A spoonful of bombast
Something called "Star Wars and the Treble Invaders" is coming to the Civic under the auspices of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic this Sunday, and I am disinclined to snicker. Lileks knows why:
At one of the Minnesota Youth Symphony concerts I MCd last year, they performed "Duel of the Fates" from a Star Wars movie, complete with a huge chorus. Two hundred people on stage, sawing and belting with great gusto at Orchestra Hall. They enjoyed it. Because it was fun to perform. A guilty pleasure, but what counts more the guilt or the pleasure? Look, I love Berlioz more than John Williams, because Symphonie fantastique is an incomparable work, and the Tuba Miram never fails to part my hair. But if I had to choose between the two, I might take Williams. He's produced 100X as much stuff, and listening to it does not feel as if I'm sitting in the Church of Classical Music in itchy church pants. I can skip around, whereas I always feel wrong if I FF through a Mahler adagio because I'm just not in the mood. Itís cheap popular program music, yes but such large portions!
And one does not lure the kiddies into the classical camp with Das Lied von der Erde, for sure.
Posted at 7:14 AM to Tongue and Groove
I have nothing against soundtracks--in fact, I enjoy listening to them and I'm somewhat of a soundtrack freak (although I have to say, compared to some other soundtrack composers, I'm not so enamored with Williams). The thing is, I would rather play classical than movie music. I think it has to do more with freedom of interpretation--it's more acceptable to put your own spin on a classical piece, but everyone's been to the movies and they expect things to be played a certain way.
Makes sense. With a classical piece, you can take the third-movement repeat or pass it up; you can crank up the tempo or slow it down (I have two recordings of Ravel's Boléro that vary by four whole minutes, and don't ask why I would have two recordings of Boléro); you can fiddle with the dynamics. With a film score, about all you can do is resequence it into a suite.