7 years ago

Volume 18 Issue 1 - September 2012

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Scene from A Late

Scene from A Late Quartet. The BrentanoQuartet who actually play the movie’s musicperform live at Music Toronto, September 13.THE WHOLENOTE’S TIFF 2012 PREVIEWBECAUSE CINEMA IS A MOST MUSICAL ART | BY PAUL ENNISThe upcoming Toronto International Film Festival (September 6to 16) features several movies that use music in interesting ways.A handful deal explicitly with the (fictional) lives of performers andteachers. One touches on the therapeutic value of choir singing. Inothers, innovative sound design pushes the boundary of what wemay think of as music but the results make for unique cinematicexperiences. Here at The WholeNote, we’ve sifted through the 289feature length films of the 37th TIFF program and zeroed in on thosetitles that we think our readers might find appealing.!!A Late Quartet may be the first fictional film about chambermusic’s most beloved configuration since Fabio Carpi’s The BasileusQuartet (1982). It’s certainly the only one built around and permeatedthrough and through by Beethoven’s Op. 131.Christopher Walken stars as the group’s cellist and founding memberwhose Parkinson’s diagnosis puts their future in doubt. Mark Ivanir(whom we first noticed in Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List as theunscrupulous Marcel Goldberg) is the first violinist whose meticulousnessand perfectionism drives the quartet’s musical engine. Suppressinghis character’s ego, Philip Seymour Hoffman plays second fiddle, notthe first time, in his long and distinguished career. As his wife, andthe group’s violist, Catherine Keener adds her own needs to the dramathat threatens to crack the bonds that have held the quartet togetherfor 25 years.Musical references and performance insights abound, with the BrentanoQuartet providing the Beethoven as well as a snippet of Haydn andSarasate’s Zigeunerweisen. Watch for a cameo appearance by AnneSofie von Otter, as Walken’s wife, singing Korngold’s “Marietta’s Song.”!!“This is not a retirement home,” Maggie Smith’s character proclaimsin Quartet, Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut based on RonaldHarwood’s play about a home for retired opera singers. “This is a madhouse.”What’s to be done when the diva refuses to sing? The show mustgo on, of course. According to the BBC, “Quartet is a joyous film aboutredefining old age and growing old with hope; demonstrating how artilluminates life and the human spirit remains undimmed even as thebrightest stars start to fade.”Indeed with Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins and Tom Courtenay andVerdi in tow, Quartet seems likely to appeal to the audiences that havehelped The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel become the sleeper hit of thesummer. One can only hope it evokes the spirit of Daniel Schmid’sfondly remembered documentary Tosca’s Kiss.!!In Amour, Michael Haneke’s eagerly anticipated, criticallyacclaimed film that won the top prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival,the lives of two retired piano teachers take a profound turn as thewife suffers a series of small strokes that prevent her from playing music.Adding to their legendary status, the couple is played by French actinggiants Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva, now in their 80s.Alexandre Tharaud appears in a small role as their star pupil beginningwith a recital at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees. He visits theirelegant Paris apartment and plays some of Beethoven’s Bagatelle Op. 126,No. 2. His recordings of Schubert Impromptus Op. 90, No. 1 & 3 andBach/Busoni’s Prélude Choral “Ich ruf zu Dir, Herr Jesu Christ” areessential in advancing the plot.!!In Paul Andrew Williams’ Song For Marion Vanessa Redgravefinds solace in her old age from her participation in a choir directedby Gemma Atherton. Terence Stamp plays Redgrave’s husband, makingthis married couple at least as star-powered as the one in MichaelHaneke’s Amour.TIFF’s artistic director Cameron Baily put it in context: “Here’s thescoop on #TIFF12 Closing Night film SONG FOR MARION: bring Kleenex,prepare to sing along.”!!Mika Kaurismäki’s Finnish film, Road North, follows an esteemedconcert pianist whose personal life is on the rocks, and the trip he takeswith his trickster father, a man he has not seen for 35 years. Road Northstars Finland’s leading film and music icons, Vesa-Matti Loiri and SamuliEdelmann, as the estranged father and son.!!In Goran Paskaljevic’s When Day Breaks a retired music professor’slife changes forever when the Jewish Museum in Belgrade askshim to examine the contents of an iron box recently discovered on thegrounds of an infamous concentration camp.!!For the more adventurous, Berberian Sound Studio, Peter Strickland’shomage to 1970s Italian horror films, may prove to be rewarding.Toby Jones plays a sound engineer who edits shrieks and the bloodcurdlingsounds of vegetables being chopped for a low budget Italianstudio. What is of musical interest is the nature of the sounds he edits.It’s as if the spirits of the 1950s Darmstadt School were unleashed randomly,musique concrete-style and manipulated to produce psychicterror. Berberian Sound Studio was widely hailed after its world premiereat the Edinburgh Festival in June.!!Described by Steven Dalton in the Hollywood Reporter as a “hiphopstreet opera,” iLL Manors is the directorial debut of Ben Drew(singer-songwriter Plan B). An outgrowth of his song of the same nameabout the 2011 UK summer riots, this low budget depiction of crimeamong the lower classes evocatively remixes Saint-Saëns’ “Carnival ofthe Animals” in what is said by the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw to begin“with a great rush of energy and a swirl of images.”!!Rhythm arguably being the cornerstone of music, the end of timewould radically change our understanding of music. Peter Mettler’s newdoc, The End of Time, brings an exhilarating sound design, dazzling naturalimages and stimulating ideas to one of mankind’s most profoundquestions: the nature of time. Appropriately enough, it concludes withChristos Hatzis’ and Bruno DeGazio’s audio-visual immersive soundand light show, Harmonia.!!Finally, Simon Ennis’ humorous and poignant documentary,Lunarcy!, focuses on a disparate group of dreamers and schemers whohave all devoted their lives to the moon. The soundtrack, which composerChristopher Sandes is fleshing out as this is being written, mixesOrff-inspired rhythms with spacey Wendy Carlos-like Moog momentsand Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” played on steel pan and marimba(two instruments which could be made on the moon, according to thefilmmaker). Full disclosure: the director is my son.Individual tickets to TIFF 2012 are available as of September 1.Consult for information.Check The WholeNote blog after the festival for a report on TIFF2012 with a special emphasis on films that used music in interestingways.Paul Ennis is a Toronto-based, classically trained musician whohas spent many years programming and writing about movies.70 September 1 – October 7, 2012

A dazzling weekend full ofperformances, talks and exhibitions BYbySEPTEMBER 22 & 23Convocation Hall University of TorontoDay pass 0 (students )Weekend 0 (students 0)416-872-1212 or 1-800-461-3333glenngouldvariations.cacelebrated film directors, writers,actors, musicians, philosophers,scientists, choreographers,broadcasters, composers, DJs,thinkers and innovators!NORMANJEWISONCHILLYGONZALESMARIECHOUINARDLANG LANGROBERTWILSONATOMEGOYANSOPHIEMILMANBOBEZRINADRIENNECLARKSONBRENTCARVERRICKMILLERKATERINACIZEKCORYDOCTOROW2CELLOSJOHANN OLAVKOSSFRANÇOISGIRARDLOMBARDTWINSJAYMESTONENORAYOUNGJEAN-FRANÇOISZYGELBRIANBRUSHWOODANNCOOPER GAYURICAINEALANCROSSEVEEGOYANBRETTGAYLORDANIELKÖTTERMANIMAZINANIJORDANO’CONNORJORDAN B.PETERSONDAMIANOPIETROPAOLOMARKSURMANCANADIAN CHILDREN’SOPERA COMPANYJEAN-JACQUESLEMÊTRETODMACHOVERMICHAELCUMELLAJOHANNESDEBUSSANDYPEARLMANSANDRINEREVELDJANETSEARSPLUSPLUSWorld Premiere Installations byROBERT WILSON—South American Horned FrogVideo Portraits @ University of Toronto Art CentreCelebrates Gould & BachSept. 23 David Louie Sept. 24 BACHanaliaGo to 416 408 0208 for discount tix!ATOM EGOYAN—Macrophone @ King’s CrossCircle Field, University of TorontoMAX STREICHER—A Fractal in Three Dimensions@Convocation Hall, University of Toronto

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