Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

New scores for Le Voyage dans la lune

From December 9, 2009:

This project is so very clever. It's amazing to be able to watch a high quality print of the 1904 Georges Melies classic film "Le Voyage dans la lune" with a choice of four musical scores by five composers. Most of us have seen clips of this film many times - especially the scene where the rocket lands in eye of the Man in the Moon. Now we have a chance to watch this pioneering Science Fiction classic in its 12-minute entirety, with the freshness that the new scores bring to the experience.

ERM media has provided both a DVD with the four versions of the film, and a CD with the complete scores. As to the various soundtracks, it's really hard to choose a favourite. Robert Ian Winstin's version for prepared piano and percussion is impressive. (It was Winstin who put the project together.) I like the intimate and immediate sounds Winston provides to accent the action in the film, but also the dramatic sweep he introduces for various scenes: especially the two minutes of music for the Final Credits. Louie Hurwitz & Marie Spinosa provide a clever, post-modern twist on the story, with fun, spaced-out Hammond organ licks and the odd vocal contribution. This is likely to be the score I would most often listen to as a stand-alone work.

James Guymon's full orchestral score (complete with wordless choir) adds a layer of awe to what is basically a comic film, though he also underlines the odd bit of slapstick in the film. Listen especially to the beautiful "Mushrooms and Stars" cue (track 23). Don Myers provides a suite for accordion and various instruments that is full of unexpected sounds.

Perhaps that's what I liked most about this package: at every turn I was surprised, while I watched the film four times over, and then while I listened to the music at my leisure afterwards.

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