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Scott of the Antarctic - Music


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Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 8:00 EST (11:00 PST) TCM will show SCOTT OF THE ANTARCTIC with music by the great English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. Vaughan Williams took some of the music he'd composed for the film and formed it into his seventh symphony, the Sinfonia Antarctica. Those who love great film music will want to be sure and catch this film.

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kingrat - I will have to tape this one because of the time.This subject (Scott and the race to the Pole) has always fascinated me - I've seen a couple of versions of the story. Thanks for the heads up on the music - I'll be listening with your words in mind.

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KR, SCOTT OF THE ANTARCTIC was one of the first films I believe, to try and accurately portray the life of the great explorer. Having John Mills in the lead role almost goes without saying. He epitomized, in many ways the strong and admirable character of the British during the heroic era of Antarctic polar exploration.Scott was nearly proclaimed a saint in Britain at the time.Amundsen, the conqueror of the pole was villified in the press and nearly forgotten for his achievement. Scott and his party died, partly because of poor planning and hubris.I think, and this does not detract from the film's impact, that in some way, the legend of Scott has been perpetuated in some way by this film.His legend is a good thing, but we don't find out too much about his life. However, Ealing studios made the film,Charles Frend directed it, and Ralph Vaughn Williams scored it. Who could ask for anything better!It was the general position that the South Pole should be attained by an Englishman. Such was the imperial view at the time. Never mind learning anything from the Norwegians or Eskimos. The Brits could do it better. In many ways, 1912 was the year when Great Britain was found wanting in many areas, be it exploration or the safe navigation of the North Atlantic(RMS TITANIC). The comfortable,Edwardian world was about to collapse in a great global conflagration only two years later. Then, and only then, would the true nature of the 20th century be revealed. SCOTT OF THE ANTARCTIC is a snapshot of that ephemeral time.Best, Bruce.

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> {quote:title=kingrat wrote:}{quote}

> Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 8:00 EST (11:00 PST) TCM will show SCOTT OF THE ANTARCTIC with music by the great English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. Vaughan Williams took some of the music he'd composed for the film and formed it into his seventh symphony, the Sinfonia Antarctica. Those who love great film music will want to be sure and catch this film.

 

The title of William's symphony is actually (and deliberately) mispelled: "Sinfonia Antartica," omitting the first "c."

 

It should also be noted that Williams's first name, Ralph, is pronounced "Rayf," in the Welsh fashion, just as it is with actor Ralph Fiennes.

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> {quote:title=mrroberts wrote:}{quote}

> I was wondering if anyone else saw this post and your first thought was of the classic Monty Python sketch "Scott of the Sahara"?

 

No, not really. But I'm looking forward to watching it, all the same.

 

Sounds like a fascinating movie, from what I've read so far. :)

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Thanks, *Kingrat*, for the heads up on this one, my DVR is set. There is so much of Vaughn Williams I don't know. But I like very much Symphonies III and VI ( music buffs out there: who agrees that the 3m of VI could serve as a prescient augur of Dimitri Shostakovich) and a whole host of the so-called "minor" works such as "The Wasps," the near transcendental "A Lark Ascending," and not to forget that wonderful paean to music itself entitled, appropriately enough, "To Music." To mention a few. Looking forward to the show tonight...and some music. :)

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What do you think was in John Mills' Wheaties during this incredible fifteen run of great roles he had from the time he played Pip in Great Expectations (1946) through Tunes of Glory (1960) ? His Scott of the Antarctic (1948), based in part on the diaries of the explorer and his doomed companions, is one of the best of these. I haven't seen this movie in years, though I still remember his quiet heroism and heartbreaking end.

 

Thanks so much for the heads up, kingrat.

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I had no idea so many of you would respond to this post, and I'm thrilled because Vaughan Williams is one of my favorite composers. Laffite, I share your enthusiasm. The influence of the pastoral side of VW can be heard in most movie/TV scenes involving the English countryside, and composers of SF (or SyFy) movies have borrowed lavishly from his Sixth Symphony. For anyone unfamiliar with his work, some good points of entry are:

 

The Lark Ascending (violin & orchestra)

Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis - (music which suggests English cathedrals, again often copied)

Serenade to Music - setting of lines from The Merchant of Venice which deal with music - soloists, chorus, orchestra

Symphony No. 2 (A London Symphony)

There are also settings of old English folksongs; VW collected these as a young man.

 

VW's symphonies show remarkable range, from gentle pastoral music (the Third) to aggressively modern works like the Fourth.

 

Moira, thanks for bringing up John Mills. I don't know most of these films, but would enjoy discovering them. Sounds like a great idea for TCM's programmers.

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Many of you know your music a lot better than I do, but I first heard "The Lark Ascending" in the 1987 Australian movie *The Year My Voice Broke.* I had no idea what it was, but it was so incredibly beautiful, that I looked it up and recorded it off a website. So - very excited and interested in learning that it is a part of *Scott of the Antarctic*.

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*...and composers of SF (or SyFy) movies have borrowed lavishly from his Sixth Symphony*

 

I'm not surprised. No doubt the finale of that symphony would attract Sci-Fi movie makers. It is long and moody with an especially eerie quality that suggests deep space (among other things). Reading your mention above reminded me of a suspicion I have always had, namely, that the end credits of Alien used this music from the Sixth. So I just check IMBD and it is not listed. Howard Hanson's Second is listed and I have no idea if that is the end-credit music or not.

 

And thanks for the correction: It is "Serenade to Music" not "To Music" as I had written.

 

//

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Last time I saw *Scott of the Antarctic*, I was not as attuned to movie music. Now I will definitely be listening carefully to the music in this film. For anyone interested, "The Lark Ascending", one of Ralph Vaughan Williams' most beautiful pieces of music my ears have ever heard can be heard [here|http://www.last.fm/music/RalphVaughanWilliams/_/TheLarkAscending] .

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*"The Lark Ascending", one of Ralph Vaughan Williams' most beautiful pieces of music my ears have ever heard can be heard here .*

 

Very nice link...if I may add an FYI...the link provides an excerpt lasting about seven minutes. The entire piece takes about 15 minutes to play. Thanks. :)

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*Now I have to go pull out the 6th Symphony and listen again.*

 

Check out that third movement, Chris. Tell me that's not a jump to the future. As I mentioned earlier, an uncanny similarity to Shosty, at least to my ears. It sure sounds "modern" in any case. As *Kingrat* wrote, *"VW's symphonies show remarkable range, from gentle pastoral music (the Third) to _aggressively modern works_ like the Fourth."* (emphasis mine). And to the Sixth as well, at least the Scherzo: Allegro Vivace.

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Moira - thanks for the link - guess what I have playing in the background? And saved for listening pleasure.

 

king, movieman, lafitte -

Nice to know that there are (classic) music lovers along with the movie lovers here who will share with us. Thank you from someone who has much to learn and gain.

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Wow! I didn't realize until I watched the opening credits just now that the movie was photographed by Jack Cardiff (with some help from Geoffrey Unsworth, apparently).

 

Unfortunately I am not going to be able to stay up to watch all of it, but I'm recording it to watch it (hopefully) on Wednesday.

 

Thanks for the heads-up.

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"Shosty." That's a new one on me. The closest I ever got on a nickname is just "Pete" for Tchaikovsky. My bride was born on May 7 but shares none of the musical talent already afforded for that date except a willingness to discover it.

 

I already have a recording in the car of the 3rd and 4th Symphonies. The 6th is on a tape in the closet.

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