Tuesday, February 20, 2018

#ClassicsaDay #ClassicalFilmScore - Week 3

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.

László Lajtha (1892-1963) - Symphony No. 3, Op. 45
(Murder in the Cathedral, 1948)

(Murder in the Cathedral, 1948) By 1947 Lazlo Lajtha was director of Music for Hungarian Radio, the Budapest National Conservatory, and the Museum of Ethnography. In 1948 fellow countryman Gerog Hoellering invited him to London to write music for T.S. Eliot's "Murder in the Cathedral." It was the second of Lajtha's four film scores. Lajtha wrote his third symphony based on the score. Because he had spent too long in the West, when he returned in 1949 he was stripped of all titles and his career was sidelined for over a decade.

Hugo Alfvén (1872–1960) – En Bygdesaga (A Country Tale) Suite from the film "Mans kvinna" Op. 53 (1944)

"Mans kvinna" is a love triangle set in an agrarian community in 1700s Sweden. The film was directed by Gunnar Skoglund, and only enjoyed moderate success (and only in Sweden at that). The film was the third of five film scores Alfvén wrote over the course of his career. Alfvén's orchestral suite from the score proved more popular than the film.

Franz Waxman (1906-1967) - the Song of Terezin (1965)

Like many Jewish composers, Waxman was forced to leave Germany when the Nazis rose to power. In Hollywood, he became one of the most successful film composers, with over 150 films to his credit. His score for Sunset Boulevard won an Academy Award. Although Waxman's output of concert music was small, it was significant. His work "The Song of Terezin" set poems by children imprisoned in the Theresienstadt concentration camp.

Howard Blake - Symphony No. 1 - Impressions of a City (1967)

British composer Howard Blake is best known for "Walking on Air," from the film "The Snowman." Although he got his start as a film composer (with a recommendation from Bernard Hermann), Blake has written a considerable amount of concert music, including eight concertos. His work "Impressions of a City" is a single-movement symphony completed in 1967, while Blake was assisting Laurie Anderson writing music for "The Avengers" classic TV series.

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) - Score to "Stricken Peninsula" (1945)

Vaughan Williams' best-known film score is "Scott of the Antarctic," which he later turned into a symphony. His score to "Stricken Peninsula" had a different fate. The 1945 British propaganda film told the story of reconstruction of Italy after the war. RVW's score for the film was lost. Painstaking reconstruction of the score involved transcribing it from the film's soundtrack. This work has made the score available for concert performance.

#ClassicalFilmScore Week1

#ClassicalFilmScore Week 2

#ClassicalFilmScore Week 4

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