Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Elfman vs. Williams - Cage Match
So I went to rehearsal for the community orchestra last night, expecting to be welcomed with the same music we always play in the summer - the same arrangements of the same musicals and oldies.
Well. Wasn't I pleasantly surprised? The theme this summer is the movies, so the concert is chock-full of great stuff.
First. A really great arrangement (basically the same as the original, but just abridged) of 'An American in Paris' including a teeny 3 measure cello solo! Gershwin is such a favorite of mine.
Then, an incredible compilation of John Williams' movie themes.
And we're talking the real deal. Not some babied down arrangements. It's as if they plucked right from the movie scores. He wrote some complex rhythms. It was from when he was honored at the Kennedy Center and included Superman, Star Wars, Jaws, Harry Potter and Raiders of the Lost Ark. All the great, instantly-recognizable themes.
Next we pull out selections of melodies from Rocky. Now scoff if you want, but there are some crazy, kick-ass string lines in there. Bill Conti wrote some amazing stuff. Complex, very touching motifs that really work to convey the character. I love how dated the music sounds but it's just so recognizable at the same time.
THEN.....an arrangement of themes from Spiderman. Written by my most favorite movie score composer of all time: Danny Elfman!! I have his cds of movie score music and I just sit enraptured by it. And I knew it had to be impossibly hard, especially when you listen to how layered it all is - you've got the strings playing this crazy-fast ostenato, strangely beautiful melodies that are almost always haunting, and just absolutely brilliant music. I was in heaven.
So needless to say, I was deliriously happy with what we're playing. The only exception was this arrangement of James Bond themes. It's a real clumsy arrangement - the songs are dumbed-down rhythmically, they're in different keys than they were written in and the transitions from song to song are very cumbersome. But, it's still fun to play.
So who would win a cage match between Danny Elfman and John Williams?
Oh, and my abdomen seems to be behaving better. No more searing gas pain and no kidney pain as of late. So either the stone has vacated the premises or it's hiding quietly and plotting it's next wave of terror against me.