movie weekend

a little detour from normal posts (whatever that might be). summer is always quiet as far as music is concerned, lots of traveling, lots of working. I’ve been hunting down for many live damnation de faust recording including the one here in the area last month under Charles Dutoit’s baton and with a stellar cast of Susan Graham, Willard White, Paul Groves… I have to say though that i quite dislike the generic take of Hungarian March as well as very very dragging tempo of the performance. This piece is so much about the mixing of voice and orchestra/solo instruments and male/female chorus. In the end i liked both versions from Weimar last year and the one I spotted 3 years ago in the UK with Monica Groop, Ildar Abdrazakov, Gregory Kunde, and Gianandrea Noseda (we remember him as the conductor for Vivica Genaux’ debut at the PROM). Here’s a sample from that, including in the 1st minute Marguerite’s lamentation to the drums/horns on her way to execution which i really like (1st take by Monica Groop, 2nd take by Kasarova, then followed by clip of male chorus to end act I. It’s quite a contrast of voice to mostly drums versus voice to more mixture horn/drum. “Il ne vient pas….” The bits after, love the harpsichord, really love, comes in around min 5. Anyhow, rambling, i didn’t mean to write so much about this because…

this weekend, i needed a break from work. have been working days and nights and weekends since got back on land. a PERFECT break popped up out of nowhere: free showing of Kung Fu Hustle for 2 nights !! If you don’t know about the movie, that’s cool, i think you should. I saw it both nights. If there’s another showing tomorrow, i would come too. I’ve seen it once before on tiny laptop screen. The beauty of big screen is not just about the fighting scenes but the music. I like the music A LOT (sample 1, 2, 3). a bit loud, but if you’re gonna make loud music, that’s the way to do it. The fighting scenes are great. One of the reasons I haven’t been to movie theaters in ages is that here in US, they seem to love big grand slow-mo exaggeration/overacting… If martial arts is involved, i want to see a movie from Asia, in native language too, not english. Love listening to foreign languages. But, the true reason i reallly like this movie? It’s the exact sort of things i grew up reading! every afternoon during teenage years. One sister was more into romantic novels, another into poetry or whatever. I on these, hit end of book, looped back to page 1. I also LOOOVE this one, but unfortunately we only had 1 book which was quite torn. Here’s the wiki version in English (why does it have to sound soooo boring in English translation, the title that is…, also here’s the wiki english of 2nd set.) They all fall under this set of Chinese Four Great Classical Novels. (Oh, now that i see that set, i also spent endless hours reading the 3rd novel, that 4th one somehow never made it to our house…). People can have their superman, spiderman, whatever. As a kid (and even now), i love the idea of the master, with a special skill no-one can possess.

Here’s a scene from it, to really lovely music, and sort of give an idea of the flow of film. It’s actually a comedy, done to very good taste (or rather my taste) i’d say. think i might have to dig up the thing on youtube to re-watch again…

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About thả diều
writing-challenged opera-addict

11 Responses to movie weekend

  1. Sarah says:

    Brilliant! I’m glad I don’t live in that neighbourhood – wouldn’t get a wink of sleep!

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  2. Eyesometric says:

    I can’t get anything from your first link – the one that is marked “here” !
    Settling down now to some listening/watching – thank you.

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  3. earwormopera says:

    I really enjoyed Kung Fu Hustle as well – I saw it in the theater when it came out. Enormous fun!

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    • thả diều says:

      oh wow, you saw it when first released? must have been a ball in the theater. i found it, the clip of solo violin, actually there’re 2 clips but haven’t found 2nd clip yet when he’s punching the street-light box, that’s when i thought they must have hired a whole orchestra to play the soundtrack, which they did!. it’s not just the music but how it fits in with the scenery (who needs Christian Lacroix for cylinder hats!). and camera angles. a very talented director i must say.

      @ Eyes and Sarah, you should check it out, very entertaining, ultra asian :-D. i dragged a colleague to the movie and after assuring me she’d leave w/in 10min (to review a paper, what “lame” excuse on friday night) she stayed the entire time!

      Edit- oh Eyes, hoho, the “here” clik brought you to “here!”, very intelligent no? :^). it’s fixed now. i still didn’t quite enjoy that performance for some reason, got quite angry at the end, that’s the wrong feeling when listening to faust! may be one of these days i could go back and enjoy Susan Graham again in smaller chunks instead of the entire work… THere’s a clip of CHarles Dutoit directing the NHK Symphony Orchestra (Tokyo) on this same piece and i remember thinking the exact same thing: how uninspiring. It’s interesting his approach/idea are similar many years later (to my ears), regardless of orchestras. Later in the piece it’s improving, but i afraid this year’s version somehow still left me quite upset…

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      • thả diều says:

        ah, here we are, the solo violin soundtrack!

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      • Eyesometric says:

        I know how you feel with angry/upset. There are times when I cannot believe what someone has done to a piece of music and I find myself yelling (inside) How. Could. You. !!!!!! But then interpretation is just that – an individual’s thoughts on the music and they may well hate what I do to it.

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  4. stray says:

    Dutoit is kind of like that these days. Makes me glad he’s yielding Philadelphia to YNS, though that likely means he’ll be at Tanglewood more. Still, a new venue might jazz him up, eventually.

    You mean all those 1970’s kung fu flicks from Hong Kong I used to watch on Channel 5 (badly dubbed, in our case, which was part of the charm) are now up on youtube? W00t!

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    • thả diều says:

      actually when i was growing up, we typically had just 1 person dubbing all voices in movies! I was told in smaller towns, there was no dubbing, you come to a small room somewhere where everyone gathered and a live person sitting by the light _reading_ the translation in real time! if i can find that movie on YT, am sure you can find all your flicks! (that reminds me, think i should search for that other Czech kid movie with the flowers that can do magic…)

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      • dehggial says:

        actually when i was growing up, we typically had just 1 person dubbing all voices in movies!

        same with us! It was just this one woman, everybody “knew her” (her voice). She dubbed everything from gangster films to cartoons. There’s even a documentary about it here.

        that being said, I really love the thing about the person actually reading the translation in small towns 😀

        also, thanks for the Chinese novels hint. I used to love musketeer novels as a kid, so I think I’d like these as well.

        Liked by 1 person

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