In a recent Facebook exchange after announcing the Finalists for the Atlanta 48 Hour Film Project (note: I'm the city co-producer, and CL Arts editor Debbie Michaud served as a juror), a cheeky poster inquired about whether 48HFP issued an award for music commenting, "Music...always the wicked stepchild and usually makes up 1/2 of a film :)"
Music plays a major role in the success of a great film, coloring the atmosphere, setting the tone, and adding emotional depth. There's a delicate balance between being too obvious and being too subtle with music. So many classic films feel corny because they veer headlong into cheese-factory strings, overwrought with emotion. On the flip side, music that is too subtle fades into the distance, lost in the mix.
Great movie music finds a sweet spot, complimenting other elements of the film.
Two events scheduled for the next few weeks feature musical elements from movies:
This Saturday, July 14 at 8:00 at Atlanta Symphony Hall, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will be joined by composer Don Davis for a live performance of the Matrix score played alongside the film itself.
The convention of staging live orchestral music in conjunction with silent films is long established. This new twist, playing scores live with sound films is intriguing. It certainly is something that cannot be replicated at home.
But there is still something inherently awkward about the experience as a stand alone event. With the final film mastered in dolby surround sound the levels are set perfectly for every sound so that every line of dialogue, each explosion, every bullet ricochet, and each note of the score are mixed to perfection. Is there really anything added to the experience by seeing the film with the p score performed live with the film?
Or is it like a really, really, really expensive version of orchestral karaoke?
In the case of The Matrix, where the film asks what is organic, what is "real," delving into existential ideas surrounding artifice, adding live performers to the show could detract from the experience by drawing you out of the world of the film, and reminding you that you're in a theatre, watching a movie, with a live orchestra, right there in front of you. (Or are they?)
It hard for us to see this as anything other than a bait and switch effort to try to get young sci-fi movie fans to pony-up and come to the orchestra. "See kids, orchestral music can be cool!" (The cynic inside dreams of the day when they do the live orchestral accompaniment to Moonrise Kingdom, with the live performance of Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide to Orchestra performed live over film itself.
Tickets are available here: http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/0E00488680592E3B
Drive Tour—which to me is just music by a bunch of bands that sound like Air, visits Terminal West at the King Plow Arts Center on August 16.
That the whole tour is being sold around Drive because the movie featured one single, the anthem "A Real Hero" by Electric Youth in collaboration with College, smacks of opportunism. (We wonder if Anoraak is just a fan of the film, or whether he has any additional connection to Drive.)
To the promoters' credit, it got my attention.
If you plan to hear what other 80's techno-inspired Tangerine Dreams this trio will produce, get your tickets here: http://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/129811?utm_source=fb1&utm_medium=amp
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