Thursday, January 3, 2008

Live From New York!... [Day One]

4:10 p.m. (EST) -- I'm writing this from the room The Departed was recorded in. I'm slightly more than half way through The Two Towers' theatrical takes. (Meaning I haven't dug into the DVD material yet.) Found some amazing stuff so far... alternate compositions, a GREAT potential Easter Egg, even one prominent vocalist performing another's song. I'm going cross-eyed from concentrating so long, but it's great! More later...

6:00 p.m. -- The Ents are attacking Isengard... listening through the sessions. Seems odd without the chorus there. Those sessions were held later.

Heh, just found a disc full of Peter Jackson's tam-tam performances!

7:45 p.m. -- Just began ROTK, which is interesting since Renée Fleming's material was all archived at the top of the pile, so I'm beginning at the end of the film. I'm going to break for the night now, but will be back online after dinner. Many, many incredible finds today. Back soon.

11:14 p.m. -- It's funny how a day of intense listening can wear a guy out! The Two Towers is officially sorted and logged at this point... and I'm in the hotel, holding my eyes open with toothpicks.

It’s fascinating to hear what took the most work on the scoring stage in 2002. The action set-piece barnburners, notey as they may be, aren’t always the ones to trip up performers. Sometimes the “simple” pieces also have the greatest intonation concerns. Those open fifths that Shore loves are very unforgiving! It’s also revealing to hear pieces without their choral components. Chorus was always recorded separately, so that means everything that was written with chorus also has a version without chorus. It’s still the same takes we’ve heard before, just dissected a bit.

But the real finds are the compositions that were eventually rewritten, I think, and TTT has several standouts. Real gems. Everyone already knows about the alternate end bit with Frodo, Sam and Gollum, but it’s just as fascinating to hear other ideas evolve in very different ways. Unlike Fellowship, where many of the prominent changes involves thematic usages, here the alternates often show a very different approach to the same material--a more savage bit of action music here, a more subdued reveal an emotional there. In a way, some of these changes are even more severe.

Seems like the first act got the most revisions on TTT… though that song at the end sure saw a lot of performers take a pass at it. Oh and remember, there was originally another song in TTT… You did get to hear it eventually, but it changed a little in the process.

I also got into synth mock-ups of some of the Rohan/Éowyn material. Very interesting, again, to hear what changed over time.

The day's biggest jaw-dropper of a revelation came courtesy of ROTK. In fact, I'm tempted to say that this particular find may well end up as everyone's favorite in the long run. It's a big one--a very big one. I'm trying not to think of it too much, if only in the selfish hope that I'll find something even more shocking tomorrow, so if I seem to be downplaying it, that's why. Of course, I did just type the words "It's a big one--a very big one," so maybe I'm not being quite as suave and aloof as I think. :)

Anyway, tomorrow morning a mug of coffee will meet my lack of sleep, a GPS will meet my pitiful lack of direction, and several drawers full of CDs will meet my insatiable appetite for this music. See you all then!


PS -- Forgot to mention, I also got to preview a few of Shore's upcoming works today. With a little more sleep I'd probably have been able to work the phrase "a fly on the wall" into a tease, but I'm not going to try right now. :)
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