Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Chairman Detaches

Dana Stevens at Slate (my favorite movie critic these days) notes in a guilty-pleasure kind of review of I Am Love that the soundtrack is made up wholly of John Adams works. So I looked up the trailer on YouTube, and besides looking like a ridiculously overripe movie, man oh man, does it seem like the music is completely wrong for everything:

This might be a result of how the trailer's put together. It might also be because I know where all that music comes from, so (for example) the Desert Chorus from The Death of Klinghoffer can't denote "plushy erotic encounter" for me because it's already permanently etched into my "musically lovely but textually uninterpretable parable of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict" column. But it just comes across to me as though these sweeping Adams excerpts are aloofly doing their own thing while Tilda Swinton gets sweaty with an Italian youth and whatnot. I'd be interested in the impression it makes on someone who's not overly familiar with Adams, or even on Pete, who knows this music but at least hates it.

While I'm bitching about 20th-century classical music in movie trailers I may as well bring up the recent one for Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky too (not safe for work, by the way, if your workplace doesn't abide arty, hot 'n' thrusty Euro lover action) because it contains no actual Igor Stravinsky music but rather an artificial yet remarkably Stravinsky-like substance that occupies a conceptual space about two-thirds of the way from The Rite of Spring to a latter-day Philip Glass film score. Has musical persnicketiness ruined my ability to enjoy things, or more specifically to enjoy advertisements for juicy-looking romance movies from across the sea? As with the Adams question, I'll let someone who isn't me be the judge.

On a non-crotchety note, that third part of Fantasia's Rite of Spring sequence that I linked to above, and shall embed below (for as long as it takes for it to get nixed by a copyright complaint, anyway), has long been -- at about the 1:20 mark -- what pops into my head when I'm walking a long distance while it's really hot outside.

Classical music reshapes your brain!


Blogger Pete said...

I think "completely wrong for everything" sums up Adams's music pretty well!

(I also had the pleasure yesterday of letting someone know that Adams and John Luther Adams are not the same composer, and that JLA is actually awesome.)

7/01/2010 3:18 PM  

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