Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Die Weihe Des Hauses Ouverture von Ludwig Van Beethoven

Beethoven composed eleven overtures between 1801 and 1822. They are largely different works created for various occasions. The overture here is `Des Weihes des Hauses' (The Consecration of the House). This was written in 1822 for the initial opening of the Josephstadt Theater in Wien. Beethoven was inspired by Handel in this composition. It is Maestoso e Sostenuto at its opening with the brass and timpani accompanied by staccato strings. It continues spiritedly with the music leading us to a furious Allegro to conclude the overture. This performance is by the Berliner Philharmoniker under Herbert Von Karajan.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Seven Samurai

A Masterpiece by Akira Kurosawa. 1954.
A film that has influenced several others for more than four decades.
It has inspired films like 'The Magnificent Seven' and Hindi blockbusters like `Sholay' and `China Gate'.
Many filmmakers use this as a study film.
Kurosawa mesmerises and tells a great story.
It is about 205 minutes long and each frame is a worthwhile one.
It offers a master lesson in how to pace an epic tale.
The story takes place in a sixteenth century village in Japan that is regularly attacked by bandits. The Samurai are hired by the village elders to shield them against the bandits. The cast is led admirably by Takashi Shimura who turns out a remarkable performance. It deserved a best actor oscar without any doubt. Hollywood has not recognised this film as much as it deserved. Toshiro Mifune has also turned out a brilliant support performance. The visuals are excellent, especially the one scene focusing on a bowl of rice and rice dumplings to drive home the value that a bowl of rice had for the Samurai. This was their price for the battle they were going to wage. The Samurai come off as a selfless lot who sacrifice themselves for the cause of the farmers. The final scenes shot in the rain are superlative.
The film won a Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1954. It deserved much more than this. The jury at the film festivals have their ears and eyes plugged with shit sometimes. They can't see a gem versus a knick knack.
Kurosawa made four Samurai classics - The Seven Samurai, the Hidden Fortress, Yojimbo and Sanjuro. I have to see his another classic `Rashomon' yet.
The music by Fumio Hayasaka is haunting and outstanding. It is a superb and distinct score.
This film is cinematic perfection and one of the best films ever made.
It was voted by `Sight and Sound' as one of the ten greatest films of all time.
I rate it AAAA.