Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Norbert Burgmuller: C Minor First Symphony

Norbert Burgmuller was a German composer who died young at the age of twenty six. He showed great promise in the two symphonies he wrote. He lived in Dusseldorf. He was a friend of Felix Bartholdy Mendelssohn. Burgmuller drank excessively and became an epileptic. He met an untimely end at the age of twenty six when he drowned in a spa in Aachen during one of his epileptic seizures. It was Robert Schumann who managed the posthumous publishing of his two symphonies. Schumann mentioned that Burgmuller's death was a cruel blow to the musical world in the same manner as that of Franz Schubert who also died young at the age of thirty one as a result of typhoid fever.

Anna Karenina: The New Movie by Joe Wright

Leo Tolstoy is a master writer. I have read this novel for the first time just few days ago and saw the movie made by Joe Wright. Watching his film gave me a good feeling when I realized that we have still not lost touch with the literature classics in the mainstream cinema culture. This story of a woman who leaves her `cold' husband for a vibrant army officer in nineteenth century Russia is probably one of the greatest novels of all time. Joe Wright's film has given a new fatality dimension. Earlier to Keira Knightley's Anna, Greta Garbo and Vivien Leigh have portrayed this role. BBC had also dramatized this novel in 1961 with Claire Bloom as Ana and Sean Connery as Count Vronsky. Keira is the youngest to play Anna at 27. The story is presented from within the arch of a decayed theater. This technique was also used by Laurence Olivier in his Henry V production. Good performances by Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor Johnson and Mathew Macfadyen bring this drama back to life.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

War and Peace : Drama Adaptation

The best adaptation of this the greatest of Leo Tolstoy's novels was done by John Davies and BBC in 1972.The series involved twenty episodes. This epic story of war and peace, love and loss is framed against the backdrop of the famous Russian war with Napoleon's army in 1812. Anthony Hopkins is outstanding as Pierre Bezukhov. Alan Dobie is also excellent as Andrei Bolkonsky. David Swift plays Napoleon. Morag Hood could have done better as Natasha. Ludmila Savelyeva is an apt Natasha in the Sergei Bondarchuk's Russian production of 1967. The sets of this Russian production were brilliant. The movie was made in four parts. But it is Anthony Hopkins that makes the difference in this greatest work of Russian literature.