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10849Re: [mythsoc] Howard Shore

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  • David Bratman
    Dec 29, 2003
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      At 01:55 PM 12/28/2003 -0600, Jay Hershberger wrote:

      >A decade or too back, I read an article by a musicologist who argued that
      >movies in the 20th century had functionally replaced 19th century opera. He
      >also argued that Wagner's vision of the "music drama"--an integration of
      >music, theatre, and visual art--had been achieved by Hollywood in ways
      >Wagner himself little anticipated.

      Wagner was interested in any technological means that would help him tell
      his story in the way he wanted, and I've no doubt that he would have
      employed electronic amplification, sound recording, and film, had he lived
      to see them. He certainly wouldn't have consented to write music for
      someone else's films, though. Either he'd have become a complete film
      auteur - writing, directing, producing, and composing - as he did for his
      operas; or else he'd have employed film in stage productions, a la Steve
      Reich and Beryl Korot's "Three Tales" (one of which I've seen performed).

      >IMO, Howard Shore understood his task very well in Jackson's trilogy. His
      >use of the leitmotif and the technique of thematic transformation is evident
      >throughout the films, and finds greatest expression in the final
      >installment. This musician found Shore's writing in the ROTK to be more
      >nuanced, subtle, and a full-flowered harvest of the musical elements found
      >in the previous films. I found his musical understatement of the climax of
      >the film's plot to be quite effective.

      Sure, he understood his task. And I noted and appreciated his ability to
      make more intelligent use of his leitmotifs than most film composers would
      do. He can develop and transform in a better than average way. Yet there
      were musical choices in this film I considered very unwise and unsupportive
      of the drama - I mentioned this in my original post. And a hack, though a
      competent hack, Shore remains: his work usually performs its surface task,
      but it entirely lacks the depth of the story it's trying to support.

      - David Bratman
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