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A Call to Arms Music

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  • #16
    I was a lead trumpet player in U.S. Navy Bands from 1967 to 1970 -
    Think that about covers it.

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    • #17
      I'm a huge fan of Christophers Franke music for B5 - I liked it from the Beginning and got all his B5-releases. But I could just never stand what Evan Chen had done for ACTA. His music for Crusade was slightly better, but I cannot really refer to his compositions for ActA as "music" - it's just background noise and for me completely ruined the movie. Actually, because of the music, I have to call ActA my least favourite B5-movie - yes, the story was quite good, but for me it just didn't have any atmosphere at all. God knows how great this movie could have been if the would have kept Christopher Franke...

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      • #18
        First, I'd like to jump in by saying that I liked Chen's music. I listen to and enjoy a pretty wide range of musical styles. I would agree that it was very noticable at first because it was so different from the style we were used to. I'm not sure that it was any more prominent, just that 5 years had schooled my ear so the differences made it jump out.

        Second, I have to say that I hope that a degree isn't necessary to comment on a field. Given that I actually have no degrees (insufficient money at that stage in my life - no need later) being unable to comment on any skilled field of endeavor would cause my head to explode! Myself, I do try to avoid phrases like "the worst" or what not, especially without trying to explain why. They just tend to annoy people who disagree, whether accompanied by "IMHO" or not, but I won't tune those opinions out unless it seems like the poster can only enter discussions on those grounds, or unless they seem to be making the comments with the specific intention of annoying people.

        Just my 2 cents!
        "That was the law, as set down by Valen. Three castes: worker, religious, warrior."

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        • #19
          If you want to be a music critic, go earn a degree in music. Otherwise stick to things you understand.
          Perhaps I should hold off commenting the next time I see a glorious sunset. I think god's the only individual qualified in the creation of sunsets.

          Makes you wonder though.... must've been some interesting conversations in pre-history.

          "Hey Dave. I'd love to give you some feedback on the rhythm you're making with those rocks, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to wait until society's evolved to the point where it can provide vocational qualifications. Until then, I'll have to limit my critique to a boycott of your next album."

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          • #20
            But let's not be nasty to Michael either. Truthfully, after reading Jack's initial post I was pretty sure some viewers would take issue with it, it's an old argument. I've seen some very heated discussion on this topic over the years, from both sides of the street. But we all have opinions, and noses, and other body parts.

            Oh, and by the way I wouldn't bash or sneer at the military bands. Those people are VERY accomplished players, and competition is fierce for a small number of seats. And Michael did it during the Veitnam era when the draft was in effect, so there was a HUGE number of desperate people competing for those seats. If you think the competition is fierce now, it was probably somewhere on the order of a magnitude back then.
            "The cat is not evil for killing the rat, nor is the rat evil for stealing the grain. Each acts according to its nature." Master Po - Kung Fu:TOS

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            • #21
              And, he's right about those doctor of musicology degrees. They're basically useless. All those talented, educated people fighting for those few orchestra librarian positions...

              Amy (the artist formerly known as Aisling)

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              • #22
                Evan Chen's music grows on one... if one gives it half a chance.

                By the end of Crusade I really liked it, its very "alienness" a complement to the atmosphere of Crusade.

                This comparison may seem strange but I just saw Andrei Tarkovski's Stalker, which just like Solaris (the original Tarkovski film not the recent "Solaris-lite" Hollywood version) has a soundtrack which is mostly ambient, merged with the background noise, very experimental, rarely what you would call traditional music. It creates an atmosphere which contributes to the feeling of weirdness that the setting of those movies evoke.

                I think that Evan Chen did something similar in several occasions for ACtA and Crusade.
                I ended up liking it, but even if I hadn't I would commend the effort to create something different. I do commend JMS for the intention and Evan Chen for pulling it off.
                Such... is the respect paid to science that the most absurd opinions may become current, provided they are expressed in language, the sound of which recalls some well-known scientific phrase
                James Clerk Maxwell (1831-79)

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                • #23
                  Evan Chen's music grows on one... if one gives it half a chance.
                  Well, you simply can't say something like this as though it is fact. Taste in music - and art - and film - and books - and food - and everything else - is subjective. Chen's music may have grown on _you_, after _you_ gave it half a chance. But some people simply will not be able to get past the alienness of the tonality, and the odd percussive use of pitched instruments, etc. etc.

                  Having worked in the serious music industry for many years, I have a _lot_ of experience with this phenomenon. "Serious music" is the term used for what most of you would call 20th (21st) century classical music. The reason we in the industry don't call it that is because "classical" denotes a particular period in serious music's history, basically the bulk of the 18th century.

                  So, my guess is that most of you here - those posting from the US, anyway - can't name more than three composers of serious music born in the 20th century, _offhand_ (i.e. you're not allowed to look it up). Why? Because most casual American music listeners have a penchant for the melodic, sweet sounds of the classical and romantic periods, and have a very hard time with the unusual tonalities of 20th (and 21st) century music.

                  Living in Philadelpha, this phenomenon is all too apparent. We have a world-class orchestra here, but in recent years they've mainly been playing "blue-hair" music; i.e., the music that older listeners care for: classical and romantic. Hopefully with Christoph Eschenbach at the helm now, things will change. I can hope! :-)

                  Anyway, just as a conclusion to these rambling thoughts, my boss in the music publishing house used to come home from concerts in New York with stories. He was a great one for storytelling. And he said once that he was walking up the aisle in a theater, and heard a woman say as he passed, in a heavy NY accent, "Oh, there goes (John Doe) - if he's here, the music is going to _stink_." Meaning, they knew that he was generally in the audience to represent our publishing houses's interests, and since our catalog was predominantly 20th century Europeans, they knew that it was music they wouldn't enjoy.

                  It's a hard truth, but most people want their serious music "pretty."

                  Amy (the artist formerly known as Aisling)

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                  • #24
                    Re: Re: Re: A Call to Arms Music

                    Originally posted by grumbler
                    Yep. I hated it when it came out, because it wasn't what I expected. Now, I consider it one of the best things about ACtA/Crusade. It did exactly what it was supposed to do: set a completely different atmosphere. With CF music, ACtA/Crusade would have seemed "B5 done wrong." With EC music, it is clearly "something different in the B5 universe."
                    As for Evan's contribution to CRUSADE, after you get used to the fact that this is not music by Chris Franke the actual pieces are quite good. It took me forever and a day to figure out what was going on with the opening theme. All that seemingly strange percussion all over the place. Then I suddenly figured out where I was going wrong. I was analysing it tooooo much. So I just tried to stop myself from thinking 'ooer, this is very different' and just sat down and listened to it! I am now of the opinion that the opening theme is, by far and away, one of the best pieces of B5 music ever recorded. It carries a sense of mystery and also emotion within it that is quite moving.

                    Well done Evan Chen
                    http://www.lddb.com/collection.php?a...er=dgtwoodward
                    Yes, I still collect Laserdiscs!!
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                    • #25
                      So, my guess is that most of you here - those posting from the US, anyway - can't name more than three composers of serious music born in the 20th century,
                      Let's see........Gershwin, Bernstein, and Copeland? Although you said BORN in the 20th century and without looking them up I can't say when they were born, but they came to fruition duriing the 20th. And then you have folks like John Williams, who should be included despite the fact he's primarily known for film scores (and the Boston Pops). But he's composed other things. Danny Elfman as well, I hear him often on NPR and it's not the film scores.

                      And we're not even talking about folks like Ellington and Billy Strahorn. Although primarily swing and jazz, those two composed a wide range of styles. And would Irving Berlin fit as well? I'm more familiar with his more popular pieces, but I wouldn't be surprised if he composed many contrasting styles.

                      One item I always found interesting was that Bernstein claimed that Lennon & McCartney's She's Leaving Home was the best song written in the latter half of the century.

                      Interesting, your use of "blue hair", I've always preferred the Benny Goodman term, "long hair" although in the '60s that term blurred a bit.

                      Oh, and
                      Evan Chen's music grows on one... if one gives it half a chance.
                      Well, not to be quarrelsome, but I actually fit this. At first I didn't know what to think about it, but I endeavor to keep an open mind. And what can I say? I began to like it more and more, eventually focusing on various parts, singling them out. It grew on me.
                      Last edited by Ben-Thayer Dunnthaedt; 09-15-2004, 02:06 PM.
                      "The cat is not evil for killing the rat, nor is the rat evil for stealing the grain. Each acts according to its nature." Master Po - Kung Fu:TOS

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                      • #26
                        Remember all the "I hate Sheridan" and "man this season sucks" posts we all waded through when B5 was on the air?

                        I put most "I hate the Crusade music" complaints in the same round bin.

                        Crusade was to be a *different* show than Babylon 5. Same universe, but a different show. The music reflects those differences, just as it was supposed to.

                        If you "hate" something just because it differs from you thought "it ought to be", or what you expected; oh well. You are not in charge of it.

                        I find it amazing that for people who are so future-oriented, sci-fi fans can be the most hide-bound opponents to change.

                        Having said all that, if your opinion is actually based on the music (like "I hate the percussion coming in at odd times") then you have a valid opinion.

                        FP

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                        • #27
                          Let's see........Gershwin, Bernstein, and Copeland?
                          Close enough. Gershwin was actually born in the latest part of the 19th century. In any case, I feel compelled to point out that you chose the most obvious ones. Excepting these very prominent heavy-hitters from the list, can anyone else come up with three more?

                          And I'm not even counting John Williams and Danny Elfman - although Wiliams has written some beautiful serious music. Obviously, loads of people know them from their film scores. (Hey, it's my game - it's my rules! <g>)

                          I also wouldn't count Ellington and Strahorn, but Irving Berlin _kinda_ counts.

                          I guess I was trying to point out that Chen falls into the same aesthetic pile as people like Hindemith, Webern, Berio, Stravinsky, Penderecki, Ligeti, Berg, etc. etc. And how many of you have recordings of their works among your collection? But I'm sure you have Bach, Brahms, Beethoven...and okay, probably some Mahler, too, so there's some 20th century people probably know fairly well.

                          I'm surprised no one mentioned Gorecki or Corigliano.

                          I'm not arguing that Chen's music doesn't grow on _anyone_; just that you can't make a blanket statement that if you do this (listen to his music regularly), then result "x" will happen (it will grow on you), not with regard to _any_ form of art. Taste is mainly unquantifiable.

                          Having said that, I think he's a capable composer who would have really matured well given time. I wonder if he's still composing...

                          Amy (the artist formerly known as Aisling)

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                          • #28
                            But some opinions are more valid than others, yes?

                            Really not up for getting into that discussion again.

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                            • #29
                              I always thought Chen had a slight influence from some of the really eclectic ones, like John Cage. What do you think Aisling?

                              But I only knew one of your examples! Darn! That is, if by Stravinsky you mean Igor. But he was born in the 19th century...........

                              Although enjoying Baroque, I suppose I'm into Debussy these days more than others. And speaking of Debussy, this quote describes our discussion on Even Chen quite well:

                              "There is no theory. You have only to listen. Pleasure is the law. I love music passionately. And because l love it, I try to free it from barren traditions that stifle it. It is a free art gushing forth, an open-air art boundless as the elements, the wind, the sky, the sea. It must never be shut in and become an academic art."

                              And like Radar O'Reilly said: "I'm partial to the fugue. Can you say that in front of a lady?"
                              "The cat is not evil for killing the rat, nor is the rat evil for stealing the grain. Each acts according to its nature." Master Po - Kung Fu:TOS

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by AislingGrey
                                Evan Chen's music grows on one... if one gives it half a chance.
                                Well, you simply can't say something like this as though it is fact. Taste in music - and art - and film - and books - and food - and everything else - is subjective. Chen's music may have grown on _you_, after _you_ gave it half a chance. But some people simply will not be able to get past the alienness of the tonality, and the odd percussive use of pitched instruments, etc. etc.
                                I just said "one" not everyone.
                                I agree on the subjectivity (I seriously despise music snobs who think their tastes are superior because they are obscure and not popular, by which I don't mean Amy, but people I've "met" on rock music boards), but will point out that there are objective measures in each of those areas. In writing you can judge correct spelling and grammar objectively... of course you may argue that liking that (and considering that bad spelling and grammar can ruin the reading experience) is a subjective choice... I obviously don't, I do think there are some objective criteria for writing (but I also loved the literary experimentation of the SF New Wave).

                                Three Serious Composers?

                                I love Francis Poulenc's Organ Concerto... I absolutely love it. I have it on a CD with his "Concerte champetre" and "Gloria" but those other two haven't grabbed me as much.

                                I've heard a little from Dmitri Shostakovich too.

                                I don't know many I'll admit.

                                Here's an unusual choice for serious composers of the last century: have you heard Keith Emerson's "Piano Concerto No. 1" (number one and only I might add)?

                                I'll suggest going to Epitonic ( http://www.epitonic.com/ ) at the 20th Century Composers section for some free MP3 samples... but don't go to find names to answer Amy (TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsAisling)'s challenge, that would be cheating. Also, I'm not sure all of them fall in the category of "serious" composers.
                                Such... is the respect paid to science that the most absurd opinions may become current, provided they are expressed in language, the sound of which recalls some well-known scientific phrase
                                James Clerk Maxwell (1831-79)

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