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Classical Music

Music In The Making: Cinematic Magic

Featuring concert works that made their first appearance on the Silver Screen!


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On this week's episode of Music in the Making, we’re listening to pieces in the classical repertoire that were originally made popular in film scores. But first, we’ll hear a symphony by a composer we all know and love – Mahler!

Gustav Mahler – Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp minor – I. Trauermarsch (1902)
Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra; Larry Rachleff, conductor
Stude Concert Hall

Our program starts with a selection from Gustav Mahler’s most famous of his nine symphonies: Symphony No. 5. While you may know this piece for it’s famous Adagietto fourth movement, tonight we’ll be listening to the first movement from this work. This selection is a funeral march, which is a style Mahler had used in his previous symphonies, as well. Listen carefully, as the opening motive in the famous trumpet solo is carried throughout the movement.

Cover art for The Red Violin soundtrack, composed by John Corigliano

John Corigliano – Chaconne from The Red Violin (1998)
Kirsten Yon, violin; Timothy Hester, piano
Moores Opera House

Our next work, though a concert piece, was inspired by a movie score written by the same composer. John Corigliano had written two other film scores prior to The Red Violin, which became one of his most successful and significant compositions; in fact, that year his work won the Academy Award for Best Original Score. From this set of music, Corigliano created a work for violin and orchestra that incorporates the many themes and plotlines from the movie. In order to tie these all together, Corigliano chose to write this work as a chaconne, so that the repetition of the chords could tie the lively story together.

Sergei Prokofiev – Suite from Lieutenant Kijé, Op. 60 (1933)
Texas Music Festival Orchestra
Moores Opera House

Our final selection is a popular work by Sergei Prokofiev, and is notably his first attempt at film score composition, written in 1933. Additionally, this composition also marks his first commission from within the Soviet Union, which he had left in 1918, almost 20 years prior. The 1934 film Lieutenant Kijé was a satirical Russian film and was produced during the birth of sound cinema. Many composers were eager to try to compose for this new medium, and Prokofiev viewed this commission as an opportunity to write more accessible and popular music for the public. Following the film’s successful release, Prokofiev created the equally successful five-movement suite that features the popular themes from the movie.

This episode originally aired Sunday, January 10th, 2016. Catch Music in the Making every Sunday at 7:06 PM on Classical 91.7.