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Werner Herzog and Roman Polanski

2 hours, 30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 01 October 2013

Sound of Cinema. Penny Gore presents a week of music used in movies.

Werner Herzog and Roman Polanski

At the Oscars ceremony in the spring of 1985, Maurice Jarre - winner of the award for Best Original Score (A Passage to India), remarked that we was glad that an obvious contender was not eligible in the category. This was the year of "Amadeus" - Milos Forman's screen adaptation of Peter Schaffer's play which came away with 8 Oscars including the Best Actor award for F Murray Abraham as Salieri. In one scene Constanze Mozart is looking for Salieri's support for her financially struggling husband. She shows him some of her husband's scores, and we hear the opening of Mozart's Symphony No 29 in A as Salieri becomes more and more dumbfounded by Mozart's ability.

From the Imperial Austro-Hungarian Court to the Brazilian jungle.

Many Movie directors have at some point tried their hand in opera houses. Werner Herzog produced Wagner's Lohengrin at the Bayreuth Festival in 1987 - he also made a film of "Wozzeck" which Berg had set to music a generation before. In Herzog's film "Fitzcarraldo", Klaus Kinski, aided by local tribesmen, tries to drag a steam-powered paddle steamer up a hillside in the Brazilian jungle while a wind-up gramophone plays records of the great tenor Caruso, but tucked away in there as well is Richard Strauss's score of Death and Transfiguration.

Roman Polanski has first-hand experience of the Nazi treatment of Jews in Krakow and made "The Pianist" in 2002 - a film account of the wartime experiences of Polish pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman. In "Death and the Maiden" (1994) the scene is moved to an unnamed South American republic, but the same brutality is here as Sigourney Weaver tries to find out whether Ben Kingsley is the ex-fascist who tortured her in the past. All played out to the strains of Schubert's quartet.

Finally, many Classical works have been given nicknames - "Emperor" Concerto,"Pathétique" and "Surprise" symphonies - but is there another Classical work whose nickname comes from a movie title?
Mozart's "Elvira Madigan" concerto only became known as that after the 1967 film about a Danish circus tightrope dancer - who'd have thought it?

On the Beatiful Blue Danube, Waltz Op. 314,
Austrian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Vienna, Manfred Honeck

Symphony No.29 in A (K.201)
Le Cercle de l'Harmonie, Jeremie Rohrer

Richard Strauss
Tod und Verklärung
Suisse Romande Orchestra, Neeme Jarvi

Prelude to Parsifal
West-East Divan Orchestra, Daniel Barenboim

Quartet No.14 in D minor (D.810) "Death and the Maiden"
Apollon Musagète Quartet

Piano Concerto No.21 (K.467) "Elvira Madigan"
Maurizio Pollini (piano), Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Christian Thielemann.

Music Played

4 items
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes


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