Friday, June 29, 2012

C Major Symphony of Richard Wagner Everyone knows Wilhelm Richard Wagner for his Music Dramas! Not many people know that he wrote two symphonies. Wagner wrote the symphonies when he was just nineteen. The one in E Major was discontinued after he completed two movements. Joachim Raff compiled the lost score of this symphony and scant performances remain though. There are not many recordings available. Wagner composed his C Major Symphony in a space of just six weeks in 1832. There is much influence of Beethoven from the seventh symphony period. The skillful contrapuntal techniques used by Wagner are remarkable at such an early age. The first movement is in sonata form. There is an establishment of a basic motif. you will find strains of it in the Prelude to Das Rheingold. The second movement shifts to A Minor. It is in ABBA plus coda form. The movement begins with the motif from the coda of the first movement. Wagner has established an organic relationship between the movements. The scherzo is clear with a formal structure. The coda once again will remind of Beethoven. The Finale Allegro Molto e Vivace is again in the sonata form and here Wagner accelerates the tempo halfway through the coda at good speed. This symphony has remained idle for long and music conductors have been negligent towards it.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Lord of the Rings Symphony of Howard Shore

The Hunt for Gollum

Fate - E Minor Fifth Symphony of Tchaikovsky A magnificent reading of Tchaikovsky's Fifth by Leonard Bernstein and the Boston Symphony.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Der Vorleser

Another great film based on a good book `Der Vorleser'written by Bernard Schlink in 1995. A haunting drama of a love story between a fifteen year old German boy and a mysterious tram ticket collector. Period drama involving war trials of Auschwitz and how literature and good reading transcends above morality and judgment. Superb direction by Stephen Daldry and a brilliant musical score by Nico Muhly. I have seen this film after four years and am spellbound. Kate Winslet is outstanding. Nudity in the film is artistically brought forward. Winslet went under the skin of the role. Ralph Fiennes is his usual brilliant and competent self. Bruno Ganz (Der Untergang)and (The Unknown)is excellent as the law professor.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

House of Sand and Fog

Andre Dubus III has written a fine novel. The film is based on that. This book was nominated for the United States National Book Award in 1999. The plot is about a California beach house. The conflict in the drama involves an upper class Iranian family who has taken refuge in the United States after the Shah regime people were expelled from the Iran post the Khomeini revolution. Massoud Behrani is an ex Colonel from the Shah's air force. Kathy Nicolo loses her beach house property to the State of California for non payment of taxes and the house is auctioned and picked up by the Behranis in that auction. The tale takes the viewers through the sand and fog to submission and tragic circumstances. An incredibly sad and powerful tale. This is undoubtedly Ben Kingsley's best performance. Jennifer Connelly is outstanding as Kathy Nicolo. The real scorer in the film is James Horner with a riveting background score.Very well directed by Vadim Perelman.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

They Shall Have Music

A rare 1939 film gem with Jascha Heifetz in it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Tchaikovsky's Opera `Tcherevichky' is also known as `Oxana's Caprices' or `Tsarina's Golden Slippers' or `Vakula the Smith'. It is an opera written in four acts. It is based on Gogol's comedy about the antics of the devil on a Christmas eve. This opera is incredible to watch. This is my first viewing in 2012. I have come across this opera performance after fifty six years of hunting. It is a fun opera.