May 26th, 2007

Williams (film composer)

Anniversary Shmanniversary

I had completely redone my Indiana Jones mix over the course of the week. While I was, for the most part, mimicking the original edits I had made on the original version of the mix, I was this time correcting for sound level and smoothing out two transitions at the beginning and end of the album. This was pretty involved, even if the result doesn't sound overly different from the previous version.

I have only given out a copy of the new Star Wars trilogy mix to Russ, and after I did so I realized that it might be prudent to come up with some way of distinguishing this disc from its predecessor, as I retained the same design. While the revision made on this album had nothing to do with the anniversary of the release of Star Wars yesterday, I felt that since the timing worked out, I may as well use that as the 'hook,' or at least a means to distinguish the good disc from the not so good one. So I am now referring to it as the "30th Anniversary Edition." Why not?

Well, I also decided to give my prequel trilogy mix an extremely minor facelift as well. In this case, I only made slight adjustments to my existing master, but I managed to smooth out a few things. This was not a terribly intrusive job, but since I had to change the artwork to reflect the changes I was making anyway, I decided to mirror the design of the original trilogy mix; I'm using the same Anakin/Padmé image, but now scaled down and placed in a frame as the image on the original trilogy mix was. I also changed the color scheme of the text on the CD itself to reflect that of this mix, as opposed to the original trilogy mix. And, since the are indeed part of a set, this is also a "30th Anniversary Edition."

Now... the Indy mix consititues the fifth mix I've made in as many weeks... were I to include the Star Wars prequel trilogy revision (which I wouldn't, as I said, I didn't really take apart the master completely, just did a few nips and tucks here and there) that would be six discs in five weeks. My mix list has been updated to reflect these alterations in the entries.

One of the things that makes film music so interesting to me is the concept of music as storytelling. This is most apparent in the more operatic works, of course, which is one of the reasons why my tastes often lean in that direction. The art of fusing images with music is, in many ways, a more pure cinema than dialogue might allow. A good score can not only set a mood for a scene, but also express the experiences of the characters and the world they inhabit.


This clip from Conan the Barbarian illustrates this concept very well. The music begins with glittering mysterioso textures, which emerge from the howling of the wolves, then proceeds to illustrate not only the majesty of Ron Cobb's arresting tomb, but Conan's uneasy feeling that he is being called to by the corpse of the king. There is only one line - Conan's shouts "Crom" as an expletive, then realizates that this find may have been the will of his god; this is scored with a the part of Conan's theme associated with "The Riddle of Steel" and his father's teachings at the beginning of the film. The conclusion of the cue is bolder and more confident as Conan, now in posession of the Atlantean Sword, emerges from the tomb to turn his lupine pursuiers into garments more appropriate for the steppe. All of these moments are 'hit,' but the piece of music is fully formed, with a beginning, middle and an end.