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Science Fiction & Fantasy Farscape, Babylon 5, Star Wars, Firefly, vampires, genre books and film.

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Old October 13 2009, 06:12 PM   #46
RandyS
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

Jan wrote: View Post
Christopher Franke for B5.
Jan
Yeah. Thinking movies, I completely forgot TV. Another vote for Franke here.
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Old October 13 2009, 07:33 PM   #47
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

Jan wrote: View Post
Christopher Franke for B5.

And just to *really* date myself, Robert Cobert for the original Dark Shadows.

Jan

Colbert was an excellent composer...so was Barry Gray (Space:1999)...

But as great as many composers are -- including John Williams -- none have impressed me like Jerry Goldsmith.

The man was phenomenal.
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Old October 13 2009, 11:01 PM   #48
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

Harvey wrote: View Post
You might not like McCreary's scoring, but comparing his work to the sonic wallpaper that characterized the worst years of the Rick Berman era is just wrong.
Like Berman-Trek, nBSG has 99.9% "drone" for a score. Nothing stands out, nothing makes you sit up and take notice. "Minimalist" doesn't really do Bear's music justice...it's just irrelevant noise.

But it's obvious what you're really after is a more traditional swash-buckling space opera score as was found in the original series. And I can understand being underwhelmed by McCreary's work with those expectations.

Still, you must at least enjoy "Prelude to War" and a few other select tracks, no?
Like I said, the only tracks that I really enjoy are ones like the end of "Final Report" and the series finale where he adapts Phillips.

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I'm in the middle ground. I don't find his work dull or lifeless in the slightest, but it's far, far from being original or different. McCreary just knows who to steal from, and how to steal well, and his choices are distinct enough from the typical space opera bombast that they're altogether welcome.
They add NOTHING to the material. They're just drums and drone and "filler". Good film/tv scoring is supposed to support what the viewer is seeing, adding emotional depth and tone and Bear just doesn't cut it.

I know he did it at Moore's insistance, but Moore obviously caught a case of "tin ear" from Berman with his "minimalist" musical philosophy.
There is an enormous difference between the bland nothing Berman espoused and the Glass-like minimalism McCreary has used. For instance, the latter calls attention to itself, which is the antihesis of Berman's 'wallpaper' strategy. I certainly would not consider the use of such music to be a tin ear - if anything, it's refreshingly attuned, if I may extend the analogy to an awful pun - but YMMV.[/QUOTE]

Obviously it does. Not only do I find it flat and uninspiring, but, as stated above, it completely fails to accomplish the primary mission of tv/cinema music: to support the visuals and dialoge by adding emotional texture to the material.

Put it this way: put up the nG theme and have a random person listen to it. Then put up Phillips. More people I would bet are going to recognize Phillips over nG because it has resonance and an appropriate tone and is memorable.
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Old October 13 2009, 11:11 PM   #49
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

darkwing_duck1 wrote: View Post
Like Berman-Trek, nBSG has 99.9% "drone" for a score. Nothing stands out, nothing makes you sit up and take notice. "Minimalist" doesn't really do Bear's music justice...it's just irrelevant noise.
A lot of Bear McCreary's score can be described as minimalist. In fact, that's a pretty exact term for music such as that concluding "Pegasus" - it's a musical style, not an insult. Irrelevant noise, however, it's certainly not. Now, McCreary is actually fairly eclectic in his choice of musical styles, but for the sake of conveinence and in consideration of your arguments I'll address minimalism for the rest of this post (which is if nothing else a major constant in nuBSG's musical approach).

Obviously it does. Not only do I find it flat and uninspiring, but, as stated above, it completely fails to accomplish the primary mission of tv/cinema music: to support the visuals and dialoge by adding emotional texture to the material.
Minimialist composition in film is, as Glass himself noted regarding Koyaanisqatsi, detached. It accompanies a work, but does not try to manipulate you into a certain emotional state. It's evocative rather than instructional. A whole 'nother approach, basically, but one that can be very stimulating. It's also nothing new, as there's been minimalist composition in film for decades (Mishima, another Glass work, is one of my favourite film scores ever.)

Now I can understand why that isn't someone's cup of tea - minimalism is something I find people tend to either love or loathe, there's little middle ground - but it's far, far from failing a principle purpose of film music. McCreary's just following a tradition of music you don't care for, which is fine.

So, what is the principal purpose of film music, if I had to define it? Rather blandly, to accompany a film. Preferably they should fit together rather well, and in BSG's case mission (largely) accomplished from what I've seen, though McCreary has mistepped occasionally.

Put it this way: put up the nG theme and have a random person listen to it. Then put up Phillips. More people I would bet are going to recognize Phillips over nG because it has resonance and an appropriate tone and is memorable.
Hey, no argument there. Stu Phillips' original theme is very, very hummable. McCreary's... is simply, well, not. But each match their respective series and their tones expertly.
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Last edited by Kegg; October 13 2009 at 11:36 PM.
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Old October 13 2009, 11:27 PM   #50
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

Basil Poledouris and Ron Grainer, probably the only composers I'd listen to outside of watching a show or film.

I find John Williams' most famous scores excessively irritating in large doses.

MAD Magazine in the late 70's had some bit like "2.5, the average in miles travelled to avoid hearing the STAR WARS theme music."

Alan Silvestri also did Predator's score, at least as mermorable as Back to the Future's.

Randy Edelman deserves a nod for the overly reused music from Dragonheart and Brisco County Jr., plus MacGyver's classic theme music.
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Old October 14 2009, 12:14 AM   #51
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

Kegg wrote: View Post
Now I can understand why that isn't someone's cup of tea - minimalism is something I find people tend to either love or loathe, there's little middle ground
I think it's safe to say that I'm firmly in the latter camp...and that we'll just have to agree to disagree.
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Old October 15 2009, 04:50 PM   #52
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

I don't like understated scores. I like loud pompous and over the top full tilt bombastic orchestration for each and every scene!

And even the slow scenes should be orchestral pieces that could almost stand alone...

Yeah...!

Sonic Wallpaper Sucks.
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Old October 15 2009, 07:47 PM   #53
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

QuasarVM wrote: View Post
I don't like understated scores. I like loud pompous and over the top full tilt bombastic orchestration for each and every scene!

And even the slow scenes should be orchestral pieces that could almost stand alone...

Yeah...!

Sonic Wallpaper Sucks.
Although a bit exaggerated, perhaps, Quasar makes a good point. I've been disappointed in many soundtracks where the music just becomes muzak. Lots of the early Doctor Who was like that, and many films have scores that are so dull it makes me wonder why they bother with a soundtrack.

Now I personally don't demand constant bombasticness (bombasticity?) in my movie/TV music. But there have been plenty of examples of excellent film scores where even incidental music has character and evokes the mood of the film. Ignore Celine Dion for a second and James Horner's score for Titanic is wonderful to listen to (even if it gives deja vu to us Enya fans). Star Trek TMP has bombastic passages, but it also gave us Ilia's Theme, which is still one of the most lovely bits of "quiet" film music ever written. Leia's Theme from Star Wars is much the same. And Murray Gold's "Girl in the Fireplace" theme from Doctor Who is the TV equivalent.

My favorite film and TV soundtracks are those you can listen to beginning to end over and over. Some of the early John Barry Bond soundtracks are like that. The soundtracks to the Prisoner definitely (though in that case much of the music was stock music). The new BSG has had some wonderful work, though I find McCreary's reimagining of All Along the Watchtower works better playing behind a scene than listened to standalone. And the 2 volumes of Twin Peaks soundtracks (vol 2 came out years after the first) are extremely successful in invoking the feeling of the original series. You don't even have to have ever seen the show.

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Old October 15 2009, 09:05 PM   #54
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

Yeah, I was exagerrating a little. You know, it really depends on the pacing of film...and the subject matter.

Something like The English Patient doesn't really need a bombastic score for example...

If you haven't heard the scores to The Wind and The Lion or Rudy then those are good examples of the kind of scores I like...soft when necessary and loud and upbeat at other times.
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Old October 15 2009, 11:04 PM   #55
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

John Williams wins, obviously, for sheer magnitude.

But Goldsmith, Horner, and Shore can hold thier heads up proudly.

And McReary gets the prize for the composer to watch.
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Old October 17 2009, 12:22 AM   #56
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

I haven't read the whole thread, so can't be sure, but would be astonished if anyone has suggested this chap, even though his music defines Science Fiction for me:

Paddy Kingsland: Composer for the second run of the radio Hitch Hiker's, and the TV version (and also seven early 1980s Doctor Whos). Alien (ie, monotonic synthesised) but also humable, and atmospheric.
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Old October 17 2009, 12:48 AM   #57
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

darkwing_duck1 wrote: View Post

Put it this way: put up the nG theme and have a random person listen to it. Then put up Phillips. More people I would bet are going to recognize Phillips over nG because it has resonance and an appropriate tone and is memorable.
I have no idea what this "random person" you speak of would do, and honestly I don't care. What I do know is that I find the theme from the original series to be another example of a dull anthem-like tune, the kind I really don't care for. I disliked "Colonial Anthem" on the season 2 soundtrack, and I always skip it when I listen to it. IMO it sticks out as being too different in style, and not in good way, and mars an otherwise wonderful OST album. It was only a bit later that I learned that it was actually the theme from the original show (I was too little when I watched BSG TOS and it was too long ago to remember).

Now, Bear McCreary's BSG soundtrack is something that both 1) works wonderfully within the show - in many cases it gave the poignancy and epic feeling to the scenes, as much as the acting or the writing did (sometimes a lot more than the writing did); but it also 2) works wonderfully on its own. I could listen to the BSG soundtrack album all day long.

And, while I don't know about your "random person", a friend of mine who had never seen BSG heard me play a Youtube video with a BSG track - I think it was "Gina Escapes" - and asked me what it was, because she liked it a lot.

And if you're going to make those kinds of comparisons, here's another one: a DJ in a club I sometimes go to (he mostly plays darkwave and EBM) likes to play the Main theme from the new BSG. I don't think he or any other DJ would want to play the theme from the original show (but who knows... just like you and your "random person", it is impossible to prove).


BTW, besides BearMcCreary, I also enjoy the work of Angelo Badalamenti and Michael Giacchino.
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Old October 17 2009, 01:40 AM   #58
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Re: Favourite sci-fi/fantasy composer?

My girlfriend, who has never watched a single episode of either GALACTICA, is always intrigued by the eclectic selection of music on the soundtrack album for the new show. "That's an interesting album. What are you listening to?"

She's usually amazed to be reminded that it's BATTLESTAR GALACTICA!
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