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Topic: When composers get the romantic moments right

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  1. #1

    When composers get the romantic moments right

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    I've been watching some pretty mediocre movies on cable recently, and it hit me how a lot of composers, when required to score romantic on-screen moments, totally hit the sap reserve. Ugh! The end result is this generic "canned" feeling, and it evokes no emotional response from the audience whatsoever (at least from me it doesn't). You know you're supposed to have a fuzzy warm feeling, but instead you feel like puking.

    So, can anyone think of composers that got it right? Here's one to start: Meet Joe Black (Thomas Newman), specifically the track "Whisper of a Thrill." MAN. It's the track they play during Pitt's & Forlani's love scene, and they play a variation of it at the end. That is some really excellent music. Newman must've been in just the right mood when he wrote it, you can tell it's not just formulaic notes on paper, it's got soul in it.

    Got any favorites? You know you do.
    Sam Hulick
    Composer
    http://www.samhulick.com/

  2. #2
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    Re: When composers get the romantic moments right

    Quote Originally Posted by MDesigner
    That is some really excellent music. Newman must've been in just the right mood when he wrote it, you can tell it's not just formulaic notes on paper, it's got soul in it.

    Got any favorites? You know you do.
    Of Thomas Newman's?

    The scene leading up to and under the tree in Shawshank, wherby Morgan Freeman finds the buried tin. Shame Meet Joe Black was such a God awful film, because there is some great music in there as you say.

  3. #3

    Re: When composers get the romantic moments right

    Vangelis' love theme (the saxophone playing the melody) from Blade Runner is IMHO a good example of a spot on ..

  4. #4

    Re: When composers get the romantic moments right

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulR
    Of Thomas Newman's?
    No..any composer

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulR
    The scene leading up to and under the tree in Shawshank, wherby Morgan Freeman finds the buried tin. Shame Meet Joe Black was such a God awful film, because there is some great music in there as you say.
    Really? I didn't think it was too bad. It wasn't great, but I enjoyed it. Maybe I was just too entranced by Claire Forlani.
    Sam Hulick
    Composer
    http://www.samhulick.com/

  5. #5
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    Re: When composers get the romantic moments right

    Quote Originally Posted by MDesigner
    No..any composer



    Really? I didn't think it was too bad. It wasn't great, but I enjoyed it. Maybe I was just too entranced by Claire Forlani.
    Well, that's the main thing. I have just written about my favourite score on the VSL forum. Sorry, I can't do it again. Psycho!

    Bernard Herrmann is the greatest score writer of all time in my view. No one gets near that kind of genius. Not generally thought of as romantic, although The Ghost and Mrs Muir may be something you know, or may wish to check out for future reference.

    I like Thomas Newman's scores in general, although they can be samey at times. But most of Shawshank is pretty romantic style scoring if you think about it. And also some of Desperately Seeking Susan has that etherial romantic style feel in places. Very good writer. As was his old man, Alfred Newman.

    Some very good romantic style scoring from Ennio Moriconne in a film called The Mission - although not necessarily what would be thought of as a romantic film as such.

    John Barry knows a thing or two about romantic style scoring. Dances With Wolves and Out of Africa come to mind. Gabriel Yared and his score to The English Patient is another. Very nice writing in that one -but the film!!! I'll leave that to personal taste. Hahaaa!

    Maybe you could watch the original Meet Jo Black and see what the score is like in that. I forget the name of the original -it may be the same, I don't know off hand.

    Is it still flooding in Texas?

  6. #6

    Re: When composers get the romantic moments right

    I would like to point out that a lot of times, composers get the blame for music that doesn't quite work or has a heavy cheese flavor.

    In my experience, a narrow-minded director plays a big role in what music a composer is allowed to write, if the guy nixes the "good stuff" in favor of the cheesy cues, then this is the director's fault and not the composer.

    I have worked with many directors who in my opinion have made questionable choices with the music which in many ways have hurt the film and not helped. My ego is not beyond the idea of admitting that some directors who have sent me in a different direction than I was originally going to have actually improved the score, but some have definitely hurt it to the point of me actually not wanting to be closely associated with the final product.

    I am sure this happens in big studio films a lot more, there are so many cooks in the kitchen and there is a breaking point when the composer simply has no strength to fight the cheese!
    >>Kays
    http://www.musicbykays.com
    Music Composition for Feature Films, Television and Interactive Entertainment

  7. #7
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    Re: When composers get the romantic moments right

    Has something happened just recently that's bothering you? Someone got on your nerves in a directorial way perhaps.

    This is the sort of conversation that could go on and on about the choices of directors alone. Sometimes they can get very fond of their chosen temp tracks. Temp tracks should be banned by law! That way, we may get back to original writing. Otherwise, the same kind of stuff just keeps on coming and coming. It's almost more of a fashion appendage, rather than a seperate art most of the time these days.

    Take a film like Master and Commander for instance. Pretty good ripping yarn type of deal. What the fk is Ralph Vaughn Williams doing the middle of that though? There's a question for someone who likes to sit in the chair at home listening to his favourite records and suddenly thinks he's a musician.

    Oh yeah -big studio deals and too many experts. Look at Troy and the debacle there with Gabriel Yared.

    I'm a huge admirer of Moriconnes work. He buggered off back to Italy when they refused to pay him more than the normal rates years ago. He argued that he felt it was crazy that he was getting the same as a philistine that could barely string three chords together -so fk them basically. And of course -he was right!

    Anyway, back to Match of the Day.

  8. #8

    Re: When composers get the romantic moments right

    Someone get on my nerves? No, not at all, why? I was just listening to one of the tracks from Meet Joe Black and was blown away by it, that's all.
    Sam Hulick
    Composer
    http://www.samhulick.com/

  9. #9

    Re: When composers get the romantic moments right

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulR
    Temp tracks should be banned by law!
    AMEN Brutha!!

  10. #10

    Re: When composers get the romantic moments right

    I've been watching a UK series called "The Office" on DVD this past week. Its a bit of a comedy classic over here. There's no music and its shot documentary style and there's a very subtle but beautifully carved romantic relationship between two of the characters - Tim and Dawn. There are so many touching moments between them and they clearly love eachother deeply, but it never happens. Its almost painfully heartbreaking and there's barely a note of music to be heard (except at a disco when a cheezy pop song suddenly acquires an extra dimension). Masterful.

    By contrast, I watched Attack of the Clones last night for the first time since seeing it at the cinema and there's a moment when Anakin and Padme kiss on the veranda. She breaks off the kiss and the music is suddenly pulled with it. Possibly the worst moment I've ever seen in romantic scoring. Strange coming from the composer who managed that great cue when Han and Leia are pulled apart before Han's put into carbon freeze in the Empire Strikes Back - one of the best fantasy romantic moments in film.
    Trev Parks

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