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What's your favourite score?

  • Beauty and the Beast

    Votes: 1 33.3%
  • The Prince of Tides

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Bugsy

    Votes: 1 33.3%
  • JFK

    Votes: 1 33.3%
  • The Fisher King

    Votes: 0 0.0%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For the first part of the Talkclassical best film score award, today I'll launch this little competition (poll) between the film scores which were nominated at the Academy Awards (Oscars) in 1992 for the award "best original score".

The poll will close on July 21.

For the 1992 best original score award, five films were nominated:
  • Beauty and the Beast: score composed by Alan Menken. This is the final winner.
  • The Prince of Tides: score composed by James Newton Howard.
  • Bugsy: score composed by Ennio Morricone
  • JFK: score composed by John Williams
  • The Fisher King: score composed by George Fenton
You only have to take in consideration the material you find here below. In some of the films you can find music that HAS NOTHING TO DO with this competition, because not all the music you hear in the film is original and because not all the music is a part of the score.
For example, in the animated film Beauty and the Beast there is a musical (pieces of music sung by the carachters), but it has nothing to do with the score.
With the videos I post here below, I make sure to give you only the music of the ORIGINAL SCORE.

Beauty and The Beast

In the video here below you find the best parts of the suite.

Go here for more details: Beauty and the Beast - Score



The Prince of Tides


In the video here below you find the best parts of the suite.

Go here for more details: The Prince of Tides - Score



Bugsy

In the video here below you find the best piece of the suite.
WARNING: if you have never watched the film and you don't want want spoilers you should watch the video with no images that you find in the first post reply of this discussion.
Here below you'll find a video of the final scene so that you can hear the piece in the context.

Go here for more details: Bugsy - Score



JFK

In the video here below you find the best parts of the suite.

Go here for more details: JFK - Score



The Fisher King

In the video here below you find the best parts of the suite.

Go here for more details: The Fisher King - Score

 

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The excerpts from the score for Beauty and the Beast have themes that are used for the songs (or perhaps it's the other way around, that the song themes have been used for the score) - the themes/songs/motifs seem to often be one and the same here. Same composer for the songs and score. In fact, this edit of the score actually ends with the song it starts with (instrumentally).

I'm not trying to discount the score, or the songs. In fact, I actually think that Menken did a brilliant job having the score and songs crossover so effortlessly (well, it probably wasn't effortless, but it sounds like it was no problem at all for him, in fact, like it was barely an inconvenience). But, to me, it sounds almost like an old school Overture, with the orchestra instrumentally previewing song from the show (yes, I'm aware that this ends with the choir recap heard at the end of the film).
 

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BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Lovely integration of song themes as orchestral motifs, and those themes are catchy. Orchestrations are lovely.

The fourteen minutes seem much shorter than that.


THE PRINCE OF TIDES: Beautiful orchestrations of motifs that aren’t very interesting on their own. A bit too much repetition of the So-Ti-Do motif. Predictable progressions.

These fourteen minutes seem to ramble somewhat aimlessly.


BUGSY MALONE: The six minutes of Closing music alone doesn’t really give a sense of the entire score at all. It’s lovely, melancholic, and has a lovely orchestration, although, on first listen, seems a bit lost melodically. Judging by the song credits, this is a film that relies heavily on period songs that help set the film’s time frame and vibe.

This particular snippet is shorter than the rest, and seemingly encompasses only one theme.


JFK: Man, you can always count of John Williams to find the perfect orchestral subgenres for a film. As Kennedy is part of my personal recollections as a very young child, the wistful and hopeful sounding score here, with its military snare to start us off, is really potent. The score seems to have a journey, although that may simply be the edit (I don’t know if this is a suite based on the score or not).

Williams’ orchestrations always seem to be wonderfully diverse and clever.


THE FISHER KING: The beginning of this excerpt seems to be a perfect cinematic ‘fit’, the waltzing, the almost-Klezmer, but then transitions to a loungy Big Band arrangement of Lane & Freed’s “How About You” (and sung by Sinatra, Bennett, Garland, and countless others), disqualifying it as being ‘original’ scoring.

It then segues into some dramatic music that sounds like ‘chase music’. I like it. Then it goes into some ‘suspense’ and ‘mystery’ music. It transports to a different mood quite well, but as an independent piece, seems rather random. But I do enjoy me some randomness.

The 15 minute length of this edit allows us to travel to many different moods the score encompasses, and there’s yet another piece to go, a serene and spiritual exercise, with plenty of whole notes, with and couple plaintive melodies joining, THEN some movement that ends almost as soon as it began.

This edit did manage to evoke several different moods. Composer George Fenton seems of have liked using bent notes in the woodwinds, with that particular technique used several times throughout the edit.

💥

And here’s the problem with judging a film’s score only by an ‘allowed’ edit: A film score ought to be judged by how well the score works with the film. BUT, if the intent is to judge these edits on their own audio-only merits, then it’s an entirely different process.

But are these videos really representative of either? I don’t know.

But going by my reactions listening to each of these edits once, I’m somewhat torn between choosing either BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and JFK. They both excel in different ways, and both seem to stand alone on their own.

The BEAST score edit, while having great melodies, arrangements, instrument choices, and giving a great vibe, still seems more like an Overture to a Musical.

So I choose JFK. It has all of the things I admire in the BEAST edit, and also has some sort of ‘It’ factor, some unexplainable ‘gravitas’ and even wisdom.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
But are these videos really representative of either? I don’t know.
Since I'm the creator of the videos, I can explain the process I follow.

First of all, I have a very simple rule: a video must not be longer than 15 minutes.

My goal is to create presentation of the soundtrack with a single and short video, avoiding repetition.
Since the same melodies are repeated in various pieces of the suite, the first thing I have to do when doing a montage like this is to map all the melodies in the suite and list them on a sheet (melody A, melody B, melody C,...).
Once this is done, I pass the pieces again and mark what melodies each piece contains.
Finally, for each melody I choose the piece that seems best to me.

In practice, I do a great job of synthesis that allows a person to listen to a large part of what is in the soundtrack without having to listen to the entire suite.

I also put a bit of psychology into it.
The first piece of the video must capture the viewer and entice him to continue to the end.
The final piece must be the best one, the great final.

Although I wrote that I try to avoid repetition, I do an exception for the main theme: usually, the first piece contains the main theme, as well as the last one.


Finally, there is obviously a lot of waste material that you won't find in the video. You won't find ambient/elevator music because I don't think that it's extractable. So, pieces without a solid melody, although they can work in the context, are not in the videos, because the sense of this competition is to listen to the music, not watching the films.

However, for people who want to listen to the full suites, there are the links to go to the details. In each thread for the single scores you will find the full playlist, but I try to make things easier for people with the video I put in the main thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The excerpts from the score for Beauty and the Beast have themes that are used for the songs (or perhaps it's the other way around, that the song themes have been used for the score) - the themes/songs/motifs seem to often be one and the same here. Same composer for the songs and score. In fact, this edit of the score actually ends with the song it starts with (instrumentally).

I'm not trying to discount the score, or the songs. In fact, I actually think that Menken did a brilliant job having the score and songs crossover so effortlessly (well, it probably wasn't effortless, but it sounds like it was no problem at all for him, in fact, like it was barely an inconvenience). But, to me, it sounds almost like an old school Overture, with the orchestra instrumentally previewing song from the show (yes, I'm aware that this ends with the choir recap heard at the end of the film).
I might be wrong, but I think that in the score there's only one theme which refers to a song. It's the theme that is recapitulized by the chorus at the end of the video.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My analysis will be much shorter than the one of pianozach.

I will vote for "The Beuty and the Beast" because I think it has the nicest and most eleborated tunes, especially the last piece of the video: Transformation.

I already wrote that I like Alan Menken because his melodies are not looped themes, but nice tunes with progression.

 

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I might be wrong, but I think that in the score there's only one theme which refers to a song. It's the theme that is recapitulized by the chorus at the end of the video.
There are several.

At 0:30 there is the melody from the bridge of Belle's opening number (called "Belle"). That theme is heard again in the video at 3:00

The scary rising chords at 5:10 are from the beginning of The Mob Song. The wonderful Chase/Fight music incorporate thematic snippets from at least a couple of songs, although Menken does some excellent development from those.

At 7:10 you hear the theme from the bridge of "Something There" in the violins.

And at 8:10 there's the main theme from the "Beauty and the Beast" song, as well as many other parts of the melody from that song, interpolated with snippets from "Something There" and "Belle".

Again, I think it's brilliant how Menken made the songs an integral part of the score, and the score an integral part of the songs.

There is one theme he seems to have loved, that didn't become part of any of the songs; that theme from the Prologue (So-fa-so-le, fa-re-so), a great little motif that hints at a minor key (using 'le') but avoiding the minor 3rd. He really goes full guns developing this motif near the end of this audio from your video, but he again keeps interpolating it with themes from those other songs. Clever.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That was me. This poll didn't do so well. It might be time for the author to re-think the approach.
The problem is that the Movie Corner is a desert and during summer many users are probably in holidays.

What do you suggest? To have more votes I should move the competition in the main section of the forum, but the admin wouldn't probably agree.
 
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