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OT: Why I Love Soundtracks

Discussion in 'Disney at the Movies' started by Randy Thornton, Apr 25, 2002.

  1. Randy Thornton

    Randy Thornton Member

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    Though I had always been quick to like a catchy tune — the music from Mary Poppins and of Scott Joplin to name a few, my ears were peeled back in 1977 when a friend of mine brought me a new soundtrack that I just "had to hear". It was STAR WARS. I was completely overwhelmed. I hadn't even seen the movie at this point, but the music was beyond anything I had ever heard. At 17, I was so inspired by the music of John Williams (SFX: chorus of angles sing) that I really delved into being a musician. Though I was just dabbling in music before, I found myself completely absorbed. Not just in music, but the art of film scoring. I wanted to be a film score composer. Though I've scored a few student films in my day, it turned out that — to borrow a quote — my destiny lay upon a different path. It can probably be said that John Williams (SFX: chorus of angels sing) is directly responsible for me being where I am right now doing what I do.

    The reason I mention all this drivel, is that Mr. Williams (SFX: chorus of angels sing) has done it to me again. The score to "Attack of the Clones" is beyond description. If you enjoy film scores, you must buy this album!! The love theme is stirring and sad, reflecting the doomed and complicated romance of Anakin and Padme. In several interviews for Episode One, Mr. Williams said that Anakin's Theme, though childlike in its innocence, has an subtle underlying darkness. He also goes on to say that he used the exact same chord structure and progression for Anakin's Theme as he did The Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme). So too has he done this with The Love Theme — same chord structure and progression. This is very evident in the last 1:30 of the finale of Attack of the Clones. You hear how all three of these themes are variations on the one — pure brilliance!!!!!

    I cannot recommend this soundtrack album enough. If you love a great score, this is the album for you. Though I have a problem with Sony Classical's marketing strategy (four different covers, Wal-Mart Screensaver, and Target's bonus track), seeing what I do and where I do it, I guess I can't really throw stones from my glass house. But even we are this bad. Anyway, avoid the marketing mess and get this album. Pick the cover you want, but if you want and additional track, buy it at Target. Make sure it has the sticker saying Target Exclusive Bonus Track. That is the only way to identify the CD with the extra track.

    The bonus track is Droid Foundry. Unmarked on the CD packaging, the bonus track was added after the finale. Well, ya can't have a cue after a Star Wars Finale, so here is the track order I recommend you program into your players to put it as well as The Love Theme (concert piece not in the film) in relatively chronological order.

    1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 2, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 12, 13

    Treat yourself to this score. You won't be disappointed!!

    Randy Thornton
     
  2. Michael Zielski

    Michael Zielski Member

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    Thank you, Randy! As I mentioned to you in an earlier letter, my 12 year old son is responsible for my current interest in motion picture soundtracks, just as John Williams was your inspiration. He has an absolutely uncanny ability for identifying various movie score "themes"--I wonder if it's his "calling." We're having a wonderful time with our new CD-recorder--my son's creating CD's of various movie score "themes" which he relates to characters and settings in the British author Brian Jacques' "Redwall" series of books. He just "mapped" out another CD tonight! Of course he considers John Williams a master, along with Danny Elfman, John Debney, to name a few other contemporaries--we've also identified Bernard Herrmann, Max Steiner, and Franz Waxman as other essential movie score composers. We listened to "Attack of the Clones" yesterday--my son loved it, but it looks like we need the "Target" version. I don't know, but in my mind, I don't know if anything will ever rival the emotional tension John created with "Duel of the Fates" from Episode I--listening to it still simply gives me shivers! Anyway, thank you again, Randy, for the "bold" non-Disney post! Afterall, what we are all interesed in is music--GREAT music! Michael Zielski.
     
  3. Shane

    Shane Member

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    Hi Randy!

    Thanks for the tip regarding the Target bonus track; I was ready to go purchase it at Costco this weekend, but I'll be sure to get it at Target now instead. I can't wait to listen to the latest Williams score, as I am a huge fan also. The only notes I have yet to hear from the new score is what is used in the new tv trailer.

    That's great to hear the wonderful influence Mr. Williams had on your life. I can't wait to see and hear him perform at the Bowl this summer (I'm sure he'll do "Across the Stars"). Joplin is also one of my all-time favorites (when I used to play piano he and Chopin were tops in my repertoire).

    Thanks again Randy for all your hard work and effort at WDR. I can't express how much I appreciate all of the soundtrack restorations and excellent theme park releases that you have either directly or indirectly helped bring to fruition. This is a golden age for Disney releases evidenced by the abundance of available music right now. Kudos and keep 'em comin'!

    By the way, one word of caution to all you film score/John Williams aficionados out there: If you're not familiar with plot details of Attack of the Clones and wish to remain surprised on opening day, you might want to just listen to the cd and not read the track titles and/or liner notes. I was so excited to listen to The Phantom Menace score when it was released several weeks before the film that I didn't think about the possibility of track titles giving away elements of the story. Of course, one of the tracks is titled "Death of Qui-Gonn" and this is how I found out about his demise. I would have preferred to have been surprised when he was lanced by Darth Maul, but it was still fascinating to watch how it unfolded anyway.
     
  4. Jessica L

    Jessica L Member

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    Randy - I love John Williams' music as well. Have you heard his score to Harry Potter? The movie wasn't as great as I'd hoped - but the score is FANTASTIC! I highly recommend it if you love his music as much as you do. Haven't heard the SW music yet, but I'm sure I won't be disappointed.

    Jessica
     
  5. Musicman13

    Musicman13 New Member

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    Randy, I couldn't agree with you more about Williams. A few years back I had the distinct honor of meeting John Williams when he was down here in Florida guest conducting his music with the Florida Philharmonic. I was able to sit in on a rehearsal, and listen to him conduct his wonderful music from E.T., Close Encounters, and Schindler's List. When he began to conduct the music from Star Wars, wow, it was pure heaven. I couldn't believe I was so lucky to be hearing this great music, live, with him conducting it; it was like I had died and gone to heaven. It was like a private concert; I was the only one listening in on the rehearsal. I felt so lucky and blessed; it almost brought me to tears! After the rehearsal was finished, I was lucky enough to meet the great composer and introduce myself (barely, since I was shaking in such fear and reverence). For such a great musician, he was also amazing in his humbleness as a human. He was very kind as he took the time to not only meet me, but sign a cd and take a picture with me. I'm so glad to have been there that day as it will always stand out in mind as one of the best of my life. I thank Mr. Williams not only for that day, but for the great music he has written that has enriched not only my life, but surely many others around the world.

    P.S. Randy, just a short question, do you know who wrote the score for the WDW Timekeeper? I believe Bruce Broughton wrote the Paris version, but the WDW one is different. I love the music, but can't find ANYONE who knows who wrote the score. I've asked WDW employees, called WDW Records in California; no such luck. If you have any idea, please help!:)
     
  6. Steve LeVine

    Steve LeVine Member

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    Thanks for the heads up on the bonus track at Target. I cant believe anybody will buy all 4 different cd covers but I bought the Yoda :)
     
  7. SharonKurland

    SharonKurland Active Member

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    I saw the CD at Border's the other day...noticed the "Buy All Four Covers" scheme. Guess they took the hint from TV Guide???......

    -Sharon-
     
  8. timothyhu

    timothyhu New Member

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    Thanks Randy. I stopped by Target today and picked it up... I won't be buying all 4(!) covers, though.

    What a great track!

    Not to mention the other 13...

    Thanks again
    Timothy
     
  9. gaysnappercarr

    gaysnappercarr Member

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    How cool is it to be 'talking' to a name I see on all of my Disney Soundtracks?!?!?!?!

    Since we're talking about scores, can you guys and gals give me a list of great Disney scores?
    I love the 'regular' Disney songs [you know what I mean] but want to exercize myself a bit and listen to great scores.

    I like the score to The Lion King, and am amazed by the Main Title of 'The Rescuers Down Under'. I love the Exit Music to 'Fantasmic', well, the whole Fantasmic CD actually! LOL!

    Now I'm interested to see what you guys dig.
     
  10. Shane

    Shane Member

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    Here are some of my favorites in chronological order:

    1. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Paul J. Smith)

    2. Mary Poppins (Richard M. Sherman / Robert B. Sherman)

    3. Dick Tracy (Danny Elfman) - OKAY technically Touchstone

    4. The Rocketeer (James Horner)

    5. The Lion King (Hans Zimmer)

    6. The Nightmare Before Christmas (Danny Elfman) - oops, another Touchstone - oh yeah, heaven forbid they actually use his recordings on anything including "Disney" in its moniker :(

    7. Mulan (Jerry Goldsmith)
     
  11. Michael Zielski

    Michael Zielski Member

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    Has anyone else noticed that "Love Theme from Attack of the Clones" is actually somewhat of a variation of John's wonderful Peter Pan theme from "Hook"? Michael.
     
  12. Shane

    Shane Member

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    Yes it is reminscient of that theme. I can't recall him composing such a sweet sounding string and brass arrangement for a love theme since Temple of Doom or Marion's Theme from Raiders for that matter. Well, I shouldn't say that since I haven't seen every film / listened to every score he's recorded since then. Except for the into which brings back memories of Schindler's List, this track sounds alot more like his work from the late 70's to mid 80's though.

    Several of the suspense passages in various tracks remind me of those from Raiders and a bit like some from Jurassic Park. Some of the percussion action passages of one of the tracks are similar to The Lost World.

    I can't wait for the multi-disc release to come out; or better yet the movie! See all of you SoCal folks at the Village on 5/16 & the Chinese on 5/17!

    WOW, this thread has gotten way off topic...sorry Trent. ;)
     
  13. David S.

    David S. Member

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    Well, there are lots not available yet on CD, but quite a few of my favorites are. Including almost every complete soundtrack to every animated film released during Walt's lifetime (except for Sword In the Stone and the 40's "package" films).

    Strictly speaking from an instrumental score (non-song) perspective, (since that is your question) my favorites of these tend to be those composed by the great Oliver Wallace.

    Five of his scores are available on CD: DUMBO (which is pure fun with some moments of incredible beauty, including one of the most sublime from any score IMO - the transition into "Baby Mine" and the song itself!) CINDERELLA (with Paul J. Smith), ALICE IN WONDERLAND, PETER PAN, and LADY AND THE TRAMP. These are all very accessible and brilliant IMO! All very repeatable and seem to include just the right balance of whimsicality, sublimity, and other appropriate moods. Wallace also has the gift of coming up with good, memorable recurring motifs and then not overusing them!

    But the other Disney scores from the Walt era are brilliant, too!

    Ed Plumb's BAMBI might just be the best from a pure artistic viewpoint. So many emotions in this score, from the pure innocence and joy of the earlier, idyllic, pastoral sequences to the dread and total, overwhelming sadness that would follow. It's such an involving emotional roller-coaster for me that I probably don't listen to it straight through quite as much as some of the others, but it is a brilliant work!

    The PINOCCHIO score (predominantly by Leigh Harline) is also brilliant. I am particularly partial to the first, more whimsical half, which includes "Little Woodenhead", "Clock Sequence", and "Old Gepetto", but the entire score is great!

    George Bruns' adaption of Tchaikovsky's SLEEPING BEAUTY ballet for that film is also excellent (with that calibre of source material, how could it not be!) as is his work on THE JUNGLE BOOK, which perfectly captures the mood, and 101 DALMATIANS.

    And who can forget SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, a tuneful masterpiece predominantly by the late, great Frank Churchill!

    All of these scores are presented on CD in perfect chronological order, with the songs blended into the score at the appropriate places. IMO, this greatly enhances the score and allows the songs to make their best emotional impact by giving them context.

    If anyone doesn't have all of these CDs, I highly recommend them! All but 101 DALMATIANS are now back in print, and at a "mid-line" price!

    David
     
  14. Shane

    Shane Member

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    Way to bring us back on topic David!

    Wow, you mentioned some really great ones that I overlooked; I guess I didn't go back far enough; must've got distracted by something halfway through.

    I would definitely add Sleeping Beauty and Alice in Wonderland to my list, not to mention Fantasia, even though the works comprising the soundtrack were not composed for Disney.

    That would then make an even top 10 for me!
     
  15. Michael Zielski

    Michael Zielski Member

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    Although I'm partial to "Walt's Time," on my top ten list of Disney animated scores would have to be, and very close to the top, Jerry Goldsmith's magnificent score for Mulan--what would the avalanche scene be without the flowing, musical tension he created! I can listen to it again and again! Michael.
     
  16. Dirk

    Dirk Member

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    Star Wars II - different Bonus Tracks ?!?

    Hi there,

    I must say: after the rave review by Randy I bought the new Star War II CD and it was a pleasant surprise. After I never really got into the highlights CD for teh soundtrack of Star Wars I and only the 2-CD-release really was able to transport the score for me I was pleasently surprised that this CD manages to carry the style and some great pieces of score without the obvious gaps and missing conenction pieces of the 1-CD-release of SW I.

    Still I think Sony is once more trying to get every penny out of score fans. Not only did they copy the buy all four covers scheme from Lord of the Rings (at least here in Germany the LotR had it) but they also released the score on only one CD again. I wonder how long it will take till the 2 CD set ebcomes available?? If it weren't for randys rave reviews (which I absolutely agree with) I wouldn't have bought the CD and have waited for the 2-CD-set that I see looming on the horizon.

    For me the score of SW II is a huge improvement over John Williams work for SW I which at least partially was missing the flow and the interaction of the themes that has reemerged here. John William is still the man for bombastic scores - too bad he has no hand for songs (everybody who listened to his one try as a musical composer will know).

    But back to the original cause to post this: may it be that there are different bonus tracks available??

    Randy spoke of a bonus track called "Droid Foundry" but my CD (bought in Germany) has a track called "On teh Conveyer Belt" running 3:07 as 14th track (=bonus track). As with the bonus track in the US it is not listed on the cover or the booklet but only on a sticker on the jewel case (interestingly the total running time as printed in the booklet does include the 14th track). So does anybody know wether this is a different bonus track to the one released in the US??


    Yours
    Dirk


    P.S.: if there was one disapointement with this CD it were the liner notes - they are missing, just a short note by George Lucas. Argh, I wonder wether they did this to give us all another cause to buy a 2-CD-set later.
     
  17. David S.

    David S. Member

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    Shane,

    Thanks for mentioning FANTASIA! I love this score and forgot to mention it probably for the reason you mentioned (not composed for Disney).

    I especially love the finale. The first time I listened to the sublime "Ave Maria" by Schubert (in the dark with headphones) I was completely moved to tears, especially the way it emerges out of a segue with the menacing "Night On Bald Mountain".

    Truly a masterpiece!

    Although, as a Tchaikovsky fan, I'm still not quite used to the rather rushed and significantly abbreviated version of "Waltz of the Flowers" ;)

    David
     
  18. Shane

    Shane Member

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    Dirk, I believe it is the same track, since the track times are identical and the trailers all show a conveyor belt in the droid factory.

    David, has the new release of the Fantasia soundtrack been further remastered or is it the same recording from the 50th anniversary release? I think Randy mentioned this one time but I can't remember & the post was on the old board.
     
  19. rob kilbride

    rob kilbride New Member

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    Hi Randy, good to see you posting again! I replied to a post of yours several month's ago, concurring that Williams is one of the greatest composers of all time. I'm also a huge Scott Joplin fan as you are. Since these are two incredible tunesmiths I fIgured you (and everyone else) might appreciate being turned on to some great tunesmiths who are not very well by name but have composed lots of familiar music. My sister recognized no less than ten stock themes from the Little Rascal/Laurel and Hardy films, when I played them for her, all composed by Leroy Shield . A wonderful Dutch ensemble called the Beau Hunks has recorded several cd's of Shield's music. Unfortunately the best L&H music cd is only available at their website bastamusic.com. I highly recommend the 2 cd boxed set that also includes music by other composers most notably Marvin Hatley who composed the main Laurel and Hardy theme Ku-ku. And Carl Stalling fans will love the music of Raymond Scott, from whom the 2 themes of Powerhouse, the piece The Toy Trumpet, etc will be very familiar. There is a cd of original Raymond Scott Quintet recordings on Sony featuring Johnny Williams on drums who happens to be John Willliams dad! However if you want a modern recording, the Beau Hunks have done two cd's of his quintet pieces and along with the Metropole Orchestra a cd of arrangements made by Paul Whiteman's arrangers called The Chesterfield Arrangements which is superb. The quintet cd's are excellent too. Another great tunesmith with lots of familiar music who is not extremely well known by name is Vince Guaraldi who composed the music for the Peanuts TV specials. There are his orginal albums as well as tributes by Wynton Marsalis, George Winston, Cyrus Chestnut, and David Benoit. Now here's a real unfamiliar name who composed great stock music: Sam Spence who composed music for NFL Films. Most football fans will know and love his music which ranges from classical-esque to jazzy in a Mancini-like manner.
    As you can see I'm a big fan of the Dutch Basta label and ragtime fans wanting to here music other than that of Joplin will be interested in their recordings of music by the other two greatest ragtime composers, James Scott and Joseph Lamb performed by Guido Nielsen.
    You guys have mentioned most of the best Disney animated scores so I would like to mention my favorite non-Disney animated scores (and films for that matter) Secret of Nimh by Jerry Goldsmith, Lord of the Rings by Leonard Rosenman, and Watership Down, by Malcolm Williamson and Angela Morley are all excellent. The Prologue to Watership Down is almost if not AS good as Peter and the Wolf in terms of a narrated story with orchestra. It's shorter obviously but more compelling than any other narrated story for orchestra besides PATW that I have yet heard.
    I hope maybe some of you will give some of this underappreciated music a try.
     
  20. David S.

    David S. Member

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    Shane,

    I, too miss the archive of old posts and album index for the same type of reasons. There are always little questions that I think of and I know the answers are floating around somewhere in those missing files.

    Anyway, to the best of my recollection from the last time the subject came up, both versions of the FANTASIA soundtrack featuring the original 194O recordings are exactly identical. I guess since the first version says "digitally remastered" this refers to the fact that it was remastered for its first CD release and the new packaging is refering to this remastering and doesn't mean it was further remastered from the first CD release.

    David
     

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