This will be the last posting — well, for a little while, anyway! — on the subject of Things to Come and its magnificent Arthur Bliss score; and, like the second and third pieces in this series, it addresses things that friends and strangers have had to say in response to my text and clips…
This particular piece is a reply to a private message from a far-away reader who seemed a bit baffled by what I said about the famous March from ‘Things to Come’ as heard in the concert hall. I can’t quite identify the source of her confusion — but it doesn’t matter: it’s the easiest thing in the world for me to code up a few clips that will demonstrate exactly what I was talking about.
What I said, two postings ago, was the following:
“In the music for the ‘Suite’, Bliss cleverly makes a long introduction-and-statement by joining together two stretches of music that were actually kept far apart in the film itself!”
And all that anyone needs to do in order to see and hear what I meant is watch the following two clips one after the other: click the first, and watch it until it stops; and then immediately click the second and do the same:
What you’ve just heard is pretty much what Bliss did when he constructed the first couple of minutes of the March that forms part of his concert suite. I’ve always considered it a jolly neat piece of musical ‘joinery’; in fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that the continuous version we hear in the concert hall was written first, and only when he came to distribute the music within the film did Bliss separate the introductory opening from the march-with-trio heard in our second clip. (Perhaps there’s someone reading this who knows whether that’s what actually happened?) Either way, it all manages to be terrific film music as well as wonderful in the concert hall. (And did you notice that, in the second clip, Bliss finds yet another way of getting good value from the snare drums that I’ve already had two occasions to mention!)
Here’s the whole March, here conducted by Bliss himself:
Everything clear now, madam…?
Incidentally, I always find myself chuckling inwardly when I see dear old Ralph Richardson talking in that scene about broken-down aeroplanes needing to be repaired. You see, it’s a charming fact from the actor’s biography that, when WW2 began and he joined the Fleet Air Arm as a pilot, he rapidly became known as ‘Pranger’ Richardson on account of the large number of aircraft he managed to break…
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