Van Der Roost's Balkanya for 2 months, I get more and more tired of it...and so does the band. My ultimate vote for Jan Van Der Roost is...nope. And he suffered from some "instrumentating" problems too.


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