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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Bach Goes to the Movies

Bach's music has a universal quality about it. I don't know if playing it to plants makes them grow any faster, but the music is malleable, and can exist in any number of formats. Whether it be performing the Well Tempered on a then non-existent modern grand, or testing some of the longer fugues on an organ, the structural integrity permits the music to survive, and thrive.

And so we come to the odd notion of Bach going to the Movies, and this is where movements or extracts have been used as filler sound for the action on screen. Today's find is a list of such occurrences, from a 1931 Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde using the Organ Toccata and Fugue, through to the 2005 Kingdom of Heaven with a well-worn Jesu, meine Freude.

Browse to contentment, here.

British Ben Britten

Benjamin Britten reminds me a lot of Mozart and Mendelssohn. All three had a knack for childish play, mixing notes into clever new combinations, streams of energetic charm. But ultimately, art is more than a game of Scrabble, and a work must be imbued with meaning. Music, like painting, is an abstraction, a symbol pointing to something important.

Norman Lebrecht is his usual contrary self today - he will argue a case when it suits his mood, then leap the fence the next day. A couple of weeks ago he was decrying the poor record of native English Sons, and how they were unable to construct a coherent opus. Today, he blasts the English Art Authorities for not performing a complete Ben Britten Opera Cycle when everyone else is Europe is being nationalistic and prideful. And he attributes this state of affairs to 12 year old boys.

Old Norman is making it up - here.