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Sean Rafferty presents a selection of music and guests from the arts world.

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BEETHOVEN'S MUSIC IN FILM

Tommy Pearson

Tommy Pearson presents Stage and Screen and talks here about the use of Beethoven's music in film


  

"The movies have always loved Beethoven and it's not difficult to see why - his music gives you every emotion you're looking for. Beethoven's rhythmic drive, drama and passion makes his music perfect for use in films.

There have been a couple of recent examples with Be Cool,  which uses the Ninth Symphony and Ray which uses the Moonlight Sonata, a piece which crops up quite a lot - from the 1930s, there's the film called Moonlight Sonata as well as Abel Gance's Beethoven's Great Love - 1930s which pre-dates Gary Oldman's Immortal Beloved  by nearly 60 years.

There are some infamous examples where the music has been used particularly effectively and it is no surprise to find Stanley Kubrick in the list of directors who has used Beethoven - A Clockwork Orange  sets 'bright and breezy' music against the shocking images of the film. What makes us feel particularly uncomfortable is that Kubrick uses Wendy Carlos' version of the Ninth Symphony which is heavy on the organ sound - familiar music in an unfamiliar setting

Peter Weir uses the Fifth Piano Concerto very effectively in Picnic at Hanging Rock and then in Dead Poets Society  he uses the Choral Symphony. In this, there is a scene where Robin Williams gets the boys he is teaching to understand the power of poetry by reading poems and kicking a football as far as they can, all set to the music of the Choral Symphony.

Saturday Night Fever  is a surprise entry in the world of Beethoven but has one of the great disco records - from it comes 'A Fifth of Beethoven ' arranged by Walter Murphy. It's very clever, very groovy and is entirely appropriate to the era.

Fantasia  includes 22 minutes of the Pastoral Symphony. It's everyone's least favourite part of the film and a bit pretentious as Disney introduces classical mythology with it. But the film introduced Beethoven's music to millions and Disney said 'This will make Beethoven'"

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