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Art of the Score

Andrew Pogson, Nicholas Buc and Dan Golding

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Art of the Score is the podcast that explores, demystifies and celebrates some of the greatest soundtracks of all time from the world of film, TV and video games. In each episode we’ll be joined by Andrew Pogson, Dan Golding and Nicholas Buc as we check out a soundtrack we love and break down its main themes, explore what makes the score tick and hopefully impart our love of the world of soundtracks.
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In 1990, Kevin Costner’s Dances With Wolves set the film world alight, and won seven Academy Awards in the process. But what about the score? In this episode, we take a look at the music of John Barry – who, although best known for his Bond scores, here manages to create something at once completely Barry-esque and wholly unique for a film about the flawed myth at the heart of American cinema’s greatest genre: the Western. Episode notes: 2:58 – Dances With Wolves as a Western 6:00 – An indie production and adaptation 9:30 – John Barry 10:21 – Basil Poledouris’s near miss with Dances With Wolves 12:40 – The John Dunbar theme, and comparisons with Lonesome Dove and Legends of the Fall 14:30 – The John Barry ‘mythic’ mode, comparison with Out of Africa and Chaplin 18:30 – The ‘breathing’ nature of the John Dunbar theme, and his pop music origins 21:50 – Solo trumpet version of the Dunbar theme, comparison with Legends of the Fall 24:00 – Dunbar theme on harmonica, and the use of harmonica in Barry’s work 26:11 – The threatening, solo flute version of the Dunbar theme 28:24 – Mournful version of the Dunbar theme for the slaughtered Buffalo 30:35 – The ‘album version’ of the Dunbar theme during the hunt, with comparison to Barry’s 007 theme 34:15 – The ‘film version’ of the hunt theme, with comparison to The Big Country 37:25 – The love theme 41:35 – The ‘Two Socks’ wolf theme 44:37 – Comparison with A View To A Kill 46:33 – The Sioux motif 49:50 – Traditional musical representations of Native American clichés, comparison with The Searchers 52:10 – The Pawnee motif 55:00 – Development of Pawnee motif with threatening children’s themes 59:23 – Brusque French Horn performance of the Pawnee theme 1:00:25 – Comparison with The Living Daylights 1:02:33 – Leaving Fort Sedgewick and the travelling music 1:06:22 – The Buffalo motif, and comparison with The Living Daylights 1:10:10 – Andrew’s argument that the music represents the film’s geography 1:11:25 – The fire dance by Peter Buffett 1:14:05 – Barry’s compositional style and his legacy We’d love to hear from our listeners – get in touch via Twitter, and if you like The Art of the Score, please take a moment to subscribe, rate and comment.

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You’re sitting in a darkened movie theatre, and the latest, highly anticipated blockbuster is about to play. The ads are over, the trailers are all done, and the lights dim. What’s this? Why, it’s Art of the Score Episode 34, as we investigate a fascinating and often-overlooked area of film music history – studio fanfares. From 20th Century Fox to MGM’s Leo the Lion roar and many more, over the next two episodes we’ll be revealing the secrets behind the musical moments that open the movies and set the musical agenda, and telling the stories behind the studios and the composers who made them. Show notes: 6:02 – The origins of the fanfare 8:51 – The studio system and the sound of the Big Five 12:15 – MGM: Lions, Stars, and Celebrities, oh my! 15:31 – RKO: Morse code, crime, and Howard Hughes 20:20 – Paramount Pictures on Parade (allegedly) 21:28 – 20th Century Fox – Alfred Newman (1933) 27:22 – Warner Brothers – Max Steiner (1937) 33:05 – The Little Three (that’s Andrew, Nick, and Dan) 33:33 – Universal Studios, Tchaikovsky, and Superman – Jimmy McHugh (1936) 40:30 – United Artists (so united they didn’t have a fanfare) 41:40 – Columbia – Mischa Bakaleinikoff (1934) 43:21 – Beyond the Big Five and the Little Three 44:33 – Selznick International – Alfred Newman (1936) 47:30 – The Art of the Score fanfare – Thaddeus Buc (1935) 49:54 – Into the 1950s: lawsuits, widescreens, and the birth of television 52:07 – VistaVision – Nathan van Cleeve (1952) 56:11 – CinemaScope – 20th Century Fox – Alfred Newman expands his fanfare (1954) 1:01:39 – MGM – Leo the Lion (1957) 1:02:34 – The Art of the Score fanfare – Jerry Buc (1960) 1:04:38 – The emergence of television and the NBC chime 1:07:44 – Desilu – Wilber Hatch (1966) 1:10:52 – The Art of the Score fanfare – Teddy Buc (1970) 1:15:48 – Paramount’s Parade – Lalo Schifrin (1970), Jerry Goldsmith (1976 and 1977) 1:22:24 – Columbia – Suzanne Ciani (1976) 1:24:48 – Walt Disney Productions - When You Wish Upon a Star (1972) 1:32:04 – PBS – Paul Alan Levi (1971) 1:33:18 – Associated Film Distribution (1978) Links mentioned: Yorgason and Lyon’s journal article on Max Steiner’s Warner Bros. fanfare - https://www.mtosmt.org/issues/mto.20.26.2/mto.20.26.2.yorgason_lyon.html Kirk Hamilton’s Strong Song’s episode on David Bowie – https://strongsongspodcast.com/episode/space-oddity-and-starman-by-david-bowie We love to hear from our listeners – get in touch via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and if you like The Art of the Score, please take a moment to subscribe, rate and comment.

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In Episode 26, we return to the world of Blade Runner for the 1982 film’s long-belated sequel. Directed by Denis Villeneuve, and with a soundtrack by Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer, Blade Runner 2049 has a different sound and a different set of thematic ideas. But how does the music work, and what is all this interlinked stuff about, anyway? To help us answer those questions – and more – we’re once again joined by the brilliant synth expert Seja Vogel (whose fantastic podcast, where she interviews musicians, you should check out here: http://sejamusic.com). Episode notes: 5:01 – How the sequel came to be 8:06 – Jóhann Jóhannsson, and what could’ve been 12:43 – Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer 16:52 – The opening title card (the Memory theme) 19:25 – Or is it the Puzzle theme? 21:24 – The 2049 Melody (the Soul theme) 27:36 – Sapper Morton’s musical secret 35:08 – Voices in the furnace 38:30 – Sound design 40:48 – The rebel’s fan fair 45:44 – The return of the opening chords 49:18 – Synth talk with Seja 52:32 – Seja talks us through her reconstruction of 2049’s opening cue 1:03:11 – The final product 1:08:26 – Joi’s theme 1:12:56 – Wallace’s throat singing 1:25:05 – Flight to the LAPD 1:29:03 – Sea Wall 1:36:18 – Tears In (The) Rain 1:41:15 – The Mesa Melody 1:46:09 – The scoreless moments 1:49:10 – D for Diegetic 1:52:44 – Punching with Presley 1:55:48 – One For My Baby, and One For The Replicant 2:02:40 – Peter and the Wallace 2:11:13 – Final thoughts We love to hear from our listeners – get in touch via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and if you like The Art of the Score, please take a moment to subscribe, rate and comment.
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In Episode 22 we travel to the distant Hyborian era with Basil Poledouris’ muscular score for 1982’s Conan the Barbarian. As the gold standard for high fantasy prior to Howard Shore’s Lord of the Rings epics, Poledouris’ lush and orchestral score creates entire musical worlds and carries much of the emotion in this sparsely-dialogued film. Join us as we take a journey with the Riders of Doom and listen to this fantastic work of musical fantasy. Episode notes: 5:35 – The secrets to Conan’s success 9:22 – John Milius’s machismo 13:38 – Basil Poledouris’ score 19:54 – Conan’s canon – what era does the music come from? 22:45 – Anvil of Crom: the Hyborian rhythm and Nick’s rave remake 30:20 – Twenty-four French Horns and Total Recall’s Barbaric Recall 38:28 – Conan’s theme 48:10 – Double reeds and the passing of time 58:21 – The love theme, and saying more than Arnold through music 1:10:00 – The Riders of Doom theme 1:14:55 – O Fortuna’s influence on Conan (and film music generally) 1:19:34 – Conan’s Battle on the Ice 1:21:44 – The Wheel of Fifths 1:24:51 – Doom’s Dies Irae 1:38:16 – The Wheel of Pain’s ostinato 1:43:06 – Waltzing through theology 1:47:42 – The villain’s music for the hero’s journey – in the kitchen 1:49:28 – Waltzing through an orgy 1:57:07 – The Pit Fights and the Mountain of Power, via 1950s sword and sandal epics 2:03:49 – Conan’s Firebird finale We love to hear from our listeners – get in touch via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and if you like The Art of the Score, please take a moment to subscribe, rate and comment.
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In Episode 20 we conclude our three-part retrospective of the music of Bond, James Bond. Having already covered the pioneering Bond sound of John Barry and the funk of the Moore era, in our final episode we make it through the emergence of David Arnold as the Bond musical heir apparent, and Thomas Newman’s recent work. Join us as we finally answer the question to end all questions: which is the greatest Bond score of all time, and which is the greatest song? Episode notes: 3:45 – Arnold, David Arnold 7:04 – Tomorrow Never Plays the Fanfare 11:25 – The fanboy composer? 13:05 – Surrender’s presence in the score 19:23 – Arnold’s neo-Barry romance writing 23:48 – The World Is Sort Of Enough 28:00 – Arnold’s muscular action writing – the submarine escape 33:48 – Score Another Way (electronically) in Die Another Day 40:04 – Bond joins the choir 44:25 – Blond, James Blond 50:18 – Parkour percussion 54:10 – You Know My Chord Progression 59:20 – Vesper’s Theme 1:01:28 – Quantum of Solace 1:05:08 – Watery woodwinds at the opera 1:07:40 – DC3s, tempo, chromaticism, and the peak of Arnold’s action music 1:10:48 – Thomas Newman, Bond’s new man 1:12:35 – M’s retiring brass statements 1:16:50 – Bond on a boat 1:19:47 – Severine and Newman’s romantic strings 1:26:45 – A Spectre haunts 007 1:30:10 – The Writing’s On The Train 1:32:08 – At the end: our favourite score, and our favourite song We love to hear from our listeners – get in touch via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and if you like The Art of the Score, please take a moment to subscribe, rate and comment.
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In Episode 21 we finally make good on our long-held promise to explore the world of videogame music, with Austin Wintory’s beautiful score for thatgamecompany’s Journey. Crucial to the experience of Journey, Wintory’s music was recognized with a Grammy nomination and is widely held to be one of the greatest videogame scores of all time. Join us as we take a videogame diversion and analyse this gorgeous soundtrack. Episode notes: 5:20 – How does videogame music differ from film or television? 8:50 – Dan’s complicated menu music 10:05 – thatgamecompany’s journey to Journey, and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s ‘flow’ 16:12 – The rise of independent videogame development and aesthetics 18:20 – Nascence and Wintory’s main Journey theme 21:50 – Tina Guo’s cello, Amy Tatum’s flute, and Charissa Barger’s harp 26:30 – Solo cello in Tan Dun’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Hans Zimmer’s The Last Samurai 31:20 – Journey’s central weenie 33:45 – The Call, the sonic palate cleanser 38:10 – The Mountain 41:33 – Sound design and music in Journey 44:02 – The First Confluence and the absence of a downbeat 48:48 – The Bridge and the Second Confluence 51:50 – The first encounter and Journey’s dance 55:30 – ‘I was born for this’ 58:05 – The Desert’s Threshold and the musical interactivity of Journey 1:04:10 – The melancholy beauty of the machines 1:10:25 – The Descent, and Nick’s musical snowboarding adventures 1:20:16 – The Belly of the Whale’s Serpent 1:26:08 – The gaze of the sentinals 1:28:18 – Journey’s achingly beautiful string writing and Arvo Pärt’s Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten 1:34:40 – Atonement and the giant structure 1:38:56 – Journey’s Buddhist links 1:47:03 – The ascent to the peak (‘The Crossing’) 1:55:12 – The nadir 2:01:10 – Apotheosis and the hero realised 2:12:24 – The return to Tina Guo’s solo cello 2:18:28 – What does Journey mean? Is it a metaphor? 2:21:22 – The Return? Finally, if listeners are unfamiliar with Journey, we highly recommend checking out this video recording of a playthrough of the game from start to finish: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkL94nKSd2M We love to hear from our listeners – get in touch via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and if you like The Art of the Score, please take a moment to subscribe, rate and comment.
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