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Cum Dederit

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  • Cum Dederit

    Last year I was attending a recital of counter tenor Franco Fagioli. and much to my surprise the attendance included an unusually high percentage of teen-agers. I was later informed why : Vivaldi's Cum Dederit (from his Nisi Dominus) was featured, and it had become a hit among the young in France after having been used as an inspiring anthem in a popular "Green Earth" film, as sung by Sandrine Piau. The kids had facebooked it.

    Later, when revisiting Chartres Cathedral with American friends, we heard the organist practicing a transcription of Nisi Dominus. I presume he/she was rehearsing for a future vocal recital, but as usual in this hallowed edifice, the effect was spectacular.

    It got me thinking. Is this the way to reintroduce kids to our classical music heritage? Let me make some non sequitur points.

    (1) Stanley Kubrick has done more than anyone to popularize classical music, with the soundtracks of his greatest movies.
    (2) The current popular music is so devoid of melody and harmony, since the days of Jacques Brel, Paul Simon, or Neil Young, that kids are craving for hummable tunes.
    (3) We should always respect our classical hits, Toccata and Fugue, the Bolero, Zarathustra, Va Pensiero, etc... as the Portals that will bring larger audiences. The contempt that effete music critics affect towards "Proms" music in favour of nasty contemporary noise is suicidal.
    (4) Every time I hear a Puccini or Verdi tune behind a TV commercial, I rejoice. Hearing Nessun Dorma in soccer stadiums is even better.
    (5) I am an avid gamer, and I notice an effort towards quality in symphonic music for video games. Jeremy Soule (Morrowind) and John Williams (all Star Wars derivatives) come to the mind.. In Fallout 76, there is a choice of music tracks, with an excellent classical selection. A first taste for many kids.
    (6) In churches, worship music will never recover from the steady decline in attendance. But churches are fantastic venues for concerts, and of course magnificent organs play a key role. Try and get reservations for the Saturday evening organ recitals at Notre Dame..

    Thinking about it, the crowds of tourists marching through the Abbeys and Cathedrals of Europe, where organists often rehearse, are probably getting their first taste of Bach and the Organ. Hopefully not the last.
    Last edited by Vincent; 03-31-2019, 12:36 PM.
    __________________________________________________ ________________________
    Hybrid Home Organ : Viscount Sonus 45 with additional 154 real pipes. Steinway A 188. Roland LX 706. Pianoforte : Walter 1805 Copy by Benjamin Renoux. Harpsichords : Franco-German by Marc Fontaine, Jacob Kirkmann single (1752).

  • #2
    Thought provoking insights, Vincent. I also enjoyed listening to the link you included. Thanks for this post.

    My home organ: Content M5800 as a midi controller for Hauptwerk


    • #3
      Yes, very thought-provoking! I too am delighted when I hear a familiar classical theme in a movie or on TV or even adapted into a popular tune. Perhaps some kids will find these tunes to be a gateway to the world of "real" music!

      I know that for me, I came to love classical music and organ music though hearing bits and pieces in movies before I ever started buying records and CDs for their own sake. Perhaps others will catch on as well.

      Thanks for your thoughts and observations.
      *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!


      • #4
        Some of my favorite popular introductions to classical music:

        (1) You can't beat Bugs Bunny's "What's Opera, Doc?" as a great introduction to Wagner. "The Rabbit of Seville" is also great fun.
        (2) John Boorman uses classical music well, e.g., Excalibur and Zardoz.
        (3) Ken Russell's Lizstomania is a trip. I haven't seen his Mahler.
        (4) Bruno Bozzetto's Allegro non Troppo is fabulous. Great visuals for "Bolero". Sibelius' "Valse Triste" is heartbreaking. I got to see Allegro on the big screen.
        (5) Classical cartoons often make great use of classical music. Also Smurfs.


        • #5
          The downside of some of these pop culture references to serious music is the permanent unwanted mental associations that come with them.

          Does not "Kill the Wabbit, kill the Wabbit" pop into your head whenever you hear "Ride of Valkyries". (At least the helicopter imagery that comes with "Apocalypse Now" doesn't have Elmer Fudd)

          Can you hear the "William Tell Overture" without thinking of the "Lone Ranger"?

          There was a Fred Waring & the Pennsylvanians recording of "Waltz of the Flowers" that I had as kid that added lyrics with the opening phrase being "Come to the garden wall." I sure wish I could hear that piece without those insipid lyrics bouncing around in my head.

          For the most part, the incorporation of classical themes into movie soundtracks, which is quite common and routine nowadays, is benign because usually your awareness of them is subliminal. Of course, "Apocalypse Now" and "2001 Space Odyssey" being two exceptions where the imagery and the music are inextricably linked. I recently heard a program on "Reel Music" that highlighted rejected film scores. One of those scores was Alex North's score for "2001 Space Odyssey" that Kubrick rejected in favor of the temporary music he was using. Frankly it was hard to imagine how North's music would have been better. I guess the black obelisk that comes to mind whenever I hear "Also Sprach Zarathustra" is a worthwhile tradeoff in this case.

          On the other hand, classical pianist Yang Yang attributes his interest in the piano to having seen that "Tom & Jerry" cartoon featuring Liszt's "Hungarian Rhapsody." At least there's no lyrics!

          Allen 965
          Zuma Group Midi Keyboard Encoder
          Zuma Group DM Midi Stop Controller
          Hauptwerk 4.2


          • Vincent
            Vincent commented
            Editing a comment
            I agree. And Apocalypse Now and Space Odyssey are hardly "pop" culture. I regard these as major art masterpieces.

        • #6
          The bulk of the soundtrack of the movie "Platoon" (1986) is Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings". It was awesome for that purpose.



          • voet
            voet commented
            Editing a comment
            This is probably one of the most transcribed pieces of music. It is very effective on the organ if you have the lots of nice strings to pull it off.

        • #7
          I can't hear anything that was on Hooked On Classics without expecting the next piece in those medleys to come discoing in.

          I can't hear Arabesque #1 without thinking I should be wearing a Members Only jacket and looking up.


          • #8
            By far my favourite movie about classical music is The Music Teacher (Le Maitre de Musique) made in Belgium by Corbiau in 1988. (Not to be confused with an Indian film by the same name).

            Click image for larger version  Name:	The Music Teacher.jpg Views:	0 Size:	17.4 KB ID:	653972

            The film is set in 1900 and stars the baryton José Van Dam as the aged virtuoso who, seing his powers failing, decides to tutor a promising girl and boy duo to carry on the baton of classical singing from one generation to the next. I find it haunting, and one of the best introduction to Opera. I show it with great success to young people in my makeshift "home cinema". They can be moved to tears.

            Mahler's famous "Abandonned by the world" lied, and some Verdi classics provide the soundtrack. Highly recommended.

            Last edited by Vincent; 04-02-2019, 09:23 AM.
            __________________________________________________ ________________________
            Hybrid Home Organ : Viscount Sonus 45 with additional 154 real pipes. Steinway A 188. Roland LX 706. Pianoforte : Walter 1805 Copy by Benjamin Renoux. Harpsichords : Franco-German by Marc Fontaine, Jacob Kirkmann single (1752).