- I Saved Christmas On Thursday
- No, really. I did, along with two other guys.
Timothy Dolan's T-1 went down that afternoon, and it needed to be repaired immediately because it wouldn't have been possible to arrange access on Christmas Eve day. This would have left the Archbishop of New York without any phone lines on Christmas, which apparently would have been a complete disaster on several levels (apparently Christmas is important to Catholics; who'da thunk?).
Luckily, there were three Special Services field technicians available to investigate and determine what the problem was (power to the fiberoptic multiplexer had been cut off due to construction elsewhere in the St. Patrick's Cathedral complex) and allow Christmas to proceed properly. His Eminence was quite thankful (he seemed rather a nice fellow), but I must admit to being somewhat jealous of Antoine, his chef. Damn, that smelled good.
I am looking forward to the eventual claymation holiday special.
- I will never cease to be baffled as to how easy it is for people to pass off junk science as actual science. It infuriates me to hear about how the scientific community "marginalizes" unconventional theories, mostly because that cry only seems to come up in reference to theories that don't have a chance standing up to peer review. Any scientific theory has to be testable with repeatable results; rather than doing the work, many of these people make their crackpot ideas public and make it into a relations issue, turning themselves into "victims." This is certainly true of Intelligent Design, but the attitude can be found in the plethora of 2012 nonsense floating around out there.
Recently, the Royal Society published a study in Biology Letters of an experiment conducted by 8 to 10 year-olds on how bees perceive color. Their work was completely (if unconventionally) documented and had merit when subjected to peer review. This proves that if your data is good, it doesn't matter where it comes from.
Speaking of interesting developments in science, a new species of humans has been confirmed. Along with Neanderthal and the "Hobbits," these "Denisovans," as they have been dubbed, co-existed and interbred with our ancestors until about 50,000 years ago.
- Here we go! "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has finally been repealed, so homosexual soldiers no longer have to pretend not to be in order to serve. The problem with DADT was not that it kept people from showing up for their shifts in chartreuse fatigues or engaging erotic play whilst on-duty. That person was not suited for the military, the same as any straight person who couldn't handle the military structure.
The problem with DADT was that perfectly good soldiers had to be constantly vigilant to keep themselves from saying something that might raise an eyebrow. And why would their orientation not come up in conversation? It is so unusual in any situation, military or civilian, to mention that you took the wife/husband or girlfriend/boyfriend or whatever to the museum when you were on leave last weekend? But a person who is gay would have to suddenly carefully choose their words to avoid terms like "companion" or "boy/girlfriend" just because it might hint that they're gay. That went beyond reasonable expectations of professionalism and became a violation of their intrinsic right to be who they are.
As for the question of whether or not it was the "right time" or America was "ready" for this… since when should the rights of one group of people be contingent upon how comfortable another group may be? Rights of this type aren't granted, they're fought for.
Which is why I think this article pretty much nailed the true motivations behind the bill's staunchest opponents. Ain't no hate like self-hate.
- In my comments about TRON: Legacy, I mentioned how after a rocky start I ended up greatly enjoying Daft Punk's contribution for the film. While certainly not a game-changer, it is nevertheless a solid score with an interesting electronica twist, great momentum and a fantastic theme that is developed well over the course of the film with a cathartic and emotionally engaging finale.
What I don't like was how the album is being marketed. There is the standard 22-track album. Then there was a limited edition two disc set with bonus tracks, which sold out before the film was released. Then there are exclusive bonus tracks from each iTunes, Amazon and Nokia. On top of that, several mono tracks were released before the film came out, two of which are part of the score but weren't duplicated on the record (another of which was a segment from the trailer).
It would be one thing if the 22-track album was, in fact, the best representation of the score, but several of the bonus tracks are actually quite important cues. I will leave the tracking down of the additional tracks to the reader and their wallets and/or conscience (I don't condone piracy, but neither do I think it right to force a person to buy a record four or five times to get all of the music they want rather than having a single, all-encompassing option), but I am presenting this rough guide as to the placement of the cues into the body of the album:
- The Grid (featuring Jeff Bridges)
- The Son of Flynn
- Encom, Part I (2 disc special edition)
- Encom, Part II (2 disc special edition)
- Alan Bradley's Message (mono score sample)
- Round One (2 disc special edition)
- The Game Has Changed
- Outlands, Part I ("Outlands" on the record album)
- Father and Son (iTunes exclusive)
- Flynn Remembers (mono score sample)
- Adagio for TRON
- Outlands, Part II (iTunes exclusive)
- End of Line
- Castor (2 disc special edition)
- Solar Sailer
- Sea of Simulation (Amazon exclusive)
- Reflections (2 disc special edition)
- Disc Wars
- Flynn Lives
- Sunrise Prelude (Nokia Ovi exclusive)
- TRON: Legacy (End Titles)
- Trailer Opening (mono score sample)
On a related note, this works better than it has any right to.
- Intrada's swan songs for the year were remastered, complete editions of two swashbuckling epics, Basil Poledouris' Flesh + Blood and Laurence Rosenthal's Clash of the Titans.
While the additional material from Flesh + Blood had been released before by Prometheus, that production featured the original soundtrack album cues followed by a suite of the additional material in inferior sound. One could put the whole thing into film order, but the discrepancy in sound quality made it a rather messy listen. Intrada's edition was sourced from the original master elements, meaning that not only do the additional cues sound much better, but so does the material from the original record. The orchestration comes across as being much more elaborate and distinctive on the new edition.
I've enjoyed this score since I first got the Varèse Sarabande Special Club release back in 1993. I found it an odd fit for the film; the score is quite bright and colorful and the movie itself is quite dark and grisly, but as a stand-alone listening experience it is an exciting score with a plethora of interesting thematic material.
- FORTUNE IS ALLY TO THE BRAVE
The announcement of Clash of the Titans was a leap-out-of-my-seat moment when I saw it. I can't express how important this score was to my interest in film music; as a child I could constantly be heard humming Pegasus' theme. I was disappointed when I finally saw Red Sonja not so much because the movie wasn't all that great, but because Clash of the Titans was used for the trailers but bore little relationship to what Ennio Morricone composed for that film (the subject of a recent, decent Perseverance release).
The original LP of Clash of the Titans was a great album for its day; PEG issued the LP program on CD, later expanded with three additional tracks. This was all fine and dandy, but this is a one of those highly thematic and richly detailed scores of a grand scale, and so to have the complete score available for the first time ever is just wonderful.
It was worth the wait. Rosenthal's dramatic sensibilities melded well with the Richard Strauss sound that the filmmakers were looking for, and the two discs are just bursting with themes, leitmotifs, variations and stunning orchestral acrobatics. This is the London Symphony Orchestra at their explosive best, and several of the set-pieces that were truncated originally now play out in full and take on greater dimension. "Medusa" in particular benefits from the expansion, the shifting textures working just as much to describe the slithery character as to hit the dramatic notes of the scene. And I have to admit that, as much as I respect and enjoy Laurence Olivier, hearing "The Constellations" without his narration as Zeus flowing into that beautiful brass fanfare that begins the end credits was a moment that filled me with great joy.
Intrada has done some phenomenal work with Rosenthal's music this past year, with releases of such brilliant scores as Requiem for a Heavyweight, A Raisin In the Sun and The Miracle Worker. This release of his most famous and beloved work is the perfect capper to an excellent year of releases.
There are times in life when one hears a particular piece of music that hits one where it counts. Requiem for a Heavyweight was a nice, jazz-infused score, but A Raisin In the Sun is a dense, emotive dramatic score which was such a case. While Clash of the Titans represents Rosenthal's bolder adventure style (as featured along with Joel McNeely's work on the four albums for The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles) which is quite popular and rousing, I would have to say that A Raisin In the Sun and The Miracle Worker represents the composer's best work.
- Another gem is the FSM release of John Scott's North Dallas Forty. This is a really funky bit of 70s fun with some disco thrown in for good measure. It's also a case where the bonus tracks are just as diverting as anything in the score proper! I wasn't too familiar with this score outside of its appearance on the (superb) John Scott Conducts His Favorite Scores recording, but I was quickly sold on the disc by the sound samples when I ordered Poltergeist (an outstanding release that I'm still reeling from). This ended up being a very repeatable album!
- The influx of new music hasn't meant neglecting my Lord of the Rings compilation. I am still working on it, I have achieved a rough draft of both discs. I am, however, still refining some of the tracks and working on the order (the first disc was "locked" for a grand total of three hours before I started changing stuff around again). I'm slaughtering a few more babies and making a stronger overall presentation. I do wish I could squeeze an extra ten minutes per disc, damn it. Ah, well.
GO AHEAD, YOU CAN ASK NOW
KNOCKING ON THE SKY AND LISTENING TO THE SOUND…
LANCE THE BOILS
A SWIFT SUNRISE