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Classical music


GordonCole
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Outside of composer/performer biopics ( A SONG TO REMEMBER/ AMADEUS/ SONG OF LOVE/ etc.) PORTRAIT OF JENNIE ('49) features a lot of DEBUSSY on it's soundtrack.  And PETER LORRE'S old "M" has some GREIG playing in it.

I'm sure there are plenty others that do feature many snippetts of classical pieces in them, but none immediately come to mind.  But I'm sure the good folks here can sufficiently fill in the gaps.  :)

Sepiatone

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The French film Tous les matins du monde is about, and features, the music of the 17th-century composer Marin Marais. The Ravel Piano Trio figures prominently in the great film Un coeur en hiver. You might not want to watch either of these films when you're feeling depressed.

Fantasia, of course, has a lot of classical music, and The Competition, one of the unsung films of the 90s, is about a piano competition. One of the Prokofiev piano concertos is prominently featured. One of the movements from Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals provides the theme music for Days of Heaven. Although Yes, Giorgio! is a dumb movie, Luciano Pavarotti sings many of the most familiar tenor arias.

In the 1930s and 1940s classical music was part of the common movie and radio culture, and Toscanini and Stokowski were big celebrities. Movies might include mini-concertos that sounded like Tchaikovsky or Rachmaninoff, like Richard Addinsell's Warsaw Concerto in Dangerous Moonlight. Carnegie Hall includes numerous classical music celebrities and compositions.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

 

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The 80's Summer of Love was ushered in by no less than Wagner's "Siegfried's Funeral" at the end of Excalibur (1981)--One of those moments you always remember the theater you saw it in:

Also around that time, I probably saw Being There (1980) three times before I'd heard of Erik Satie's Gnossiene #5:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsQ_ClWBeRI

And was there ever a film that more completely and spiritually appropriate to use Khachaturian's Sabre Dance than Billy Wilder's One, Two, Three (1961)?  :Dhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaUnwmJoy4s

46 minutes ago, Sepiatone said:

Outside of composer/performer biopics ( A SONG TO REMEMBER/ AMADEUS/ SONG OF LOVE/ etc.)

Oh, thanks, almost forgot Amadeus gut-punching the audience with Mozart's 25th Symphony in the opening credits:

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1 hour ago, Sepiatone said:

Outside of composer/performer biopics ( A SONG TO REMEMBER/ AMADEUS/ SONG OF LOVE/ etc.) PORTRAIT OF JENNIE ('49) features a lot of DEBUSSY on it's soundtrack.  And PETER LORRE'S old "M" has some GREIG playing in it.

I'm sure there are plenty others that do feature many snippetts of classical pieces in them, but none immediately come to mind.  But I'm sure the good folks here can sufficiently fill in the gaps.  :)

Sepiatone

Oh yeah, In the Hall of the Mountain King is marvelous as are the others mentioned. Thanx.

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59 minutes ago, kingrat said:

The French film Tous les matins du monde is about, and features, the music of the 17th-century composer Marin Marais. The Ravel Piano Trio figures prominently in the great film Un coeur en hiver. You might not want to watch either of these films when you're feeling depressed.

Fantasia, of course, has a lot of classical music, and The Competition, one of the unsung films of the 90s, is about a piano competition. One of the Prokofiev piano concertos is prominently featured. One of the movements from Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals provides the theme music for Days of Heaven. Although Yes, Giorgio! is a dumb movie, Luciano Pavarotti sings many of the most familiar tenor arias.

In the 1930s and 1940s classical music was part of the common movie and radio culture, and Toscanini and Stokowski were big celebrities. Movies might include mini-concertos that sounded like Tchaikovsky or Rachmaninoff, like Richard Addinsell's Warsaw Concerto in Dangerous Moonlight. Carnegie Hall includes numerous classical music celebrities and compositions.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

 

Love Ravel and I'm never depressed. Forgot about Saint-Saens even though I own the soundtrack to Days of Heaven. Thanx for the nods to the other classical pieces and Stowkowski and Toscanini whose names are almost forgotten by the majority of the public.

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Probably my favorite film scored almost entirely by adaptations of classical pieces and motifs is THE BLACK CAT (1934 Universal). The keynote is an orchestral version of Liszt's Sonata in Bb. Recently there has been a new recording of an orchestral version very similar to that done by Heinz Roemheld for his 1934 score. I put together a "Playlist" of most of the pieces used in the film. The final piece I included was Tchaikovsky's Romeo & Juliet, though because it was still under copyright was not actually used for the film. Rather, Roemheld created a motif similar to the Tchaikovsky piece. Also, remarkably, I was able to find a vintage recording of the jazz piece heard in the opening train sequence with David Manners and Jacqueline Wells on the train.

 

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9 hours ago, kingrat said:

The French film Tous les matins du monde is about, and features, the music of the 17th-century composer Marin Marais. The Ravel Piano Trio figures prominently in the great film Un coeur en hiver. You might not want to watch either of these films when you're feeling depressed.

Fantasia, of course, has a lot of classical music, and The Competition, one of the unsung films of the 90s, is about a piano competition. One of the Prokofiev piano concertos is prominently featured. One of the movements from Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals provides the theme music for Days of Heaven. Although Yes, Giorgio! is a dumb movie, Luciano Pavarotti sings many of the most familiar tenor arias.

In the 1930s and 1940s classical music was part of the common movie and radio culture, and Toscanini and Stokowski were big celebrities. Movies might include mini-concertos that sounded like Tchaikovsky or Rachmaninoff, like Richard Addinsell's Warsaw Concerto in Dangerous Moonlight. Carnegie Hall includes numerous classical music celebrities and compositions.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

 

When you mentioned that Gerard Depardieu film, Tous les matins du monde, that reminded me that I ran out and bought the music that was featured in his film based on Balzac's  Colonel Chabert-- The Beethoven Piano Trio in D Major, Opus 70, number 1, Ghost.The Haunting quality of this music is used over the deathly cold and snowy Battlefield scenes.

I have loved the Warsaw Concerto since I was kid taking piano lessons, but only recently did I find a recording that's gives it  symphonic concert Justice. French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet recorded a CD of classical music used in films, of course it's called " Warsaw Concerto ", which is 8 minutes and 58 seconds. The longest I could find. He also has on this record an excerpt from Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto  Number 2,  Brief Encounter..

I have read that they had originally approached Rachmaninoff to write a concerto for Suicide Squadron, but when he declined they  had to "settle for" Richard Addinsell. Some things are just meant to be.

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Many of the John Nesbitt Passing Parade shorts have a theme taken from Tchaikovsky's Symphony #5.  May Robson plays a section of it in Lady for a Day.

Edward G. Robinson dies to a medley of classical music (including Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony) in Soylent Green.

Vivaldi's Mandolin Concerto in C is used in both The Bride Wore Black and Kramer vs. Kramer.

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Here, this just seems too perfect to me.  Somewhere between the Georgio Moroder version and the Kino version is my ideal version of Metropolis.

This is the garden scene from Metropolis, with classical music.  The edit points were only in the audio, to fit into the time constraints of the video.  Music credits go to Dutch keyboardist Ed Starink (aka "Star Inc." - get it?).  The first part is Dvorak's New World Symphony 2nd movement (Largo).  I won't spoil the second part, Maria's theme.
Enjoy.

http://moviecollectoroh.com/pics_to_hotlink_on_TCM/moviecollector-1927-metropolis-garden-scene.mp4

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Since I didn't have my old "Classical music from hit movies" CD from the 80's (such collections were very popular back then), I had to search IMDb and YouTube to remember Amy Irving "playing" Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 in The Competition (1980), after hearing the First Movement finale in the trailer:

 

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Now, Voyager includes Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 (“Pathetique”).  The Seven Year Itch uses Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 to comic effect.

Between all of the old movies (and Looney Tunes) I saw growing up that featured classical themes and my mom constantly playing classical music on the radio, I somehow ended up knowing at least the more popular classical repertoire as much as the rock hits I more purposefully sought out back then.  While I wouldn’t claim to be particularly knowledgeable about classical music, I think those movies (and my mom) taught me to understand and enjoy the classical “language” that understandably seems foreign to so many people.

As others have pointed out, classical music was once much more a part of the popular consciousness than it is now. The NBC radio network had a symphony orchestra conducted by Toscanini. Popular songs (e.g., Sinatra’s “If You Are But A Dream”) were based on classical themes. Looney Tunes used classical music and parodied operas.  And even in the seminal film noir Laura, Vincent Price’s character offers his attendance at a classical concert as an alibi, telling Dana Andrews’ detective character which composers were played — only to have the detective imply that he was lying by pointing out that the program was changed at the last minute to “nothing but Sibelius.”  When Price claims that he fell asleep at the beginning of the concert, the detective agrees that he also sometimes falls asleep at such concerts — an acknowledgment that he attends classical performances. 

When I was growing up in the 60s and 70s, I knew only very few kids who were classical music fans.  (I would not have counted myself as one of them.)  But a few decades earlier, when cartoonist Charles Schulz was growing up, according to a recent biography, he was part of a group of young people who were avid classical fans.  My mom, who was just a little younger, also grew up listening almost exclusively to classical music rather than popular music. (Maybe it was something about growing up in St. Paul, where both Schulz and my mom were from, although they didn’t know each other.)

I don’t think classical music should listened to because “it’s good for you” like taking medicine or eating vegetables, but because you enjoy it.  It’s kind of sad to me that classical music isn’t used in movies and other sources of popular culture as much as it once was because it deprives people of a chance to get familiar with its “language” so that they can enjoy its melodies rather than being put off by something that sounds foreign to their ears.  (I’d say the same about jazz.)

I think it was Duke Ellington who said, “If it sounds good, it is good.”  A beautiful melody, an enriching harmony, a compelling rhythm are worth hearing and enjoying, whether they come latest pop song or a piece written centuries ago. 

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What a fine post, BingFan. Another point is that more homes had pianos, and thus more children took piano lessons. This was considered part of a typical middle-class upbringing. If you had no particular talent for playing the piano, like me, you nonetheless learned the names of various composers and learned some of their musical themes, and maybe complete works, that you liked. It was easy to develop a greater appreciation for and knowledge of classical music later in life if that opportunity came your way. 

Not only do we hear actual classical music in the movies, we often hear imitations, and sometimes good ones, of classical composers. Case in point: the famous theme from Lawrence of Arabia seems to be derived from the opening of the Bruckner Sixth Symphony. Watching some of Ben-Hur last night, I heard the Christ theme when Jesus gives water to Ben-Hur: this is reminiscent of Vaughan Williams' Fifth Symphony. The scene is followed by a cut to the galleys ready for war, and Rozsa's music comes very close to quoting "Mars, the Bringer of War" from Holst's The Planets.

One of the odder uses of classical music: the most famous theme of Howard Hanson's Second Symphony at the end of Alien.

 

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