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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Dobby evening, droogs, bratties, and malenky sisters. Zasnoot your gulliver, give a smot into this eve's dobby blogiwog...

Originally posted at on June 15, 2005:

There were five film experiences which clenched a spot in my heart for the more classical approach to music over the years, and subsequently my love for the classics themselves. (arranged more by date than by importance)

1) 2001: A Space Odyssey. I was nearly 4 when my parents took me to see this at the drive-in, summer of 1968, and I was enthralled (I cannot say the same for Love Story that we saw later that year.) It wasn't only the look and feel of the picture itself but more importantly the feeling of the score. I had been exposed to a lot of classical music at home (my mother was a fan of all sorts of music so my exposure was great and relatively unbiased) and this soundtrack brought them to life in a way I'd never seen before. While I'm sure most of the composers (regardless if they were dead or not) might have taken issue with Kubrick for placing their music out of their original context (Ligeti did sue Kubrick for not getting permission to use his music) it would seem that the approach Kubrick took would eventually lead them, one would hope, to become philosophical about Kubrick's choices.

2) A Clockwork Orange. I did NOT see this film when it was first released in 1971 (though I had read the book when I was 15) in fact I didn't see this film until its re-release in the early 80's (was it 1982?), I knew the music however through the soundtrack I'd listened to so many years earlier.At the time the film and soundtrack were released, 1971/1972, Wendy Carlos (the composer of the original soundtrack music) was still in the midst of a great ride on a wave of praise/awards for her Switched-On Bach album in 1968...which incidentally stayed on the classical music charts for nearly 6 years. I was initially drawn-in by March from a Clockwork Orange (from Beethoven's ninth symphony) what a yummy arrangement!

3) Jaws. Purely iconic. There was no way to go to the beach anywhere without this soundtrack drifting along in the thoughts. It was the only piece of music (other than Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf during kindergarten nap time) that brought the characters so clear to mind. It was a bit later when I started studying music that I realized how many classical pieces were just as dramatic and iconic, hehe, Wagner and his use of leitmotifs. But neither Prokofiev or Wagner was able to indellibly burn into my retinas wolves or Germanic legends the way that Williams did introducing Bruce the Shark to my 10 year old eyes, damn that visual association! :p

4) Star Wars. I can hardly think of words to explain the perfect timing the film, the music and my age had. I'm sure many of you aleady know. So it's probably best left to your own thoughts and great experiences. :D

5) A Clockwork Orange. yeah, again. Hearing the music before I saw the film was a much different experience. I really had no idea how brilliantly this album fit Burgess' book-turned-film via Kubrick until the re-release of the film in the 80's (when I first saw the film). Kubrick and Carlos were perfectly paired to the Burgess story. Edgy, delightful, weird and slightly askew. It enabled me to look at the classics from another perspective and to see, as in other artforms, that each work can be seen to fit a variety of visions, not just the artists.

One recent day, coincidentally, while listening to the soundtrack to A Clockwork Orange I came across BBC's The Beethoven Experience I've enjoyed listening to the letters written by Beethoven (well read by John Hurt) at BBC Radio online. Anyone interested in historical documents, classical music and of course Beethoven will enjoy listening to these incredible gems. THE LETTERS. Additionally, the BBC Radio 3 show will be broadcasting symphonies 6, 7, 8 & 9 and making them available for download starting June 27th, 2005. THE MUSIC Enjoy bits of the ol' Ludwig van!

Oh, one more thing. I finally had a chance to see Sideways last night. I enjoyed the film itself, but it was just fantastic to revisit all the places that were so very familiar to me growing up and in all my years visiting wineries/wine tasting and visiting the surrounding areas (Santa Ynez Valley, et al) while living in Santa Barbara. Just gorgeous. *sigh* I miss that.


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