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January 03, 2011

Listen to film


Stéphane Lerouge discusses cinema scores on Musique Matin. Subsequent poking around lead me to this lecture.

Stéphane Lerouge est enseignant, programmateur musical du festival Musique et Cinéma d’Auxerre et concepteur de la collection discographique "Écoutez le cinéma !" (Universal Jazz). Il a publié "Conversations avec Antoine Duhamel" en 2007 (Éd. Textuel).

His argument is holistic, all elements that make up a film - the writing, the cinematography and the music - do not enjoy "un vie propre" independent of one another. Much like a score for a ballet, film music is properly understood in its context. More than this, the film score exists as a counterpoint to the imagery it is created to support.

Fair dues. Though I am not certain where the argument takes us beyond a frankly banal observation that might just as well be made for, say, opera. And if performative context is at issue, one might equally argue you have to be at the symphony to properly enjoy a symphonic score.

Does Siegfried's Funeral March from the close of Twilight of the Gods impart the same meaning when it is reproduced on YouTube and abstracted from its home at Bayreuth (after several days of numb Nibelungenbum)? Obviously, intuitively, it does not. But does it lose its emotive power even for those who have never heard of Wagner, let alone know the ins-and-outs Brunnhilde's romantic life? Perhaps ironically, the fact this piece is reproduced again and again in film and advertising suggests the opposite.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at January 3, 2011 09:28 AM