Anonymous asked
How do you feel about the 'Snowpiercer' score? What about the film as a whole (if you've seen it)?

I’ll talk about the film first:

Getting this over with right off the bat: Snowpiercer has one of the most original concepts for an action movie that I have seen in a long time. I was totally immersed in the world and the backstory & explanation of culture within the train is handled impeccably. The cast all turn in “competent” to “down-right brilliant” performances, with Tilda Swinton definitely being the standout, while Chris Evans has his moments as well. The action is well-filmed, and the design of the interior cars get more and more breathtaking as the film progresses. These are all things the film has going for it.
However, there’s always the popular critique of this film: the CGI wasn’t great. I can’t disagree with this. The outside of the train was untextured and I didn’t buy it as the frozen landscape that the world had become. These effects reminded me of The Day After Tomorrow…a film that is now 10 years old. What I like is that the film doesn’t ride on the success of these effects, like most action movies do. The exciting scenes lean more towards the gritty, realistic style, and I think the practical effects made me forget about the subpar CGI for most of the film. 
But the movie falls apart at the ending. I will not go into spoilers, but the last 20 minutes bored me to near-tears. The film builds up lovely, and right when tensions are at their highest, the movie loses all of its steam. I’m all for a more quiet, character-driven climax. And I’m equally all for action-packed climaxes. But this movie tries to do both simultaneously, and the results are a big, flat convoluted mess, with characters either standing around directionless, or running around directionless. 
Ultimately, I give the movie a 7/10, which is my “Really Good” rating. I do recommend it, I think the first 3/4ths of the film are outstandingly directed, but last bit is such a shame.

Now, the score:

Marco Beltrami has made a name for himself as a go-to for action and horror movies. This is his niche, and if his music here is any indication of his feelings toward the film, he sounds right at home. For most of the film, the music is more subdued, and underscores the scene with appropriate dreariness. But a few of the cues definitely caught my attention while watching: The opening scene, the scene where the revolt officially begins, the axe-fight scene/torch-bearer scene, & the music heard during the climax. All of those cues are ear-catching and exciting, and the end credit music is great as well. Love the snare drum. That’s about all I can really say about it. It’s a well written score, it works. It’s nothing I was humming while leaving the theater, but it works. I’d also give the score a 7/10. 

amorydreams:

Today I learned that a composer named Erwin Schulhoff wrote a completely tacet piece as the third movement of his “Fünf Pittoresken" for piano. His piece pre-dates John Cage’s 4’33” by 30 years, and is actually much more suggestive as to how the silence should be shaped, containing really complex rhythmic rests and lines to the rests. His successful career was cut short due to the Rise of the Nazi Regime in Germany and their strict rules on music, and because of this, his pieces are very rarely played or referenced to.

This is very cool, and I did not know this person existed.However, the comparison to 4’33” misses the point of Cage’s “chance music” concept completely. The point of 4’33” is NOT the way the silence is notated, but how through silence, the natural sounds of the world reveal themselves. Schulhoff’s idea favors a more ‘virtuosic silence’ on the part of the performer, while Cage’s piece is more of a twisted idea of audience participation. 

amorydreams:

Today I learned that a composer named Erwin Schulhoff wrote a completely tacet piece as the third movement of his “Fünf Pittoresken" for piano. His piece pre-dates John Cage’s 4’33” by 30 years, and is actually much more suggestive as to how the silence should be shaped, containing really complex rhythmic rests and lines to the rests. His successful career was cut short due to the Rise of the Nazi Regime in Germany and their strict rules on music, and because of this, his pieces are very rarely played or referenced to.

This is very cool, and I did not know this person existed.

However, the comparison to 4’33” misses the point of Cage’s “chance music” concept completely. The point of 4’33” is NOT the way the silence is notated, but how through silence, the natural sounds of the world reveal themselves. Schulhoff’s idea favors a more ‘virtuosic silence’ on the part of the performer, while Cage’s piece is more of a twisted idea of audience participation. 

"I don’t want to see Lucy because it perpetuates the myth that we only use 10% of our brain capacity.”

Is it really that odd that Hollywood has made a movie about something that’s not real? 

10oclockdot:

One of the best things about Erik Satie is that after a certain point in his life he started to pepper his piano miniature scores with all sorts of bizarre performance instructions meant to destabilize even the most seasoned performers.

Stuff like “With conviction and a rigorous sadness,” “With a healthy superiority,” “Don’t eat too much,” “Hypocritically,” “Shake like a leaf,” “Do not cough,” “Go away,” or “Like a nightingale with a toothache.”

For years I had heard about these directions, but without any kind of authoritative list of them I decided to download all the Erik Satie scores at IMSLP and screenshot my favorites.  There got to be so many that I had to present them in this sort-of-powerpoint format.  This collection isn’t anywhere near exhaustive, but it’s a nice introduction.  (The translations are for the most part my own, and I welcome any corrections.)

Oh, and if you’d like to read a nice introduction to Satie’s life, the proto-postmodern invention of “furniture music,” that time he founded his own religion, and the piece he wrote with 840 repeats in it, click here.