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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Book-Related Music In The Early Morning

I like to wake and get up to gentle classical and Renaissance music. Among this morning's offerings on ABC Classic FM were two pieces connected with books. The first was the Italienne from the ballet Don Quixote by Minkus. Now, THAT brought back memories! I was about fourteen when I saw the ballet, by which time I was familiar with the book. (I suspect I'd get more out of it now, after an adulthood spent reading the kind of medieval romances it sends up). The ballet wasn't really about Don Quixote, but about events happening in a village he visits on his travels, two young lovers and a lot of running around, and very funny it was. And I got to see the Australian Ballet with a very special guest artist, Rudolf Nureyev. It cost me six weeks of pocket money and was worth every cent.

The second piece of book-related music,which was playing when I left - I was most reluctant to turn off the radio! - was Howard Shore's Lord Of The Rings music, which I've always thought would become a classic of orchestral music long after anyone remembers it was written as a film score. I recall that at some stage the suite was performed by an orchestra in concert, with Viggo Mortensen, the movie's Aragorn, chanting his little piece of Tolkien at the end.

I've always been a lover of film music, but looking back, it's amazing how many of my favourite scores were for films based on books. Spartacus by Alex North, based on a Howard Fast book.And by the way, he wrote a score for short- story-based 2001 before they decided to go with the temp score. Miklos Rosza's Romeo and Juliet(okay, it's a play, but I read it before I saw it). I admit to a love of John Williams' score for Star Wars, which wasn't based on a book, though there were elements of Joseph Campbell, but he also wrote the scores for three Harry Potter movies. Books make great movie music, eh?

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