This site will work and look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Emma? Honey...? War?"
11943 members | you are not logged in | 24 April 2014












October 28 2005

Scoring the 'Verse with David Newman. The Serenity composer talks about his involvement in the movie (via Cinescape who also review the soundtrack and rate it very highly). Soundtrack.net has a review of the score as well and gives it 3 1/2 stars out of 4 (big spoilers in that link btw).

I've added Wiseblood's link to this thread.

Love the Serenity soundtrack. Very glad that I purchased it.
I really think Serenity score has Oscar potential.
Tell me I'm not alone in that :P
I really love the soundtrack,too. I was foolish enough to post that opinion at Amazon and was *soundly* berated for it. Some of the criticism was justified from "their" point of view because the Newman score is unconventional, and he did leave out the Firefly song at the end. One reviewer called it "orchestral noise", an insult that I cannot comprehend, since I found the music a perfect match to the action onscreen. The tracks are short and deliberately "incidential" - the music doesn't announce the story, it intensifies it. There are no "Imperial Marches" and no "Bicylces Over the Moon" intended to make a *statement*, just moment after moment of intense emotion. I received the CD before I saw the film, and the music almost brought me to tears, it was just so *moving*.

The "problem" with the score is that most soundtrack fans expect to get an organized work, complete with a haunting love song and a big, booming victory theme - but the music of Serenity lacks these things. As well it should, since "Serenity" doesn't have a big love story, or a booming victory to score. Just as the smaller events onscreen in "Serenity" pull together to make the movie so wonderful, it is the brevity, for want of a better term, of the score that makes it so special.

Anyway, that's how I hear it.
Yeah, I was kind of concerned about the score, because although I enjoyed it during the film, people seem to have quite mixed reactions about how it works out of context, but I finally got it today and love it.

I just think it's very different from most of what you hear today, as Newman says in this interview, almost every film these days, apart from maybe comedies, have the typical, big booming orchestral score, and whilst that often works very well, that's not always the case if it isn't bringing something new to the table, and I think Serenity does that very well.

The score is very unconventional in that respect, it is slightly more subtle and I think more sophisicated because it isn't just the some love themes, a victory piece... Newman doesn't announce these moments quite as brazenly, but it works, and when the music needs to be emphasised or achieve some other feeling, it does so. He doesn't use as many of the instruments you would expect, either. I actually really liked the nice piano themes and the very interesting percussion work.

To me, it feels perfect, like any good score it stands on its own as a great piece of art seperate from the film itself, but it is also an integral part of the film and the perfect accompaniment. I especially love "Serenity", "Mal's Speech", "Run to Black" and especially "Final Battle", just at the part when the music swells towards the end, and as anyone who has seen the movie can testify, it is a beautiful moment.

I do think they should definitely have had the instrumental version of The Ballad of Serenity at the end, and the Fruity Oaty Bars jingle could have made a nice bonus track, as I do think if it were placed in the middle of the other songs it would have broken up the flow of the score music, but surely they could have put it on as the last track. But I don't mind that so much if the advert itself is on the DVD, but they really should have the Ballad of Serenity on there.
Speaking of the instrumental "Ballad" -- does anyone know the name of the guitarist? As I recall, it's pretty much done as a solo guitar piece and I think whoever it was gave it a wonderful reading.
I betcha Joss just did it on his guitar. It sounded like the version he sings on the Firefly DVDs. It really is that "back porch" feeling he talked about going with originally, and far more...post-war depression-y.

Gah. C'mon "Serenity"....get popular on DVD. I want a sequel.
Okay, you guys convinced me to buy the Newman soundtrack. Not a big fan of soundtracks, although I was definitely onboard for the Greg Edmonson music.
Some people have managed to isolate the guitar version of the Ballad and I have seen it here and there available for downloading. It is less twangy and slower than Joss' version so I am not sure it is him. I too would like to know. Maybe I'll check the credits a little more closely when I see it today.
. . . several hours pass . . . one more viewing (nine total) of Serenity with Toronto BC's . . . and I am now listening to the soundtrack, which I just bought only an hour or two ago.

Wow! What beautiful pieces of music. I'm no musician but I find just the music itself all very smart, moving and elevating. If you want to be sold on the CD ($25.99 CDN at HMV), get and read Joss's intro for the album. You thought he went all fanboy on Veronica Mars! He goes all cool detached music critic and fanboy on David Newman's work, finishing with: "I may have designed Serenity, but it's David Newman that [who] made her soar." To appreciate the weight of that statement, you have to have read the description leading up to JW's last sentence. I'm not ready to type it all out at the moment. Besides, it's copyright material.

Own it today! (heh, heh)

[ edited by Drifter on 2005-10-30 03:02 ]
So is the intro for the album on the album itself or elsewhere? Reading what he wanted for the music in the Visual Companion already makes for an interesting addition to listening to the music. But that was written before the music was. Alas, I have put it on my Christmas list so I don't dare buy it now.
Sorry, Lioness, can't find intro words anywhere other than on the inside off the jacket. But then you don't want to be tempted before the gift-giving season, do you?

Maybe this will sum it up: Joss tells the story of Newman finding an antique piano that was weirdly shaped and out of tune. Newman said the odd sound reminded him of River and he wanted to use its sound to create her theme. "Something beautiful that had been slightly warped. The glow that I [Joss] felt during the conversation was nothing compared to the theme itself: haunting, haunted, vaguely Eastern and achingly unresolved."

Isn't that a beautiful description?

chrz

[ edited by Drifter on 2005-10-30 08:22 ]
I bought the soundtrack as soon as it came out and have played it an average of once a day since then. The only thing is it makes me want to go out and see the movie again - and again! I especially love "Serenity", "Jayne/Zoe" and "Love".
I am so glad this thread started and I got to read that I am truly not alone in my love for this soundtrack.
Since you spoke about The Ballad of Serenity: do anyone know if the version at the utmost end of the end credits has been transcribed in guitar tab?

I crave to find this, since I am pretty sure I'll be able to play it after some trials!
Thanks, Drifter, for the sample. If we go see Serenity on Wed. or Thursday again, you going to come?
Le Comite, will this do?
Lioness I just posted on torontoshindigs about going again but didn't know there was already a plan. I have the "way" for Thursday but not Wednesday. Catch up with you guys on the listserve?

You need to log in to be able to post comments.
About membership.



joss speaks back home back home back home back home back home