Monday, February 28, 2011

When the music is just too good

The Oscars last night were good to me because with the victories of "The King's Speech," my, ahem, Music Critic Web log suddenly spiked. Briefly, gloriously.

That is because of when I went to "The King's Speech" I spent a little while chewing on the music in the movie. We actually had a kind of good conversation going which, I had dropped the ball on it, but last night it picked up again.

One anonymous commenter said: "Problem is, I still don't know what the final speech was about ... the allegretto spoke much more loudly!" I hear you, Anonymous Commenter!

Sometimes you use music a certain way and it works but it is just too good, you know?

Sometimes a piece of music blots out everything else.

As I wrote to that commenter I remember a time I went to a dance recital and the music eclipsed the dance. It was Configuration Dance, too, this superb world-class troupe, and it was in no way the dancers' fault that the music was just too good. There was one dance set to "Tristan and Isolde," the Prelude and Liebestod. The recital was in Buffalo's Studio Arena Theatre and the music poured wonderfully through the sound system and eventually I could not help it, I shut my eyes.

It happened another time too, at another dance recital here in Buffalo by a different company, I think Pick of the Crop. They did a dance to the famous Adagio from Bach's Concerto for Two Violins. Was anything else so beautiful ever written? Again, all you could do was lean back and close your eyes.

On both those occasions I thought, there is money in the idea of just putting this music on these powerful theater sound systems. I would pay just to sit here and listen!

Now of course that is coming to pass. We are seeing "Live in HD" broadcasts of concerts from the Philadelphia Orchestra, other orchestras. It's a good idea but again, as far as I am concerned, they almost do not have to bother with the film.

Just play the music! A blank screen is more than fine with me.