Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Aaron Copland and who? Miklos Rozsa? Bernard Herrmann? What could these four composers possibly have in common? They all wrote movie music, although Mozart never quite consented. This weekend, The Richmond Symphony presents music by all four composers in its"Music from Movies" Double Exposure concert.
Copland is one of the greatest and best-known American composers of our century. Few would argue that any composer so captured the American spirit as perfectly as he did with "Rodeo," "Appalachian Spring" and "Billy the Kid." What you may not recognize is that Copland composed for such silver-screen hits as John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" and "The Red Pony," and Thornton Wilder's "Our Town." Copland even won an Academy Award for his music for a 1948 movie "The Heiress," based on Henry James' novel "Washington Square." In 1942, Copland reworked themes from several of these movies and included them in a five-movement suite, which he called "Music for Movies" from which the Symphony takes the title of this concert.
Though perhaps best known for the "dum-dum-dum-dum" opening of the theme to "Dragnet," Rosza was one of the most prolific composers for movies. His credits include: "Ben Hur," "Quo Vadis?," "El Cid," "King of Kings," "Spellbound" and "The Thief of Baghdad." In all, Rozsa composed for more than 80 movies before his death in 1995.
Herrmann is the man behind such memorable movie music as the opening of Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane," the shrieking shower scene in Psycho and the sexy saxophone of Taxi Driver. Hermann is best-known for his collaborations with Welles, especially the famous radio broadcast of "War of the Worlds," with Hitchcock, with whom he collaborated on nine movies, and with Truffaut, for whom he wrote the score to "Fahrenheit 451." The Symphony will perform his disturbing and chilling "Suite for Strings from Psycho," which Herrmann composed in 1960.
Mozart's Piano Concerto Number 21 in C Major, K. 467, was premiered in Vienna on March 10, 1785, with Mozart himself as the soloist. While the piece was popular at its premier (it, in fact, was met with deafening applause) this piece took on a new life of renown when one of its movements was used in the 1967 Swedish film "Elvira Madigan."
Copland, Mozart, Rosza and Hermann - certainly strange bedfellows, but all accomplished movie composers. Who would have
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