Monday, July 8, 2013

Rachmaninoff, Pachelbel, Delerue

                                                                                        Johann Pachelbel
Pachelbel’s Canon in D was the sound track for Ordinary People and then there was The Last Metro, a movie that came out the same year and featured a score by Georges Delerue that was equally haunting, though neither of these movies was to outdo David Lean’s Brief Encounter, which featured the mother of all scores which pulled heartstrings, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto Number 2 in C MinorOrdinary People was about the breakup of a marriage after the death of a child and despite the themes of loss that the music conveys within the context of the movie, the composition is clearly baroque and in fact recalls Vivaldi’s The Four SeasonsThe Last Metro was set during the occupation of France and deals with survival. Brief Encounter, which premiered 35 years earlier, in the final days of the war, was about a romance predicated on impossibility. Ordinary People and Brief Encounter are about despair and the music, though not Wagnerian, partakes of the Liebestod, that characterizes Tristan and Isolde. The Last Metro conveys a similar yearning, yet it soars resplendently reflecting romantic transcendence rather than agony. Ordinary People can probably be credited with a revival of interest in Pachelbel. And undoubtedly Rachmaninoff  and George Delerue found new audiences because of the soundtracks for Brief Encounter and The Last Metro. But was it pure coincidence or was there something in the zeitgeist that produced two of the most memorable film scores in the same year of film history?

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