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 Posted:   Jun 17, 2013 - 9:19 PM   
 By:   Ludwig van   (Member)

That "fandango" is a fabulous piece of music, but I don't think it works in this scene: Hitchcock's instincts were right here. The up-tempo nature of this piece suits the initial 'attack' from the plane, but once "Thornhill" is lying in the dead cornfield - eg. moments of no 'action' - the fast tempo seems out of place. But there are other important reasons about why it doesn't work:

1. This whole sequence elapses in what's known as "real time" (as opposed to 'reel time'). There is no use of elipsis or cutaways to reduce the time duration of the scene. The drama unfolds precisely because we are taken through it minute by minute and are palpably meant to feel Thornhill's fear. Music would have conferred a kind of 'artifice' to that scene were it to be included.

2. Hitchcock uses his now-famous restricted and partially-restricted narrative information here. We are restricted to Thornhill's "information" about what his happening to him, thus creating extra suspense. By including the theme music audiences would be cued into the plot's main narrative concerns and this would, therefore, reduce suspense because we'd say, "oh; this is what they're doing now". During the scene, however, we do not know because this plane literally arrives 'out of the blue'. We are left to piece the puzzle together, as in the rest of the film, from Thornhill's point of view. The main 'fandango' (which is a 'dance', ironically enough) occurs AFTER we have been given unrestricted access to the plot details, if memory serves me.


Yes, even though 2 above doesn't apply to all the fandango statements, your point is well taken. I suppose one could say the cropduster scene works in the way that most other action scenes do in that it interprets things for us. But of course that's not nearly as effective, as you say. The whole idea of the scene was to do a chase scene in an environment where there's almost nowhere to hide, contrary to the numerous city street chases seen in previous films. So you're right that leaving us in as much suspense as his protagonist generates much more tension than musical accompaniment does. Thanks for pointing it out.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 17, 2013 - 11:31 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

I've read an excellent biography about Hitchcock, "Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light" by Patrick McGilligan (Wiley, Chichester, 2003). McGilligan has this to say about 'Benny 'Herrmann:

"Herrmann's scores would immeasurably enhance Hitchcock's greatest films to come. His music would contribute an 'affective depth' to those films, wrote *Brown, 'precisely what Hitchcock's cinema needed; what, in fact, it had sorely lacked even in certain masterpieces of the early 1950's, such as 'Strangers on a Train'.

That 'affective depth' was there instantly in their relationship, so after 'The Trouble with Harry' Hitchcock began to bring Herrmann in, according to the latter, 'from the time of script. He depends on music and often photographs a scene knowing that music will complete it'. The director also brought the composer into every stage of the editing, according to Herrmann, because 'if you're using music, he'll cut it differently'"(507).

I submit that choosing to go WITHOUT music in a scene is a deliberate artistic decision precisely because the SOUND itself is enough to carry the action and create a unique kind of suspense.

(*Professor Royal S. Brown)

 
 Posted:   Jun 18, 2013 - 3:28 AM   
 By:   OnlyGoodMusic   (Member)

John Williams describes a scene he wrote music for in FAMILY PLOT which Hitchcock didn't use because he found silence more effective:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKIm5kMpEZA

 
 Posted:   Jun 18, 2013 - 5:38 AM   
 By:   stroppy   (Member)

Vertigo...supremely fascinating and haunting. But my personal favourite when I was a wee youngster was this:

The Man Who Knew Too Much (Stewart & Doris Day version)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8L-nuvjhKsE

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 18, 2013 - 8:20 AM   
 By:   eriknelson   (Member)

Very fond of Paradine Case too [I don't think the music was ever released].

There was a suite on KOCH records I believe. I'll check it out and get back to you.


There's another version that was released on Varese. Piers Lane, piano; Queensland Symphony Orchestra/Richard Mills; VSD-5242.

 
 Posted:   Jun 18, 2013 - 8:36 AM   
 By:   OnlyGoodMusic   (Member)

Very fond of Paradine Case too [I don't think the music was ever released].

There was a suite on KOCH records I believe. I'll check it out and get back to you.


Not so much a suite as an "ersatz" piano concerto derived from material written for the film:

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 18, 2013 - 12:15 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Very fond of Paradine Case too [I don't think the music was ever released].

There was a suite on KOCH records I believe. I'll check it out and get back to you.


Not so much a suite as an "ersatz" piano concerto derived from material written for the film:



That "ersatz" piano concerto isn't the only unusual thing about this recording. Did you know that David Beuchner, pianist, is now Sarah Buechner and that this gender reassignment has virtually cost this pianist a career!!

 
 Posted:   Jun 18, 2013 - 12:18 PM   
 By:   OnlyGoodMusic   (Member)

Yes, I know. I remember when I first read the bio on a later Koch disc that said "Sara Davis Buechner" and I thought: Where did I read this before? It took a moment of reflection to realize why. wink

She looks much like Angela Morley, btw. wink

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 18, 2013 - 12:33 PM   
 By:   Dr Lenera   (Member)

Thanks guys for letting me know about that CD, looks like a really interesting album and I will order it soon!

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 18, 2013 - 3:17 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Yes, I know. I remember when I first read the bio on a later Koch disc that said "Sara Davis Buechner" and I thought: Where did I read this before? It took a moment of reflection to realize why. wink

She looks much like Angela Morley, btw. wink


I don't know Angela Morley, as I'm an Australian from Sydney!! Beuchner was a finalist in our International Piano Competition in, I think, about 1989. A fine pianist who now struggles to get a 'gig' after the sex change. The reasons for this remain enigmatic.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 18, 2013 - 4:22 PM   
 By:   jonathan_little   (Member)

Obsession? Oh, wait...

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 18, 2013 - 5:50 PM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

Sara Davis Buechner, now based in Canada, has certainly not disappeared from the scene, as you can see from her Web site: http://saradavisbuechner.com/about.php

Her performances and records continue to be well reviewed. We'd love to see her performing with more of the major orchestras, but the fact is that there are a lot of talented soloists out there, and symphony orchestras can engage only a limited number of soloists. I know that Sara is particularly eager to perform the Rozsa Concerto (the Opus 30, not just the SPELLBOUND piece). That she has thus far played it only in Manila is more a comment on our major orchestras' leadership than anything else.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 18, 2013 - 7:45 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Sara Davis Buechner, now based in Canada, has certainly not disappeared from the scene, as you can see from her Web site: http://saradavisbuechner.com/about.php

Her performances and records continue to be well reviewed. We'd love to see her performing with more of the major orchestras, but the fact is that there are a lot of talented soloists out there, and symphony orchestras can engage only a limited number of soloists. I know that Sara is particularly eager to perform the Rozsa Concerto (the Opus 30, not just the SPELLBOUND piece). That she has thus far played it only in Manila is more a comment on our major orchestras' leadership than anything else.


Oh, how lovely to hear that!! Thank you so much for sharing this and she is certainly a very fine pianist. I remember in the Sydney International Piano Competition (actually one of the most demanding in the world, as it happens) David/Sara Beuchner was in the top 6 and that's saying something. I thought she was teaching at an American music school last I heard, but I'm glad she's getting to play with orchestras. Thank heaven not everything is Lang Lang these days!!

I don't know the Rosza Concerto and will check it out on U-Tube right now. Cheers, Regie

 
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