Classical music in the movies
in the movies
The Jazz Singer
Hilary and Jackie
Writing music for movies is a serious thing. Music
must intensify the experience and support the plot, on the one hand, and
yet must not distract the viewer's attention from occurrences on the screen.
Good film music is music that is not felt - that is the opinion common
among writers of music for the cinema.
In the early days of cinema, music
was performed by live players or with a gramophone
(the compact disc's grandfather and
the LP player's father). Films were silent
in those days, and no score was inserted anyway. By an early stage of motion
picture development, music began to be composed especially for movies,
building on ideas, intensifying feelings and accompanying occurrences on
the screen. The movie "L'assassinat du Duc Guise"
was made in 1907, and it is among the first movies with their own sound
Later on, sound began to be added to film. The
first talking movie was "the Jazz Singer",
with Al Johnson. From that day on, many of
the familiar composers of art music started writing film music. Britten
wrote music for many movies (including "the
Young Person's Guide to Orchesrta"),
as did Honegger,
It was Schönberg
who refused to write the music for a movie "the
Good Land" for 50,000 dollars. Legend also tells that Stravinsky
refused a million dollars offered to him, to write the score for a movie.
Nowadays, music serves a significant
component in a movie production, and the best composers are hired for this
purpose. Composers of film music come from a variety of musical
styles and directions. The tremendous growth in the amount of movies
produced every year allows more composers than ever to practice their art,
make a good living and gain popularity. An Academy Award given every year
emphasises how colourful and qualitative this field has become. Composers
who write music for movies such as "Titanic"
(the big Academy Award winner of 1997), actually became rich. Pop
artists and writers such as Elton John, who
had written the music for "Lion King"
had great success in this field.
The development of television
as a separate art added interest to the arena, and music for a television
series is a particularly profitable business. Mark
Snow, the composer of the music for "The
X Files" series, became a successful, recognised writer practically
overnight, thanks to the original music he wrote for the show.
Hundreds of movies used classical parts
for their soundtrack. many producers did so, assuming that in this
way they could pay less royalties, yet others were simply enchanted by
the music itself, and viewed classical music as the natural choice to accompany
the movie's story. We can note movies such as "Death
in Venice" (accompanied by the
Adagietto from Mahler's
5th Symphony), or the movie "Soylent
Green" that combines music of many classical creators (with
the great opening section, accompanied by the first movement of Beethoven's
The animated motion picture "Fantasia"
by the Disney studios emphasised, with wonderful animation, some of the
most beautiful works in the classical repertory. The movie "Elvira
Madigan" was so well matched with Mozart's
music, that the piano concerto from which the music was borrowed was renamed
And yet the most spoken of movie to use classical music
for a soundtrack was the harsh "Clockwork Orange".
In this violent, cruel film, classical pieces accompany the most horrific
occurrences, and the contrast between this eternal beauty of music and
evil and violence, becomes the core of the movie, as the hero is "rehabilitated"
to the sounds of this great music.
"Hilary and Jackie",
a fine movie from 1998, was dedicated to the tragic and touching real-life
story of the late International concert cellist Jacqueline
Du Pré and her life with her sister and husband, the famous pianist
and conductor Daniel Barenboim. She died in
1987 from Multiple Sclerosis.
Some famous movies, such as "Amadeus"
(about Mozart's life and death,
and "La Symphonie Fantastique"
were dedicated to the lives of the great composers.
Beethoven Lives Upstairs
de lune - Debussy
of the Bumblebee - Rimsky-Korsakov
Moldau' (Vltava) from Symphonic Poem, 'My Fatherland' (Má Vlast) - Smetana
Ring des Nibelungen (Ring opera Circle) - Wagner
opera - Bizet
Sylphides (Ballet arranged by Douglas from Chopin's Piano Music) - Chopin
Danube' Waltz - Johann Strauss II
waltz - Chopin
Enigma Variations, Op.36 - Elgar
Variations, BWV.988 - J.S. Bach
and Fugue in Dm, BWV 565 - J.S. Bach
Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra - Britten
Music' - Handel
sonatas 'Moonlight' & 'Pathetique'
No.1 in D, 'Titan' - Mahlerþ
Fantastique' - Berlioz
No.6 - Beethoven
No.9 - Beethoven
World Symphony', Symphony No.9 in Em, Op.95 - Dvorak
No.40 in Gm, K.550 - Mozart
Planets" - Holst
Tell' overture - Rossini
Forelle (The Trout) - Schubert
Burana' - Orff
ballet - Tchaikovsky
Rite of Spring - Stravinsky
No. 5 - Beethoven
Gynt Suite - Grieg
Matthew Passion - J.S. Bach
sprach Zarathustra - Richard Strauss
- Jean Sibelius
Concertos - J.S. Bach
de Aranjuez - Rodrigo
Violin Concerto - J.S. Bach
Concerto - Beethoven
Seasons' violin concerto - Vivaldi
Concerto - Mendelssohn
Concerto No. 5 - Beethoevn
Concerto No. 1 - Tchaikovsky
Concerto No. 2 in C Minor OP.18 - Rachmaninoff
Concerto No. 21 'Elvira Madigan' - Mozart
for Cello and Orchestra Op. 85 - Elgar
for Orchestra - Bartok
of the Animals' - Saint-Saens
Dance - Khachaturian
in Blue' - Gershwin
K.626 - Mozart
Sorcerer's Apprentice - Dukas
at an Exhibition' - Mussorgsky
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