Composers in the Movies: Studies in Musical Biography by Professor John C. Tibbetts

By Professor John C. Tibbetts

Amadeus . . . Yankee Doodle Dandy . . . Swanee River . . . Rhapsody in Blue. Even prior to videos had sound, filmmakers dramatized the lives of composers. motion picture biographies—or biopics—have depicted composers as assorted as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, George M. Cohan, Stephen Foster, and George Gershwin. during this attractive booklet, the 1st dedicated completely to such motion pictures, John C. Tibbetts surveys diversified types and sessions from the Hollywood of the Twenties and Nineteen Thirties to the foreign cinema of this day, exploring the function that movie biographies play in our knowing of background and tradition. Tibbetts delves into such questions as: How traditionally actual are composer biopics? How and why have inaccuracies and distortions been perpetrated? What thoughts were used to symbolize visually the inventive strategy? The publication examines the movies in different contexts and considers their function in commodifying and popularizing track. broad archival learn, dozens of illustrations, and various interviews make this an attractive publication for movie and track fanatics in any respect levels.

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But woe unto Strauss when he forgets his humble origins. His affair with Donner bespeaks his seduction by professional and class opportunism. In the end, after Donner abandons Strauss, the composer returns apologetically to wife, Poldi, the baker’s daughter (Luise Rainer), and home. ’’ In the final scene, late in the 1890s, the aging Strauss, now at the end of his career, has a reunion in the Imperial Palace with Franz Joseph. The emperor escorts him to a window, through which is seen a huge crowd of people paying their respects.

It is evident that his music is not merely the product of academic study and aristocratic patronage; rather, it comes directly from the people and the world around him. For example, the celebrated ‘‘Tales of the Vienna Woods’’ sequence depicts the composer inspired by a morning coach ride through the MGM back lot (doubling for the Vienna Woods). Accompanied by the celebrated opera diva, Carla Donner (Korjus), he listens to the triple-time clopping of Rosie the horse, the tweeting of the birds, the piping counterpoint of two peasant’s flutes, the blaring horn of a passing coachman, and the trilling of the coach driver’s harmonica.

In the film his servant, the Scotsman Phineas (Hay Petrie), is his Sancho Panza. Handel walks the streets, inspired by the ditties of the flower vendors and the fishmongers. Despite his own financial straits, he opens his house and his pantry to orphaned children and persuades his creditors to assist him in establishing a hospital for foundlings. Invited to come to London to premiere his new Messiah, he insists on employing the services of a ‘‘common’’ actress, Mrs. Cibber (Elizabeth Allan), as a soloist.

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