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Alas, I have nothing intelligent to contribute to this discussion, but this was the very first thing that came to my mind regarding interpretations of classical music. The whole thing is great, but I think the final four minutes (starting around 3:30) are absolutely brilliant.
We are the environment. There is no distinction. What we do to the earth we do to ourselves. —David Suzuki
I hadn't seen it before but my wife has fond memories.
Here's another along those lines =)
Come, my friends. 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world -- Tennyson
I tend to prefer 20th century classical music, so while I'd agree with Copland that it sounds old-fashioned, I don't think that's a good thing (in terms of my taste, not in terms of its quality). I've always found this piece to be a little too earnestly sentimental, like a hammer pounded into your forehead.
[edit: I should have added that this quality makes it the perfect choice for an Oliver Stone movie, since he's about as subtle as a nuclear bomb.]
Not that a piece shouldn't be over the top: but there's something about the straight-facedness of Barber's piece that's never sat well with me (as opposed to the over-the-top gestures of, say, Prokofiev or Shostakovich, which come with a better sense of humor).
Anyway, none of this is to trash the merits of Barber's piece - which is actually a re-orchestration of the second movement of his string quartet, by the way - just to say that it's not really my cup of tea.
Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce
Do you like Stravinsky?
I haven't gone as deeply into Stravinsky as I've wanted to - but I like most of what I've heard so far.
I'm trying to get into his piano rag , since I have the sheet music to it, but I haven't quite wrapped my brain around it yet.
Here's an evocative selection from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, which is without doubt one of the best ballets ever written. It was rejected as "undanceable" when he proposed it at first, but it's since become one of the most popular pieces in the repertoire.
This selection covers a few plot points: it opens with the swordfight between the mocking Mercutio and Tybalt, and under Mercutio's jokes you can hear sinister strings warning about the danger he's in. The orchestra cuts (for some reason) from Mercutio's being stabbed to Romeo's rage and subsequent swordfight with Tybalt. Then the fun begins, around 2:20. Tybalt has just been given the fatal blow, and he stumbles to his death, which leads to a prolonged, repetitive, but increasingly intense march. At this scene in the ballet the townspeople discover that Tybalt has been killed, and the enraged prince sends his men out to retrieve the now exiled Romeo. Prokofiev heightens the sense of danger by overlapping disjointed melodic fragments onto each other until the dissonance is so thick you're crying for it to be released.
It's a heckuva piece to end on, right before intermission. Totally takes my breath away:
Prokofiev can be an acquired taste sometimes, so apologies to anyone who finds the dissonance a little overwhelming. :) The first time I heard some of his rougher music, I thought it sounded like random noise, and I hated it. Now he's my favorite composer. Funny how that happens.
Starting around 3:00 the march you mention really took off. Very effective in generating tension and suspense.
I mean, it's no Swan Lake ;-) but I bet you're not a huge Tchaikovsky fan either...
but I had a good college seminar where we analyzed his works and tried to break them out of the usual stereotypical readings. There are still pieces of his that make me groan (the
Capriccio Italiano, ugh), but there's also a lot to love. I'm definitely a fan of the 6th symphony, especially the first three movements.
I think that Adagio for Strings really added a lot to Platoon-- enough so that I hung around for the credits to find out the name of the piece. I don't make it a habit to sit thru movie credits. The piece somehow magnifies what I think would have been just an ordinary tragic movie ending into an overwhelmingly emotional ending-- for me.
The only other music that has ever had a similar effect on me in a movie would be John Williams' theme to Schindler's list. I cannot get thru the end of that movie without bawling my eyes out,and it's the music that really pushes me over the edge.
skymutt: accept no substitutes!
Ennio Morricone's for Cinema Paradiso: it's cheesy and whimsical, but by the end of the film it carries so much bittersweet nostalgia that it propels that oustanding final scene to greatness. Here's a pretty good performance of the main theme. It's not sophisticated by any means, but it's not supposed to be: this is first love in all its painful, goofy awkwardness.
Similarly, Yann Tiersen's music used in Amelie, which is somewhere between sweet and melancholic, and is now a staple at coffee shops in my town, heh.
But the only soundtrack I've ever bought - and god, do I love it! - is Jon Brion's music to Punch-Drunk Love. The movie is impossible without it, because the score and the narrative are linked tightly (of course the main instrument is inserted - actually, unceremoniously dumped - into the story). You can get good snatches of the score in the trailer .
Brion's score is excellent, but the real coup is using "He Needs Me" from Robert Altman's Popeye, sung by Shelley Duvall. The song is TERRIBLE - badly written, badly sung - but it represents such a gloriously goofy, unembarrassed love so perfectly in tune with this movie that I practically applauded in the theatre. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. The music to this movie actually made me giddy. This may be my favorite use of a song in movie, ever:
When they finally meet around 5:30, it's choreographed like a great old-fashioned Hollywood musical.
What's with me and all this giddy, goofy music selections? It'll ruin my reputation if this gets out! :)
Itzhak Perlman made that violin cry.
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