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Thread: Movies which use classical music

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    Question Movies which use classical music

    The latest example I have seen is "There Will Be Blood" which excerpts portions of the Brahms Violin Concerto. The version used is the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Von Karajan. The credits as usual go by too quickly to read all of them so I don't know who was playing the violin and this is not included in the web site for the film. Of course many are familiar with "Death in Venice" which uses The Mahler 5th Adagietto. I remember the old Oscar broadcasts when the winning composers would say "Thank you Mozart, Thank you Beethoven, Thank you Tchaikovsky". I would like to hear the recollections of others as far as the use of classical music in movies other than biographies of composers or movies like "The Great Caruso". I recently saw a film where I am certain that part of the score came from the Gorecki 3rd Symphony but this was not mentioned in the credits.

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    'excalibur' does a great job with lots of wagner and some orff.

    dj

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    I was playing the Beethoven 6th one day (Norrington and the London Classical Players) when my visiting father-in-law said, "This is the theme from Soylent Green. I love that movie and this theme. Where did you find the soundtrack?"

    A bit of education was needed and provided. He was actully pretty open to learning and we ended up restarting the disc and listening to the entire thing.

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    too many movies used classical music, Kubrick used a lot of classical music in his movies. Also, that movie "Senso" features Bruckner's 7th symphony.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gustav View Post
    too many movies used classical music, Kubrick used a lot of classical music in his movies
    Especially that undeniably creepy use of Beethoven's Ninth in A Clockwork Orange... or, as Alex would say, a little "Ludwig Van"...
    Take a look at the Bandit's blog, Americana Avenue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BuddhaBandit View Post
    Especially that undeniably creepy use of Beethoven's Ninth in A Clockwork Orange... or, as Alex would say, a little "Ludwig Van"...
    I loved that though! And according to wikipedia, the sales of Beethoven's 9th rose after that movie.

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    On the note of Kubrick, someone in here mentioned the use of a tubular bell arrangement of the 5th mv't of Symphonie Fantastique in one of the early scenes of The Shining. I doubted it at first, but then heard it while watching the film again. It certainly gives the movement a totally different feel. Now every time I hear it, I picture that secluded area around the Overlook Hotel Kubrick filmed so meticulously.

    Also, I have to mention the use of Mozart's Sym. No. 45 in Scorsese's After Hours, especially at the end! Now, for a dark comedy, that was clever!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rondo View Post
    On the note of Kubrick, someone in here mentioned the use of a tubular bell arrangement of the 5th mv't of Symphonie Fantastique in one of the early scenes of The Shining. I doubted it at first, but then heard it while watching the film again. It certainly gives the movement a totally different feel. Now every time I hear it, I picture that secluded area around the Overlook Hotel Kubrick filmed so meticulously.
    I'll have to watch The Shining again., as I didn't notice that. I've always thought that it was one of Kubrick's weaker films (though still very good), but one of Nicholson's stronger performances.
    Last edited by BuddhaBandit; Feb-11-2008 at 23:20.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuddhaBandit View Post
    I'll have to watch The Shining again., as I didn't notice that. I've always thought that it was one of Kubrick's weaker films (though still very good), but one of Nicholson's stronger performances.
    You have to read the book to really appreciate the details of the film. But, yeah. It didn't really have that much of a "message" like many of his other films.

    You know a gifted filmmaker whenever you notice that they use music (particularly classical, but any other genre, really) in ways which are not expected or in a backdrop most people simply would not picture while only listening to the song before.

    To allude to the current discussion in the Most Haunting/ Beautiful thread, using unoriginal music in this way ruins how others (whom haven't previously heard the song) perceive the song from that point forward, and, also, the structural aspects they would be more likely to remember. (I use the word "ruin" ambiguously, since this utility of classical music can be both good and bad--it depends on your perspective. Is music meant to be that flexible or does the composer have the "final word"? Is it even possible for the composer to have final say on how his or her music is to be perceived?)

    And then, there are songs which are heavily overplayed in film. Classic examples being In the Hall of the Mountain King, and William Tell, and 1812 Overtures.

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    Shine, lol

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    Rondo-
    I have read the book which I liked a lot (and I, in general, dislike Stephen King). The movie just didn't have the same impact for me that A Clockwork Orange or Full Metal Jacket had.

    You're totally right about filmmakers and music. Hitchcock was a genius at using music in interesting ways, and Kubrick was as good. As for the associations that come with using music in films, I happen to like how music can change as its setting changes (not only in films)- listening, for example, to a Buxtehude organ work on a dark, dreary night in an old house has a completely different effect than listening to it on a sunny day at the beach. I find this chameleon-like aspect of music fascinating.

    In fact, one of my favorite non-classical albums of all time- Moby's Play- works in just this way. Moby takes old blues and gospel recordings from the 20's and 30's and layers them over techno and house beats. A completely new and unexpected setting for bluesmen like Charlie Patton, but undeniably perfect.
    Take a look at the Bandit's blog, Americana Avenue.

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    My favorite will always be Bartok's Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celeste in the Shining.

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    And then, there are songs which are heavily overplayed in film. Classic examples being In the Hall of the Mountain King, and William Tell, and 1812 Overtures.

    I love In the Hall of the Mountain King, definitely a favorite

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    Quote Originally Posted by BuddhaBandit View Post
    Hitchcock was a genius at using music in interesting ways...
    He was, as was Bernard Hermann with his scores. Though Hitchcock was skilled in the placement and use of music in many of his films, the fact that he first chose to have Psycho run without music always baffled me. Imagine what a film of that scope would be like without music. This isn't to imply that the success of the film emminated completely from the music, but rather that the music set the tone for much of the film much better than most films. It also didn't overwhelm the movie, like many film scores tend to do.

    Someone mentioned There Will be Blood at the start of this thread. The use of music in that film is also the work of pure genius. Many have stated how the score is too dramatic, or overkill. I think not. As a matter of fact, it reminded me a lot of Hermann's music in Psycho. The cinematography gives us the setting and all the details, but the music conveys a particular emotional reaction to that setting. There's the physical atmosphere of cinematography and the emotional atmosphere of music as another layer of it. There are cinematographic techniques which contribute to certain emotional reactions, I know, but none as powerful as music.

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    I just recalled another movie from around 1957 or so which used music from Brahms 3rd Symphony. The movie was called "Backstreet" and I'm pretty sure that Susan Hayward was in it.

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