Popcorn…? (2)

https://i0.wp.com/movieab.com/wp-content/uploads/movie-theater-coming-soon.jpgThe topic of film ‘trailers’ and their music is one to which this blog will be returning — as indeed is the fascinating subject of ‘serious’ or ‘concert’ composers writing for films. Before  we put these things temporarily to bed, however, I’d like to rub in a few of my last posting’s points with a few more examples rescued from what you might call the trailer park

For today’s example, we once again need to go all the way back to 1993 — a year when my rate of cinema attendance seems to have been at an all-time maximum, if this thread is anything to go by. If you yourself were anywhere near a cinema screen in the run-up to the end-of-year release of Schindler’s List, you will undoubtedly have seen the following trailer — which, as every listener to Classic FM will instantly realise, doesn’t feature ‘the theme from Schindler’s List’:

After hearing the clips in my last posting, probably every reader will have been able to tell by ear alone that this music is also from a score by Wojciech Kilar. It’s actually from his Exodus, for mixed choir and orchestra (1979-81) — and if you have 24 minutes to spare, you will find it in full here:

(Analytical note: If you’ve ever wondered what the ‘Phrygian mode’ is, that tune was in it — even though what was happening around it very often wasn’t. Historical-political note: The period 1979-81 saw the founding of the independent trade union Solidarność and its first challenges to the authority of the Polish state. Musicological note: The score includes a motto from the Old Testament: ‘And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea’ [Ex. 15, 20 – 21].)

Now, I myself have never heard it suggested anywhere that Kilar was ever slated to provide the music for Schindler’s List — a fact which won’t surprise you if you recall that Steven Spielberg has a long-running creative relationship with John Williams, who has actually scored every one of his films apart from the early Duel (1971) and The Color Purple (1985). My own thoughts concerning this trailer are merely that, following his great Western ‘breakthrough’ with the Dracula score (1992), Kilar was not only film-musical flavour of the month in the Hollywood Hills, but also had an agent smart enough to know that a piece in his ‘back catalogue’ could be related to the forthcoming Spielberg film by its musical material and its title…

Since then, of course, Hollywood has re-written its own history. With Schindler’s List ending up hyperbolically marketed as ‘One of the most historically significant films of all time’, it was surely inevitable that, once John Williams’s score was finished and available, other versions of the trailer would be produced with the ‘official’ music in them. (If this music is something you haven’t heard enough times, you can find one of the ‘second generation’ trailers here.)

I’m almost finished for the day; but there is one other little ‘find’ I’d like to share with you. This is a clip from a programme in which the great Polish director Andrjez Wajda (b. 1926) talks about Kilar’s work as a film composer. According to the information attached to the clip (in Polish), the interview was an 80th birthday tribute to the composer — and must therefore date from 2012. The sequence also includes a few clips from films that I’d wager most Western cinéastes haven’t come across all that often…

So there we are. More tomorrow; meantime, don’t let me hear any of you saying that this blog doesn’t give you your money’s worth…


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