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Old October 10 2009, 11:10 PM   #16
The Wormhole
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

Dorian Thompson wrote: View Post
John Williams, with an honorary mention for James Horner.
I find all of James Horner's music sounds the same. I remember watching The Perfect Storm. In the scene where the giant waves keep hitting the boat I remember thinking "I don't get it, are there waves coming or is the starship Reliant attacking?"
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Old October 10 2009, 11:17 PM   #17
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

The Wormhole wrote: View Post
Dorian Thompson wrote: View Post
John Williams, with an honorary mention for James Horner.
I find all of James Horner's music sounds the same. I remember watching The Perfect Storm. In the scene where the giant waves keep hitting the boat I remember thinking "I don't get it, are there waves coming or is the starship Reliant attacking?"
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Old October 10 2009, 11:40 PM   #18
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

The thing about James Horner is, he composed one great movie score. So great, apparently, it shouldn't be confined to just one movie.
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Old October 10 2009, 11:44 PM   #19
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

In no order:


John Williams
"E.T."
"Close Encounters of the Third Kind"
First three "Star Wars" films


Jerry Goldsmith
"Capricorn One"
"Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend"
The first four Trek films he scored
"Explorers"


Christophe Beck
"Buffy the Vampie Slayer" (TV series, for which he won an Emmy for his work)


Velton Ray Bunch
"Qauntum Leap"
"Enterprise"

James Horner
"Willow"
"Star Trek 2"
"Star Trek 3"
"Something Wicked This Way Comes"


And of course other Trek series work, and Trek films (excluding Nemesis onward, and Brian Tyler's "Enterprise" efforts)

Elmer Bernstein
"Ghostbusters"

Danny Elfman
"Edward Scissorhands"

Trevor Jones
"Dark City"

David Newman
"Serenity"
"Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure"
"Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey"

Basil Poledouris
"Conan the Barbarian"

Graeme Revell
"Pitch Black"
"The Chronicles of Riddick"

Mark Snow
"The X-Files"

James L. Venable
"Samurai Jack"


The work on "Batman: The Animated Series", which I loved so much, I created this site:
http://www.btasscores.150m.com

Probably others I have forgotten. How broad a range is "fantasy"?
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Old October 11 2009, 12:21 AM   #20
Steve Roby
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

Jerry Goldsmith. To my ear, a lot of John Williams's scores are interchangeably bombastic. Goldsmith's Logan's Run doesn't sound anything like his Planet of the Apes which doesn't sound anything like his Star Trek - The Motion Picture.

I'm also a big fan of Bebe and Louis Barron's Forbidden Planet, Howard Shore's Crash (the Ballard/Cronenberg movie), Vangelis's Blade Runner, Barry Gray's Space: 1999 year one, Cliff Martinez's Solaris, Yoko Kanno's Cowboy Bebop...
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Old October 11 2009, 03:33 AM   #21
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

No list of great sci-fi scores is complete without Stu Phillips' Battlestar Galactica...
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Old October 11 2009, 04:13 AM   #22
QuasarVM
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

Jerry Goldsmith. Due to quality, duration of career and innovation with each score.

John Williams was pretty much washed up after Raider of the Lost Ark.
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Old October 11 2009, 04:14 AM   #23
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

NerooOOoon wrote: View Post
Howard Shore, without question. Nobody has ever invested themselves in a project the way he did for "Lord of the Rings". The sheer breadth and depth he covered in creating distinctive themes for characters and cultures, blending them with a deft touch to create audio imagery I have never seen before. The Fellowship themselves had their own theme, separate and definite from everything else in the film. You had grand landscapes and intimate moments, echoes of ancient battles, strains of powerful love, poignancy in the death of kings. He even turned an inanimate golden ring into a character itself, full of temptation and evil. When you hear a theme repeated, it's with deliberate intent and an altered instrumentation for a definite purpose. John Williams is great and has earned his reputation, but my one criticism of him is that he tends to become repetitive between works such as in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Star Wars". But that's a minor quibble and nothing more.

Howard Shore bows to no one.
What you said concerning Howard Shore. Regarding John Williams, repetition is a big deal to me; so that pushes him down on my list. Ditto for James Horner. But the late Basil Poledouris kicked ass. He'd be my #2 after Shore. Christophe Beck is #3.
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Old October 11 2009, 09:32 AM   #24
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

I like lots of them: John Williams (with certain reservations), Jerry Goldsmith, John Barry's early Bond films, etc.

But my favourite genre composer has to be Barry Gray.
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Old October 11 2009, 10:32 AM   #25
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

I'd definitely have to say John Williams. He created so many sci-fi/fantasy scores that have become, well, timeless classics, I guess.
In addition, I think there's a great variety in the material he produced. "Star Wars"*, for example, is a completely different beast compared to the amazing "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" or "A.I.", for example.
There are definitely many amazing composers out there who've created sci-fi/fantasy scores I love (e.g. Vanglis' music for "Blade Runner", Goldsmith's "Total Recall", Poledouris' "Starship Troopers", and just many, many more). But I think nobody comes close to the body of work that Williams managed to create over several decades.

I definitely also have to mention Bear McCreary. He's still very young, and it's still pretty early in his career. But he has amazed me with the work I've heard so far on nuBSG. If he keeps up like this he could well take over the number one spot. But there's still a long way to go, I think .

*I'd just like to briefly comment on the "Lord of the Rings" music. Personally, I was and am still very disappointed by it, actually. I don't perceive the breadth and depth that was mentioned by Neroon, to be honest. Instead, I find it to be, well, rather lacklustre in its use of 'epic saga clichés' such as the choir that always kicks in when things are supposed to be particularly impressive.
The reason I mention this in connection with the Star Wars scores is that I remember hoping that the "The Lord of the Rings" music would be like a modern version of the "Star Wars" scores, in a sense, delivering the same musical variety in particular with respect to the characters and their themes. But what I heard in the end I found to be far less exciting, varied and engaging.
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Old October 11 2009, 11:25 AM   #26
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

Justtoyourleft wrote: View Post
The reason I mention this in connection with the Star Wars scores is that I remember hoping that the "The Lord of the Rings" music would be like a modern version of the "Star Wars" scores, in a sense, delivering the same musical variety in particular with respect to the characters and their themes.
Well, whatever one thinks of it (I love it to pieces, obviously) I think could be at least fairly said that Howard Shore's score does have quite distinct and varied themes for different characters and groups. The Shire, the Riders of Rohan, Gondor, Sauron, Saruman, etc. all have their own leitmotifs.
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Old October 11 2009, 12:06 PM   #27
Collective_8472
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

For TV (in order top to bottom):
Christopher Franke (B5)
Bear McCreary (BSG)
Joel Goldsmith (Stargate, most recently with SGU)

Film:
John Williams (Derivative or not, his stuff rocks)
Michael Giacchino (Incredibles... 'nuff said)
Jerry Goldsmith (Trek)
James Horner (granted most of his stuff sounds alike in places, it still works on film (see: TWOK & Aliens)
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Old October 11 2009, 02:37 PM   #28
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

Kegg wrote: View Post
Justtoyourleft wrote: View Post
The reason I mention this in connection with the Star Wars scores is that I remember hoping that the "The Lord of the Rings" music would be like a modern version of the "Star Wars" scores, in a sense, delivering the same musical variety in particular with respect to the characters and their themes.
Well, whatever one thinks of it (I love it to pieces, obviously) I think could be at least fairly said that Howard Shore's score does have quite distinct and varied themes for different characters and groups. The Shire, the Riders of Rohan, Gondor, Sauron, Saruman, etc. all have their own leitmotifs.
The thing is I felt this never really came through in the films. It's hard for me to explain since, yes, obviously, all those themes are there. But for me, personally, they never came close to achieving that same effect that was achieved in the Star Wars scores where the music IMHO not only reflected how characters and places changed but also told part of that story itself.

I think part of the reason might be that, as I mentioned, I find a lot of the music in "The Lord of the Rings" to be rather generic. I suppose the best way I can put it is that I feel the themes from "Star Wars" are firmly based in the "Star Wars" universe whereas I perceive most of the themes in "The Lord of the Rings" to be firmly placed in Hollywood fantasy films.

I also realize now that in my perception you lose part of the story, part of the tale if you take away the "Star Wars" music. I don't have the same feeling towards "The Lord of the Rings" at all. Since it seems rather generic to me you could simply lift cues from other similar movies and it would work as well as it does now.

Just to underline this: This really is just my perception of it. I wished I enjoyed the "The Lord of the Rings" soundtracks more than I do. And I appreciate that many people really love them.
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Old October 11 2009, 04:24 PM   #29
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

DevilEyes wrote: View Post
Bear McCreary. No contest there.
Who?
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Old October 11 2009, 07:04 PM   #30
Neroon
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

QuasarVM wrote: View Post
John Williams was pretty much washed up after Raider of the Lost Ark.
I strongly disagree about Williams, here. His work on the first three "Harry Potter" films stood out form his previous work I think. I thoroughly enjoyed the themes for Fawkes in "Chamber of Secrets" and some of the sweeping themes in "Prisoner of Azkaban" give me chills yet today.


Justtoyourleft wrote: View Post
Just to underline this: This really is just my perception of it. I wished I enjoyed the "The Lord of the Rings" soundtracks more than I do. And I appreciate that many people really love them.
It really can be difficult to describe how & why music affects us or the impressions it leaves on us. Music gets into a person in different ways from what we see. Since we're more used to describing what we SEE, it's easier to convey our impressions there.

It's funny, but I tend to think the same as you but opposite when it comes to Star Wars and LOTR. In Star Wars I tend to hear repetitions that I don't perceive as being intentional. Then again, Star Wars has two particular themes that are iconic in today's pop culture: the original opening fanfare, and the Imperial March. LOTR has nothing like that and very few other films have anything that significant if at all.

What I find in LOTR is a great variation that shows differences in cultures, in more ways than just notes. The instrumentation and choral works for Lothlorien have a distinctly Eastern influence, where as Rivendell is a different type even though both are Elvish communities. When a theme is repeated - such as the fellowship theme for example - it's done with variances in instruments and sometimes tempo, but it's done with a deliberate intent because the characters and story have changed.

Regardless, John Williams probably has a position that no other modern day composer will ever have in American culture at least. Much of that is due to Star Wars. James Horner has composed several of my favorite scores, such as "Titanic" and "Braveheart" and "Apollo 13". On that criterion he might be my favorite. Heck I even answered that on a Facebook quiz. I guess my answer of Howard Shore hear is a bit off the mark, in that it's Shore's work on LOTR that is my all time favorite.... but I don't count any of his other scores among my favorites
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