Tuesday, February 13, 2018

#ClassicsaDay #ClassicalFilmScore - Week 2

For the month of February 2018, some of the contributors to #ClassicaDay feed wanted to celebrate film. The Academy Awards are held in February, so it was a good time to share examples of classical music influencing film scores (and vice-versa).

There are many ways to look at that intersection. Some classical composers also wrote for film. Some film composers wrote classical works for the concert hall. Some classical music has become famous primarily because of its use in a film, and some film scores have been expanded into classical works. 

Here were my selections for week one of #ClassicaDay #ClassicalFilmScore.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467
("Elvira Madigan" 1967)

Mozart completed his 21st piano concerto in March of 1785. The middle movement, an Andante in F major, was used in "Elvira Madigan." This 1967 Swedish film featured other classical selections, such as Vivaldi's "Four Seasons." The connection between the film and the concerto is so strong that many now refer to the work as the "Elvira Madigan Concerto."

Miklós Rózsa (1907-1995) - Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 24

Classically-trained Miklós Rózsa maintained what he called a double life throughout his career. Although best remembered for his film scores, Rózsa continued to compose concert music throughout his life. His 1954 violin concerto was written for Jasha Heifetz, who provided input into its composition. In 1970 Rózsa adapted parts of the concerto for "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes" film score.

Gottfried Huppertz (1887-1937) Score to "Metropolis" (1927)

German composer Gottfried Huppertz was active primarily in the 1920s and was one of the first full-time film composers. He was classically trained at the Conservatory of Music in Cologne, and also worked as an opera singer and actor. His strong stage experience served him well when composing the score. His score for Metropolis -- as were most of his soundtracks -- through-composed to the original director's cut, with leitmotifs for the central characters and themes.

Arthur Bliss (1891-1975) Score to "Things to Come" (1936)

British composer Arthur Bliss had a somewhat checkered career. His studies were interrupted by the First World War. In the 1920s he was known as a modernist, writing for the stage and the concert hall. By the 1930s he had adopted more of a traditional English style. He eventually became music director of the BBC. His compositions include the ballet "Checkmate," eight film scores, and three operas.

Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957) Piano Sonata No. 3, Op. 25 (1931)

Austrian-born Korngold was a child prodigy. His ballet Der Schneemann premiered when he was 11, and his opera Die tote Stadt (written at 23) is still in the repertoire. Korngold fled the Nazis and landed in Hollywood. Most of his 16 film scores are considered classics, such as "The Adventures of Robin Hood." "Captain Blood" and "The Sea Hawk." European orchestras tend to exclusively program Korngold's pre-1934 classical works; American orchestras tend to exclusively program suites of his film scores.

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) - Alexander Nevsky, Op. 78
(Alexander Nevsky, 1938)

The historical drama "Alexander Nevsky" was directed by Sergei Eisenstein. It tells of the 13th-century defeat of the Teutonic Knights by Russian hero Prince Alexander Nevsky. Prokofiev collaborated closely with Eisenstein. In some cases, the score was written to finished footage, in others the film was shot and edited to fit the score. Prokofiev later created a concert cantata from the material.

#ClassicalFilmScore Week1

#ClassicalFilmScore Week 3

#ClassicalFilmScore Week 4

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