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To the Promised Land
Last post Fri, Oct 31 2008 by requiem_aeternam7, 28 replies.
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Posted on Tue, Oct 28 2008 19:22
by mverta
Joined on Thu, Dec 18 2003, Posts 171

The economy's in the toilet, my stocks have dropped 40%, I've had it up to here with this stupid Presidential Election, and one of my computers had a catastrophic hard drive failure last week. 

So in light of all the negativity about, I decided this week's speedscore exercise would be to write a completely upbeat, happy, positive anthem.  You know, for optimism's sake and all that. Lots of syrup.  

Mission Accomplished: To the Promised Land

'twas fun.  Enjoy.

_Mike

Posted on Tue, Oct 28 2008 21:27
by PaulR
Joined on Mon, Dec 22 2003, England, Posts 2371

Mike - my dear fellow. :)


Stop wasting your obvious talents. You will never be as good as John Williams because there can only be one JW.


Your cadences and full stops are so obviously JW even my wife spots it in s second (is this a JW piece?)


Do Bernard Herrmann and let's have a listen to that.

Posted on Tue, Oct 28 2008 22:11
by mverta
Joined on Thu, Dec 18 2003, Posts 171

It's a tough one.

I don't actually "do" John Williams, and I really don't want to "do" Bernard Herrman.  I mean, they're them, and I write how I write, without trying to be somebody else.  I learned a long time ago that my influences were clearly heard in my work (though honestly, they're Schuman/Barber/Prokofieff/Copland influences, which JW and I share an affinity for obviously).But every time I try to deliberately not do what my inner voice tells me; every time I deliberately ignore my sensibilities and choices and do something else just on principle, I generate confused and focusless work.  It reminds me of a great percussion player who got his first chance to play on a Miles Davis record... after the first take, Miles said, "Okay, on the next one, every time you want to play, don't."  The guy completely froze up.  Who wouldn't?  I've been hearing the JW comparison stuff since I was a kid first starting out, and at some point I just had to accept that was going to happen.  There are worse things.  Half the time, it's a compliment; half the time it's an insult.  At some point, it comes down to me sitting at the piano writing music, and I write what I hear in my head, and what I like.  I just don't know how to do anything else.  Trying to be something other than I am feels to me like if I was deliberately putting on a british accent.  It's fake; it's not who I am, and it isn't how I talk.  I dunno.  I hear just tons of stuff in my work harmonically that JW would never do, though admittedly not so much in this piece, so I don't think at my core I'm as much as a JW-Wannabe as the harshest critics will/would say.  And in the end, I'm not sure I care, if the music is enjoyable, contributory, and well-written.  If your wife even asks if it's a Williams piece, though, that is just a touch hard for me to be bothered by.  It's at worst a back-handed compliment.  Unless she hates JW.  Oh, well.  I'm curious to see how it all plays out. Thanks for the kind words :)

_Mike

Posted on Wed, Oct 29 2008 00:39
by Guy Bacos
Joined on Sun, Jan 16 2005, Quebec, Canada, Posts 1995
Maybe Paul is trying to say is what Ravel said to Gershwin: "Why be a second rate Ravel when you could be a first rate Gershwin?"

But I wouldn't personally say that on this thread nor it is how I feel, to develop a personal style takes time, J-W was in his 40s when he became the J-W we know today.
Posted on Wed, Oct 29 2008 00:48
by mverta
Joined on Thu, Dec 18 2003, Posts 171

No, I get it.  I've spent 20 years writing professionally and working on my "voice."  There was a period there in the early days - I bet we all go through this - where I second-guessed every single chord change, you know, just 'cause I wanted every movement to be "totally original." There was actually a couple years where I refused to do a V-I cadence; I'd always resolve it with a dominant 7th suspension instead.  Totally 80's. Then at some point, I realized I wasn't really "inventing" anything, and I didn't like a lot of the unnecessarily complex stuff I was coming up with.  It gave academics a hard on, but it alienated me and 99% of the people I wanted to speak to through my music.  So I decided to stop apologizing for my instincts, and let the chips fall where they may.  My writing HAS changed of course, but I'll bet in another 10 years or whatever, however much it's changed again, the core will be the same.  Just a guess.  Anyway, these exercises are about speed and first instincts, and there's no question this piece represents my comfort zone.

_Mike

Posted on Wed, Oct 29 2008 01:13
by Guy Bacos
Joined on Sun, Jan 16 2005, Quebec, Canada, Posts 1995
Never-the-less the piece is fantastic!
Posted on Wed, Oct 29 2008 01:43
by felliniflex
Joined on Mon, Apr 14 2008, Santiago, Chile, Posts 49
Who cares if it sounds like Williams!!, this is great music, beautifully orchestrated, congratulations Mike, very inspiring music. And i also like that you can be positive with music even if your HD died or the U.S economy is not good nowadays, that's our main job as musicians/composers i guess... transmit the joy of music.

Talking about infuences, what do you think about Korngold - both his concert and film music-? and what about Richard Strauss? (i'm not saying that your music sounded like Strauss, i just wanna know your opinion about his music, since i'm a big Strauss fan)

Congrats again.
FELIPE OPAZO - Musician, Arranger, Composer, Producer
Macbook Pro 2.2 Ghz, 2 GB RAM, 500 GB Firewire 800 Lacie Quadra HD, Mbox 2 Pro, Pro Tools 7.4, Logic 8, Sibelius 5
www.myspace.com/felliniopazo
Posted on Wed, Oct 29 2008 04:51
by mverta
Joined on Thu, Dec 18 2003, Posts 171

Well of course there are some great, great works by both.  Truly a ton of jaw-droppingly good music out there to draw inspiration from, musician or not!  I study film composers secondarily, and their concert composer sources primarily.  The art of writing long-form film scores (which will pretty much die with Williams, though Broughton can still pull it out), has to be learned separately, but either way you start by listening to the seminal works that shaped our collective expectation for satisfying musical drama, for sure.

Thanks, guys, for the kind words.  I'm so glad you enjoy the piece.  

_Mike

Posted on Wed, Oct 29 2008 07:27
by christof
Joined on Tue, Jun 19 2007, Vienna/Austria, Posts 195

 This is a very good piece of music, but I have to join Pauls opinion, this is a perfect JW copy, Indiana Jones style or something like that.

But:

Even JW copied shamelessly from Korngold, Dvorak, Holst, Strauss.

Everybody does that, from Elfman to Zimmer.

It is hard for a composer to create his own fingerprints these days, everything has been written, everything has been tried.

When I start a new piece I allways get some ideas from the iTunes store where you can listen to each piece for 30 seconds, this is great because you can't copy too much and still  get some inspiration.

Posted on Wed, Oct 29 2008 10:05
by PaulR
Joined on Mon, Dec 22 2003, England, Posts 2371
I listened to it again today (morning here) and it's like listening to an unwritten scene from ET. It's great stuff of course.


This would sound absolutely great played by one of your Hollywood orchestras because it's so well orchestrated in the first place. It's so American, but not yet Americana.


The thing is though, while it's absolutely no problem to say, and even concede that Mike is probably the best JW musical look-alike in the world today, I can't imagine him wanting to do that for a living. Why? Because if I was that good at doing that type of JW music, I would obviously enjoy the incoming revenue but -


(a) would be ever so slightly embarrassed

(b) get really bored with doing a genre that's been done quite a few times already

(c) wind up asking a director why he doesn't ask John Williams to do it.



The reason I ask Mike to 'do' Bernard Herrmann is NOT simply because I want to be entertained by genre music of my favourite filmscore writer - but because it may well be an aid to Mike. A bit like getting him off some nasty narcotics addiction.


I'm going to have to introduce Mike to my m-m-m mother. Coincidentally, she was born on the exact same day and year as JW - and I have to say these people try to exert their influence at all times. :)



Edit: Don't worry Mike. The Yanks will cut the interest rates today or tomorrow and I'm currently in buying mode (that's always a bad sign). Think of the hedge fund managers that bet against VW (not JW) and the share price at one point rose 150% off the back of Porsche. Bye bye hedge fund. HAhahaaa....
Posted on Wed, Oct 29 2008 13:08
by Conquer
Joined on Thu, Sep 28 2006, Posts 812

Well done Mike. Technically accomplished as ever, beautifully orchestrated, well developed and a bright, positive theme. A bit less syrup and a bit more mustard would see off your detractors! Sorry to bring up the name again, but do you know the John Williams cue 'Zam The Assasin & The Chase Through Coruscant' from Attack of the Clones? It's amazing, I've been trying to find a score.

Posted on Wed, Oct 29 2008 15:06
by hbuus
Joined on Thu, Oct 26 2006, Posts 74

Hi Mike,

I really admire your ability to make orchestral computer music sound...well, perhaps not 'real', but very nice at least! :)

Still I was a little disappointed with this piece.

Not from a technical viewpoint, but because of the theme - I think it's a little overcomplex.

IMO themes should be easily singable, and I don't think this one is.

That said it is a pleasure to listen to your work.

I hope you will continue to post new stuff regularly - I enjoy listening to it a lot.

It's just amazing how you can make orchestral computer music sound.

Best regards,

Henrik

Posted on Wed, Oct 29 2008 15:52
by Guy Bacos
Joined on Sun, Jan 16 2005, Quebec, Canada, Posts 1995
PaulR wrote:
I listened to it again today (morning here) and it's like listening to an unwritten scene from ET. It's great stuff of course.


This would sound absolutely great played by one of your Hollywood orchestras because it's so well orchestrated in the first place. It's so American, but not yet Americana.


The thing is though, while it's absolutely no problem to say, and even concede that Mike is probably the best JW musical look-alike in the world today, I can't imagine him wanting to do that for a living. Why? Because if I was that good at doing that type of JW music, I would obviously enjoy the incoming revenue but -


(a) would be ever so slightly embarrassed

(b) get really bored with doing a genre that's been done quite a few times already

(c) wind up asking a director why he doesn't ask John Williams to do it.



The reason I ask Mike to 'do' Bernard Herrmann is NOT simply because I want to be entertained by genre music of my favourite filmscore writer - but because it may well be an aid to Mike. A bit like getting him off some nasty narcotics addiction.


I'm going to have to introduce Mike to my m-m-m mother. Coincidentally, she was born on the exact same day and year as JW - and I have to say these people try to exert their influence at all times. :)



Edit: Don't worry Mike. The Yanks will cut the interest rates today or tomorrow and I'm currently in buying mode (that's always a bad sign). Think of the hedge fund managers that bet against VW (not JW) and the share price at one point rose 150% off the back of Porsche. Bye bye hedge fund. HAhahaaa....


Paul there's just one thing I don't understand about what you're saying, you reproach Mike of doing J-W, but at the same time you're asking him to do Bernard Hermann, why can't somebody else then reproach him of doing Hermann?
Posted on Wed, Oct 29 2008 16:06
by PaulR
Joined on Mon, Dec 22 2003, England, Posts 2371
Guy wrote:
Paul there,s one thing I don't understand about what you're saying, You reproach Mike of doing J-W, but at the same time you're asking him to do Bernard Hermann. Why can't somebody else then reproach him of doing Hermann?


And of course that's right Guy.


But I am certainly not reproaching Mike - I'm not good enough musically to reproach Mike. What I am merely suggesting is this. Getting into another genre like Herrmann is incredibly difficult - I for one cannot do it. But Mike obviously has a tremendous ear and orchestration skills and going over to the dark side for a couple of attempts would be very good practice and maybe shake out some of this JW stuff.


It's just an exercise thing. It doesn't even matter if he can't pull it off. After Herrmann I can suggest others btw ;)
Posted on Wed, Oct 29 2008 16:20
by mverta
Joined on Thu, Dec 18 2003, Posts 171

I actually had to do a bunch of dark stuff for this film I did earlier this year called Heatstroke.  Lots of - I guess you could say - Herrmann-ish stuff in it.  Tons of clusters and atmospheric stuff.  At least before the alien attacks.  It's one of those films.  I'll see if I can't put a couple cues up.

Hey, by the way, don't worry about "reproaching" me or not.  We all have a choice: You either want real feedback or you don't.  If you don't, don't post your work.  That's how I see it.  So if you get good response, great.  If you get negative response, great.  You learn either way.  If all it takes for you to give up is a few people saying they don't love your work, you're probably in the wrong game :)  I appreciate all the input, truly.

_Mike

Posted on Wed, Oct 29 2008 17:14
by clarkcontrol
Joined on Mon, May 03 2004, The Pagan Underground, Posts 315

I would love to be accused of sounding like JW.

Mike, you are the man.

Clark

Clark
Posted on Wed, Oct 29 2008 22:57
by synthetic
Joined on Mon, Mar 14 2005, Posts 281

Funny, I heard Elmer Bernstein in this, so I guess it's up to the listener. Sure there are a few "John Williams" chords and devices in there, but there's other personalities in there. Perhaps you're just not used to hearing complex harmony and orchestration from anyone but Williams. I prescribe some Prokofiev.

(Though I think the first bar of the melody is right outa Stripes.) ;)

Posted on Thu, Oct 30 2008 07:08
by christof
Joined on Tue, Jun 19 2007, Vienna/Austria, Posts 195

 Well, Michael posted this tune here on the forum, that means he askes for comments and feedback.So this is what he gets, good and bad feedback, as I said, the piece is good, but nothing new or original.

 

vibrato wrote:
And its definitely not a copy of Indiana Jones - You need to get a copy of those scores Christof!

I studied these scores, and it is very much in this style, JW adventure like Jurassic Parc, Indy, ET, Star Wars, this kind of genre.

 

vibrato wrote:
Also - I am not sure visiting the itunes store is such a great idea to begin writing new music!

Well, for me it is a good starting point, just to get some input, and my pieces sell quite sucessfully.

vibrato wrote:
And btw - lot of people accuse John Williams of shamelessly stealing from composers - sure his older works were probably derivative but he has done tons of amazing new work -

 I don't accuse JW of stealing, it is just a fact, but in film music it is allowed.

My own pieces are not very original, I am on my research for my own style, this may be a long process, I am writing for orchestra for about a year now, so I am like a baby discovering the new world.

christof

Posted on Thu, Oct 30 2008 11:02
by PaulR
Joined on Mon, Dec 22 2003, England, Posts 2371
It's interesting someone mentioned Elmer Bernstein - Think Raiders and then think Great Escape.


Bernstein, Goldsmith, Williams et al always had sport borrowing from each other. None of that is the point anyway. If I had that type of skill that Mike has, I wouldn't be wasting time doing 80's music unless it's going to get me the jobs. In Mike's case and anyone who wants to make money doing film and tv music - it's the money that counts.


Any job that one does can be interesting and fun - but money is the bottom line otherwise it's a hobby and that's a totally different game. To hear something that is totally original and great at the same time these days is almost impossible. The great film music days are gone - will they ever return? Who knows.


Apart from anything else, what I like about this piece of music is that it has a beginning, a middle and an end and is orchestrated to a very high professional standard. Very rare these days so well done Mike.
Posted on Fri, Oct 31 2008 02:59
by requiem_aeternam7
Joined on Wed, May 14 2008, Posts 108

Mike please for the love of god can you write some sort of tutorial or school us peons in your absolutely perfect/finished/master technique of orchestration. I've rarely heard more perfect orchestrations.

Can you divulge your composition style/methods etc? How do you compose at the piano or with paper/pencil or at a computer or what and are there at least any 'general rules' for orchestrations you can give to someone who's mostly clueless in this regard. For example your brass writing in particular stands out most as others have mentioned. Are there any particular tips you can give for each brass family like as an example "usually trombones/tubas/low brass should double the contrabasses" and so on.

“He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.”
Samuel Johnson

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