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  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,746 Figment

    So would you consider an orchestral film score to be classical music or would you be purists? I am a big fan of scores and prefer them(there are many crap ones as well) to most of the "classical" pieces out there.


  • I would consider some to be classical; for example, I quite enjoy some pieces of the score to 'The Piano' by Michael Nyman or some things by the regrettably late Michael Kamen - many of his pieces were classical-orientated. But it is fair to say that most film scores while using classical instrumentation do not have the same form as strictly classical pieces and so while I would enjoy much John Barry or Howard Shore or whatever, I would not rank them as classical music.

  • I think it's quite natural for people to attach handles to things that are difficult to manage but those we choose to attach to our musical (and probably literary) genres are probably some of the slipperiest, least easily handled.

    The definition of what is popularly described as "classical music" has surely been discussed at great length elsewhere but let's chew it over again and throw in a few opinions for good measure !!

    I often think that if some string quartet were to record a version of "A Whole Lot Of Love" they'd manage to get air play on Lyric (or any other "classical music" station) but the same situation would and does not occur when a "rock" artist records some piece by Stravinsky. So it can't be to do with the composer, it must be something to do with the instrumentation used.

    There is quite a lot of listener prejudice surrounding this subject, in some circles almost to the point of "I hear a violin, it must be classical music therefore I don't like it". The benefits of a "classical" training are often referred to by musicians but this doesn't mean that the listening public wish to hear these same musicians displaying the results of such a training. I'd say this is particularly so with the "classical voice"....(I'm using selective ignorance to filter out the popularity of the Irish Tenors, the Celtic Tenors, the American Tenors etc etc etc etc which personally I find unfathomable.) I enjoy opera but I absolutely hate the elitist snobbery that surrounds the Irish opera scene. God forbid all the snot nosed little oiks should start liking opera and spoil the lovely opportunitys we have to dress up in monkey suits and hang out with Tarquin and Jocinta hey lads??

    You don't hear an awful lot of electric guitar or "synthesizer" in "classical" music, but take a look at many highly respected contempory composers and you find lots of use of electronic instruments. Odd then that people like Vangelis, Tomita, Tangerine Dream and others wouldn't be included in the average "classical" station's play list. It would be very difficult (I think) to differentiate between their purely electronic compositions and those of Stockhausen etc.

    So are we saying that somebody makes the selection based on individual composers and decides if they are "classical" or not?? That doesn't sound very reasonable. Who would make that decision and based on what grounds? It would become very difficult for so called "cross over" composers and quite embarrassing in that many respected 20th century composers contributed music to films....ah, but film music is acceptable, you hear plenty of it on Lyric so it must be classical.....

    I would choose the late great Frank Zappa as probably the most contradictory musical stylists. Writing extremeley intricate orchestral and ensemble pieces along side rather unique but still recognisable rock and blues, mixing orchestras, rock musicians and purely electronic instruments in his compositions. Talk about cross-over styling, some of his pieces were originally written for orchestra, found their way into Zappa's rock ensemble repetoire for touring then were eventually re-worked for orchestra once again....but you won't hear much Zappa on Lyric.

    Personally I think there have been some fantastic film scores. I'd even go so far as to say film music composers have contributed more good music to the orchestral repetoire over the last 50 years than composers outside the industry. I think it's undeniable that if the medium had been around at the time Mozart would have been producing film music insead of (ok...maybe as well as) operas.

    Some people would criticise some film music because it doesn't stand up all that well on its own (ie without the pictures). I'd argue that there are some "classical" pieces that could do with some pictures to watch while you're listening because otherwise they're a bit boring, but that's down to individual tastes.

    Is music written for film classical? Do you want it to be? If so then it is.

    At the end of the day neither musical form, composer or instrumentation make "classical" music "classical". Music is acceptably "classical" when "we", the listening public, the "elite", "upper echelon", "high brow" types that aparantly listen to this stuff say so.