Monday, April 23, 2012

The Art of Collecting; The Pains of Choice

There are those who listen to film scores, then there are those who devour film scores. I would consider myself as somewhere between these two categories. I love to listen to film music, though I have not bankrupted myself to purchase every score I have ever wanted.

Not long ago, I was glancing through my score collection of roughly 500 discs. I wanted something of a certain sound, a vintage if you will. I found at least three possible candidates for the job, with an oddball thrown in for fun. I had time only for one score. I had to decide; would I listen to Bernard Herrmann's Jane Erye, Charles Chaplin's Modern Times, Max Steiner's Treasure of the Sierra Madre or Murray Gold's Doctor Who (Fifth season). I settled on the first option. I then realized I had two options for Jane Eyre. I could either listen to the original recording or the rerecording from the Naxos label. I chose the rerecording, as the sound quality is much better.

That was an easy day. There are days which I take much longer to decide. There are times where I choose nothing at all. It is like having a thousand channels on television but not being able to stick to one program. Either there are too many things to watch or nothing that immediately jumps out and screams "pay attention to me". Maybe I should invest in an MP3 player one of these days. This would mean setting up a playlist and transferring music from disc to hard drive. I am too lazy to do this.

 Let us try an experiment. You are a film score collector with a collection of more than a thousand discs. You must travel somewhere. Your trip will give you enough time to listen to one or two entire scores while on the road. You must choose from your thousand CDs only two discs to bring with you. Will you decide by genre, composer or by emotive quality? If you choose genre, go to choice A. If you choose by composer, turn to choice B. If you choose by emotive quality, turn to choice C. If you decide not to take anything, hang up and dial again (or just turn to choice D).

CHOICE A --By Genre
You decide to choose two CDs by their genre. You have broken your collection into five categories; action/adventure, comedy, drama, Sci-fi/fantasy and other. You must decide on a genre. If you want action/adventure, turn to section 1. Choose section 2 for comedy. Section 3 is drama. Section 4 is for Sci-fi/fantasy and section 5 is for other. Choose one and pay.

 CHOICE A: SECTION 1 -- Action/adventure
You have chosen action and adventure. You feel like something bold, brassy; something propulsive and explosive for your otherwise mundane driving experience. Three scores pop out at you from your collection; Cutthroat Island by John Debney, Mission Impossible 3 by Michael Giacchino, and The Rock by Someone who may or may not be Nick Glennie-Smith, in addition to an untold number of other composers and musicians.


You have chosen comedy as your main source of jollies for your long road. You find a few items in this genre which are sure to please. You Can choose either John Debney's Inspector Gadget (Subsection 1) or Ernest Gold's It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (Subsection 2).


CHOICE B -- By Composer
You decide to select two CDs by composer. You nominate at random four composers for the task of keeping you entertained on your long journey ahead of you. They are Georges Delerue, James Horner, Hans Zimmer (and company) or Bernard Herrmann. To choose Delerue, turn to section 1. To choose Horner, turn to section 2. For Zimmer (et al), turn to section 3. For Herrmann, go to section 4. If you wish to make a call, please hang up and dial the operator.


CHOICE B: SECTION 1 -- Delerue
You have graced Delerue with the honor of entertaining you. You narrow your choices down to two options: Joe Vs the Volcano and Our Mother's House. For Joe, turn to section 1. For Our Mother's House, turn right at the light and continue 30 feet. Your destination is on your left (section 2).


CHOICE C --By Emotion
You want to have a welling of emotions on your long drive. You narrow down to three emotional responses; for happiness, go to section 1, for depression, take some medication and go to section 2, for anger and rage, tear your way to section 3.


CHOICE D --Nothing
You decide not to take anything. You hang your head in shame. A real film score fan would have chosen something, anything, but you have chosen the way of pain. Christopher Lee will surely hunt you down and toss you from the highest of the Two Towers. You know of what I speak. THE END

ALL OTHER CHOICES IN THIS STORY CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE...I said this was an experiment, not a full fledged story. If you want more, leave a comment to let me know if this experiment has either succeeded or failed. Your thoughts are very much appreciated.

What a test! This is how it feels sometimes to pick a single score for the long drive each day. It is the pains of choice we face in our art of collecting film music.

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