|Peter, how can I dispute the brilliance of Duke Ellington at such a momentous time that finds us on the same side of an issue? :)|
Adam, I very much appreciated your post here (though I am honestly at a loss as to how Michael N. would evaluate your explicit endorsement of film scores partially because they are "lucrative").
I won't dispute (and haven't disputed) the notion that classical idioms are of a complex sort; what I have said is that the complexity differs between classical and jazz idioms. As an artist, you might justifiably find the former idiom to be more challenging, and an outlet for a greater range of your self-expression. But I know plenty of artists who were trained classical musicians, and who would say the same thing about jazz, precisely because of its demands on "spontaneous" composition (or improvisation) and its complex polyrhythmic forms. (Indeed, artists as varied as Andre Previn and Wynton Marsalis, who studied, performed, and recorded in the classical idiom, ultimately said that jazz improvisation provided them with the greater range of self-expression. To each his own!)
I appreciate greatly your comments on scope and film scores, though I am not fully sold on those distinctions you suggest between opera-ballet and scores. (I think an argument can be made that opera and ballet still express a story, and that the music is not as independent of the story as one might think; in any event, there are plenty of classic Broadway musicals that follow the same pattern as opera, but I bet that some here would still say an "opera" is "superior.")
Be that as it may, what you have expressed about the distinction between film scores and concert works mirrors Rozsa's views: Rozsa never saw film scoring as inferior in its technical aspects and his film scores express a distinctive character---as do the scores of other great film score composers: I can tell (almost immediately) the difference among scores written by the masters of film scoring precisely because of their distinctive styles, which they bring to any work---whether it be a Biblical epic, a film noir, a Western, or a sci-fi extravaganza. The distinctive styles of the composers show up no matter what, whether we're talking about a Rozsa score or scores written by John Williams, Bernard Herrmann, Alfred Newman, Alex North, or Max Steiner. Rozsa expressed a distinctive style and vision through his film scores, but film scoring as such was a distinctive genre, in his view: "Film-making is a composite art, a Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk, and film music should be written this way," he wrote. Still, Adam, he would have agreed with you: he found the composition of concert works in a classical "idiom" to be most expressive of a fully self-generated artistic vision. But like you, he extolled the virtues of film scoring, often adopted his film scores for the concert hall, and didn't see his "double life" as requiring any "sell-out" of his artistic integrity. Indeed, there is not a film score to his credit that does not express the authenticity of Rozsa's art.
I've said what I believe is all that I can say on this particular thread about this issue. So, I'm moving on... thanks for the engagement.
(Edited by sciabarra on 4/15, 6:23am)