Overruling a romantic prejudice: forms and formats of film music in concert programs

Audissino, Emilio (2014) Overruling a romantic prejudice: forms and formats of film music in concert programs. In: Film in Concert: Film Scores and Their Relation to Classical Concert Music. VWH Verlag, Glücksstadt, Germany, pp. 25-44. ISBN 9783864880605

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Film music is still considered by most musicologists and art-composers not as an Art with intrinsic aesthetic value, but as a mere commodity with a trivially functional scope. Along this line, the phenomenon of film-music pieces featured in concert programmes is considered an aberration to be ignored altogether.

This chapter aims, first of all, at giving an explanation of this long-standing prejudice and then at classifying the main forms and formats of concert arrangement and presentation of the film-music repertoire. The reasons of the prejudice is traced back to the nineteenth century and to Romantic Idealism – the influence of the so-called “Beethoven-centred Canon” and the “Absolute Music VS Applied Music” dualism have survived to the present day.

In the second part, the chapter offers a survey of how film music is typically selected, arranged for concert performance and presented on the stage. The first option is that of borrowing the “traditional form” and its formats – suite, overture, medley, etc... – already in use for other types of applied music. The most common film-music versions of the traditional formats will be illustrated, exemplified and compared to the older formats on which they are based.
The second and more specific option is the “multimedia form”. As the orchestra plays live, film clips are projected on a big screen above the stage, being synchronised more or less tightly with the phrasing and gestures of the music. There are two main formats: the “multimedia concert piece” – a film-music concert piece adapted according to the traditional formats but accompanied by projected film clips – and the “multimedia film piece.” – an entire scene or sequence of a given film, comprising the dialogue and sound effect tracks, which is accompanied live with the same music piece featured in the film. Apart from single multimedia pieces which may be featured in otherwise traditional concerts, there are also entire events based on the multimedia combination of music and visuals. They can be called “multimedia concert” and “multimedia film.” In the former instance, we have themed programmes having film projections across the whole concert – e.g., Star Wars in Concert. In the latter, we have the projection of an entire film with live musical accompaniment – e.g. the Lord of the Rings Trilogy road-show. Again, a precise description and proper examples will be provided for each case.

The final aim of the chapter is to show how the phenomenon of film music in concert is a rich and very topical one and cannot be ignored or downplayed just because of old prejudices.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: Music
Depositing User: Emilio Audissino
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2016 11:42
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 07:06
URI: https://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1637

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