The first time most of us hear an orchestra 'in full cry' is probably during a visit to the cinema. The art of writing for the movies is something too easily taken for granted. Classical music lovers have tended to look down their noses at a craft that has often been seen as transitory, disposable hackwork. Yet. the lure of the cinema has been strong enough to encourage many 'classical'composers to contribute one of the most potent elements in the --Wend that makes film such an engrossing medium: Vaughan Williams, Walton, Britten, Auric, Korngold, Copland, Shostakovich and Prokofiev, to pluck a few names out of the air, all made their mark . Today the art of writing for films and television - is in even greater demand; just think of, say, the last wildlife programme you watched and reflect on the amount of music that accompanied the images - and then on how much the music added to the programme. Of course there is an argument that this music is fine in context but divorced of the imagery and motivation of that context, is somewhat lamed; in some cases that is true. Yet every so often a film score breaks free from the world for which it was conceived and takes on a life of its own.
This month we delve deeper into the world of film with Joshua Bell and John Corigliano. Corigliano has impeccable credentials in the classical field; his father was Concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic during the Bernstein glory days. His concert works, too, have achieved a popularity thanks to their approachable style and to the high-profile performers who have taken them into their repertoire (James Galway is certainly one .. patron most composers would envy). Corigliano also received the rare honour of being given a commission by the Met for a new opera: The Ghosls of Versailles ",as the impressive outcome. This month's release brings the worlds of film and concert hall even closer together with a score for a film about music, The Red Violin, that has a concert work as a free-standing offshoot.
Another composer we focus on this month is the talented Debbie Wiseman whose music is more familiar than we. at first realize. We devote considerable space to one of her most recent projects because it offers a fascinating insight into music-making of a kind very different from that known by classical purists. This is high-pressure, high stakes music-making but it shouldn't be Dismissed on those grounds; it calls for a very specific sort of creativity and imagination, and Wiseman certainly seems to have that.
The world of film is but one of the many musical habitats of Gramophone's longest-serving current contributor, Lionel Salter. November 1998 sees the 50th anniversary of his first review in our pages and I know there are countless readers who have followed his recommendations, winced at his verdicts and nodded in agreement at his ability to sum up a record's success - or otherwise - with such economy and yet with such eloquence. Ted Greenfield pays a personal tribute on page 50 but I'd like to offer my own thanks to Lionel Salter for such dedication and his ability still to experience the excitement of a fine recording and make one want to rush out and follow up his advice ~
James Jolly Editor
In this issue
The Red Violin
performs a dual role on the tie-in release for this month's front cover.
He plays on John Corigliano' S
soundtrack to the film The Red Violin and also performs the related concert work,
The Red Violin Chaconne
Feature on page to Review on page 134
Victoria de los Angeles, one of the most popular sopranos of the post-war years, celebrated her 75th birthday on November 1sl. John Steane sends birthday greetings in his "Reputations" article and Alan BIy1h reviews three of the celebratory reissues of her inimitable art Photo Mell Me/ancoll "Reputations" on page 26 Reviews on pages 102 and 111
Music with pictures
Three days in the life of composer
Debbie Wiseman opens our extended feature of reviews and interviews devoted to film music, giving an in-depth look at the art of writing and recording film scores PholO Wisemun Feature on page 120
Conductor arid pianist Michael Tilson Thomas contributes to the Gershwin centenary celebrations with two discs that link the two coasts of the USA - an all-Gershwin concert from San Francisco and a jazz-inspired programme from Florida with the hugely impressive New World Symphony Phoro SFSIMcCanliy Interview on page 18 Review on page 76
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