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A Call to Arms Music

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  • Ben-Thayer Dunnthaedt
    replied
    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, 01:06 PM.

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  • DGTWoodward
    replied
    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

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  • AmyG
    replied
    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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  • Capt.Montoya
    replied
    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.

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  • AmyG
    replied
    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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  • Ben-Thayer Dunnthaedt
    replied
    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.

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  • Doktor
    replied
    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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  • WorkerCaste
    replied
    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!

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  • cornholio1980
    replied
    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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  • Doktor
    replied
    I was a lead trumpet player in U.S. Navy Bands from 1967 to 1970 -
    Think that about covers it.

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  • Jan
    replied
    Originally posted by Michael Malloy
    Just as I quickly found out I wasn't ready to listen to an uninterrupted CD of Christopher Franke's music, the same goes for the CD of music from Crusade. BUT, the music <SUPPORTS> the action of the drama very well, which is the purpose of this sort of music.
    This caught my eye because I listen to the Chris Franke soundtracks pretty constantly in the car. I love Sleeping in Light, A Late Delivery from Avalon and the In the Beginning CDs best though I listen to several regularly. For me, the music evokes the emotion of the episodes/scenes they played in. I really like the new music that CF wrote for the DVDs.

    So why is it you weren't ready to listen to an entire CF CD?

    Jan

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  • iamsheridan
    replied
    Originally posted by Michael Malloy
    If you want to be a music critic, go earn a degree in music. Otherwise stick to things you understand.
    And if you don't have a degree in literature, you can't have an opinion about books, and if you don't have a degree in moviemakeing, you can't say anything about movies, and if you're not a race car driver, you can't say anything about cars, etc...

    And could you please tell us what level of education we need to have the right of an opinion. Is university a must, or is college enough?

    I used to love B5, but now I understand it's just an ill informed opinion. I'll stick to soaps from now on.


    FWIW, I really enjoyed Chen's music for B5. Not having any musical education whatsoever, I still think it enhanced the series.
    It's not the same as Franckes music, but I like it!

    /IamS

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  • CRONAN
    replied
    A degree in music is necessary to feel strongly about it one way or the other? Such crap.

    Taste is *not* a fact issue; its an opinion.

    Really, attempting to censor other peoples' opinions, no matter how amateurish or underdeveloped you think they are, is arrogance and snobbishness at its absolute worst : P

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  • AmyG
    replied
    At one time I considered being a composer, so when I read un-learned criticism of the work of one who has worked very hard to get where he is I am very sensitive about it.
    Then you'd better hope your music never gets performed publicly!

    I work with Pulitzer Prize-winning composers, people who have been asked into the Academy of Arts and Letters, people who are commissioned by every major orchestra and/or opera company on the planet, and they still get plenty of bad reviews. And sometimes the reviews are written by people who probably don't have an informed enough opinion to be criticizing, but that's the nature of the beast. If you do something and put it out there publicly, you have to assume that someone(s) isn't going to like it, and is going to be very _loud_ about that fact.

    My argument is that music is a difficult discipline, just as any art. It takes years of hard work just to qualify for try-outs.
    Yeah yeah, been there, done that. I'm a great singer, not entirely owing to my high-priced serious music education - and I have enough self-awareness to know that I'm good, and to not be self-conscious about saying it - but even I've been known to get a negative comment here and there. Usually unfounded, or by someone whose ear is so mainly comprised of tin that they ought to set off the alarms in every airport they visit. But the simple fact is that you can't please everyone all of the time. And Chen's music is simply not in the ordinary, pleasant tonality that most westerners are used to hearing in their film or tv scores. You can't tell me that it surprises you that people respond strongly negatively to Chen's music?!

    Most people want something more Mahleresque in their scores. Something that is easily ignorable. Chen's music is distinguished by being so bloody noticeable. And that's for good or for ill.

    A final thought - Please consider what you write as if the person you are writing about were reading over your shoulder. If you must criticise something, back up your criticism with tangible facts.
    The thing is, Chen's a professional, so he's probably a bit less dainty about receiving negative criticism than you think he is. I mean, sure, it probably irks him or bums him out - who really likes to be told "You stink!" But any performing professional working in their chosen field knows that it's an unavoidable hazard.

    I have no problem with someone expressing their opinion here, no matter how negative or unfounded. There's little chance that anyone would have mistaken that initial comment for peer-level critique, worthy of basing a buying (or signing) judgement on.

    Amy (the artist formerly known as Aisling)

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  • Michael Malloy
    replied
    We all have our passions. Mine is music.

    At one time I considered being a composer, so when I read un-learned criticism of the work of one who has worked very hard to get where he is I am very sensitive about it.

    I was a lead trumpet player in U.S. Navy Bands from 1967 to 1970 - that following the intensive and excellent Navy School of Music. After that I earned a bachelors degree in music history, the first step toward becoming a musicologist. I got off that bus when I saw my elder peers getting jobs selling insurance after earning their music PhD's.

    My argument is that music is a difficult discipline, just as any art. It takes years of hard work just to qualify for try-outs. You could say a degree from a good school or conservatory is a hunting license.

    How many people reading and contributing to this list have achieved a level of skill equal to Evan Chen?

    The music for A Call to Arms, and the music for Crusade as JMS has said were noticeably different from what preceded them with a purpose in mind.

    I agree, the music is quirky. But that is the charm of it! For me, this music is exciting and fresh.

    Just as I quickly found out I wasn't ready to listen to an uninterrupted CD of Christopher Franke's music, the same goes for the CD of music from Crusade. BUT, the music <SUPPORTS> the action of the drama very well, which is the purpose of this sort of music.

    After viewing A Call to Arms a couple of times recently I deeply regret that a CD of the music from that TV movie was not released. I think that particular music is superior to the whole of the music of Crusade, even though I adore the opening credits to Crusade.

    A final thought - Please consider what you write as if the person you are writing about were reading over your shoulder. If you must criticise something, back up your criticism with tangible facts.

    Leave a comment:

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