So, I'm watching Raise the Titanic (it's a great movie to cuddle up with for a Sunday afternoon nap) yesterday. And, as always, the score is one of the two best parts of the film...the other being the special effects, especially the ship breaking the water.

Thinking of the score, I think that Cameron did a huge disservice to his film by infusing it with that boring Irish music. It would have felt much more epic and sweeping had there been a huge symphonic score with a theme such as the John Barry/RTT score.

Imagine long shots of the ship setting sail with a crash of symbols and a huge old-style orchestra striking up into a lush symphonic theme. It would be goose-bump inducing!!

I think that the story of the voyage of the Titanic has an epic, legendary feel to it and having a Max Steiner/Gone with the Wind or Maurice Jarre/Dr. Zhivago/Lawrence of Arabia score would really add to the spectacle.
 

Jason D. Tiller

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quote:

Thinking of the score, I think that Cameron did a huge disservice to his film by infusing it with that boring Irish music.

Actually, I quite enjoyed the music, as it flowed along nicely throughout the movie, but each to their own. I take it you don't like Irish music then, Jeremy.​
 
Ha ha, Jason. My feeling is that the movie was big and expansive and epic. I didn't feel that the score fit that scale.

I also felt that if there were more of an Irish connection, it would have been fitting. To me, it's like adding a klezmer soundtrack to Mall Rats. It just didn't fit.

(I'm not really a fan of Irish music...but that's not the reason that I don't feel that it worked in the film.)
 

Jason D. Tiller

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quote:

I also felt that if there were more of an Irish connection

Well, as you know, Titanic was built in Belfast, Ireland, even though she is considered a British vessel and there were many Irish passengers aboard. So, I don't understand what kind of 'Irish connection' you feel was missing from the film.​
 
Jun 16, 2003
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I think the James Horner score is beautiful and in parts very 'symphonic'. It is shot through with Celtic motifs and this gives it a haunting resonance.

However, I agree that the main theme for Raise the Titanic is superb.
 

Jason D. Tiller

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quote:

It is shot through with Celtic motifs and this gives it a haunting resonance.

Exactly. That's one of the reasons why I enjoy the music so much. James Horner did such a wonderful job with that score.

But nevertheless, I agree, the score for Raise the Titanic is absolutely terrific.​
 
Mar 20, 2007
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Over the past month, I've been re-listening to my long neglected 'Titanic' soundtracks. My views on Horner's score, as on Cameron's film, are very mixed. I freely confess to finding that recurrent 'Oirish' motif dull, dull, dull...what was it doing in the film in the first place? Neither Jack nor Rose were Irish and the real-life immigrants in third-class, who no doubt provided Horner with his inspiration, actually hailed from a wide array of countries - not just Ireland. Somebody on the board once made a brilliant and thought-provoking point - what would the Scandanavian or Syrian families aboard have made of a full-blown 'Oirish' knees-up in their General Room? Such music would have nothing to do with their own folk traditions and even the English contingent - like the Goodwins, for example - might have found it distasteful at a time of such national and political tension within the United Kingdom. That said, I do think the music Horner composed for the sinking sequence is dramatic and powerful. The synthethised strings heard on 'Death of Titanic', simulating the cries of the victims, are spine-chilling.

I gather that Cameron and Horner decided at the outset to avoid the kind of lush, sweeping score we're so familiar with from the likes of 'Gone With The Wind' and 'Doctor Zhivago'. I can't recall why exactly, but their reasons are given in the sleeve notes!

Speaking for myself, I would have loved to hear more 'period' music. The wonderful I Salonisti version of 'Alexander's Ragtime Band' just wasn't enough for me and I could listen to it over and over again. It really brings 1912 to life. There is, in the film, a mere snippet from 'Oh You Beautiful Doll' which I wish could have been extended to its full length. Curious to think that the genteel sound of a string quartet (quintet?) is associated in 'Titanic' with the stuffy, repressive upper classes. Of course, back then, ragtime was the latest thing and caused far more disapproval and raised eye-brows than any old hackneyed Oirish jig!
 
May 27, 2007
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quote:

Speaking for myself, I would have loved to hear more 'period' music.
Speaking for my 19 year old self I would of had the opinion of "What the hell is this crappy old music." Unless it was Ragtime or Jazz. I do remember liking the Music chosen and I was part of the young Gen X'ers Cameron was going for.

Although I listen to Waltz and Chamber Music now back then it was Pearl Jam or Billy Holiday, The Andrew's Sisters who were always favorites in our house.​
 
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'Speaking for my 19 year old self I would of had the opinion of "What the hell is this crappy old music." Unless it was Ragtime or Jazz'

That's precisely what I was thinking of, George! We didn't hear enough of it in 'Titanic'. It would have been great to see Jack dance a Bunny Hug or Turkey Trot with Rose, instead of a boring old Oirish jig. It is very easy, nowadays, to pick up recordings of Offenbach, Gilbert and Sullivan etc - but much less easy to get hold of true 1912 ragtime. The earliest recording in my own music collection ('The Tiger Rag') dates from February, 1918. Astonishing to think that, at the time it was played, the Great War was raging and the vast majority of 'Titanic' survivors were still going about their daily business...
 
May 27, 2007
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Astonishing to think that, at the time it was played, the Great War was raging and the vast majority of 'Titanic' survivors were still going about their daily business...
That it is. The Spanish Influenza Pandemic was also raging. Frankly I'm surprised there weren't any Titanic Survivors who succumbed to it. Of course there might of been some who had it but Survived that as well. Usually you didn't survive a visit from the Spanish Lady.​
 
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A number of Titanic survivors DID succumb to the flu pandemic. This is discussed on another thread (I believe by Jim Kalafus?).

Back to the music for the film. JC's 'Titanic' was quite traditional in quoting only briefly from actual period music.

After all, think of 'The Sound of Music'. Here is a film set in pre-war Austria and hardly a note of genuine folk music! Looking for it is, of course, as fruitless as wondering why there isn't more authentic jazz in 'Titanic'. How many spirituals did you hear in 'Gone with the Wind'? The composer offers the film audience emotional release, cues for tears, for laughs etc. It's not supposed to be slavishly of the period. I agree, it is fun to spot the strains of genuine Edwardian music in 'Titanic' but I didn't wish there was more. For that, I purchased I Salonisti's lively CD.

It's interesting to note that James Horner also used extensive Cetlic motifs in 'Braveheart'. Perhaps this is his 'signature' and this is what makes his music so recognisable. Think how easy it is to recognise Steinman's sweeping strings and the gothic excesses of Hitchcock's favourite composer, Bernard Hermann.

If I have any criticism of Horner's score it is in the orchestration of certain themes. That is to say, some of it sounds like it was done on a synthesizer and it adds jarring note - too 'eighties!
 
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quote:

A number of Titanic survivors DID succumb to the flu pandemic. This is discussed on another thread (I believe by Jim Kalafus?).
He's calling me today so I'll give him 20 question but If you mean the influenza thread I started then you might be in for a surprise because back when i checked there wasn't any influenza deaths of Titanic survivors. That's one of the reasons I started that thread to find out more information.​
 
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Hi George

Re: No Titanic survivors dying from the Spanish flu pandemic.

I stand corrected - I was sure I had read that about five had indeed died. My apologies. I must be getting forgetful in my old age...
 

Jason D. Tiller

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quote:

Speaking for myself, I would have loved to hear more 'period' music. The wonderful I Salonisti version of 'Alexander's Ragtime Band' just wasn't enough for me and I could listen to it over and over again. It really brings 1912 to life. There is, in the film, a mere snippet from 'Oh You Beautiful Doll' which I wish could have been extended to its full length.

Plus, there is Come Josephine, in My Flying Machine on the Back to Titanic CD, which was a very popular song during that time.

quote:

I agree, it is fun to spot the strains of genuine Edwardian music in 'Titanic' but I didn't wish there was more. For that, I purchased I Salonisti's lively CD.

Anthony, I'm assuming you're referring to And the Band Played On? If so, I own that CD as well and I enjoy it very much.​
 

Bob Godfrey

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Anthony and George: I believe that survivor Hannah O'Brien was a victim of the 1918 'flu epidemic. Also possibly Ellen (Nellie) O'Dwyer.
 
May 27, 2007
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Well seems you were right, Anthony. No apologies needed anyways.
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I'm lucky if I can remember what I was doing yesterday much less if any Titanic Survivors died of the influenza

Moving indeed back to music. I'm finding that I am more interested in waltz then I was. "Dream Of Autumn' is a favorite. Actually though I'm getting in to the swing of things literally. Well into swing. I grew up listening to the Andrews Sisters. Bei Mir Bist Du Shon is my favorite.
 
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Moving back to music:

ANTR had its "I'm Off To Philadelphia In The Mornin'" which has been proved to be historically correct.

I'm not sure but I would assume the music following : "Now give us a jig" was also correct.

The 1953 "Titanic"'s "Oh That Navajo Rag" was first tagged by critics as "just something of 1950's music", but a little research reveals it was actually on the "hit parade" in 1911.

Also, would the Irish have been in the majority as far as the steerage passengers went, or would it have been more evenly diversified as far as percentages from each country was concerned ?
 

Jim Kalafus

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Geo: Only semi-relevant to this thread, but fun anyway, is the diary letter recovered from the body of Princess Sophia victim Auris McQueen. In addition to being stranded on a reef in raging storm, Spanish Flu had broken out aboard the trapped ship and I believe the number of cases McQueen mentioned was five.

>I freely confess to finding that recurrent 'Oirish' motif dull, dull, dull...what was it doing in the film in the first place?

Ah Martin. The score was, in terms of innovation, flair, and overall quality, perfectly suited to the artistic ambition and achievement of the film as a whole. From the towering, shimmering, transcendent splendor of Celine Dion's theme, (which some would call Streisandian in its scope) to the haunting lilt of genuine 1990s "Irish" instrumentals (redolent of misty mornings, rolling green hills, Darby O'Gill and the Little People, and commercials for Irish Spring: The Double Deodorant Soap) the score merited the same amount of praise as did the script and the production values. Truly a breathtaking synthesis of great elements and, as such, beyond reproach. Only a heel would cavil.

But, playing the devils advocate, Martin, if one asks why was the Irish MUSIC there, one must then ask the linked question, why was there an apple cheeked Irish mother present to....oh so heartbreakingly....tuck in her two wee ones as death loomed, when in fact there WAS only one Irish mother in third class and she was traveling with four (relatively) older boys?

>After all, think of 'The Sound of Music'. Here is a film set in pre-war Austria and hardly a note of genuine folk music!

Some would say, hardly a note of genuine music, period. The shocking tale of an irritating novice nun who causes OTHER nuns to commit the deadly sin of malice (They even sing a song about how incredibly annoying she is) until they farm her out as a governess. She turns a bunch of well behaved children into unruly brats, vandalises the furniture, seduces a man away from his fiancee and then, to top it all off, at the end of the film leads the captain and his children to a no-doubt torturous death in Germany as she walks them out of Austria and into Germany over the Alps. One would think that a film about a manipulative, destructive anti-hero would have a dark and somehow threatening score yet, time and again the sinister actions onscreen are paired to songs about Goatherds and lyrics that pair "adieu" with "you." Incongruous, to say the least.
 

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