prosciutto with melon

From: Myron Ort (email suppressed)
Date: Mon Oct 19 2009 - 11:47:37 PDT

MOVIE MUSIC; Cocteau's Recipe

To the Editor:

May I add a corroborative anecdote to Edward Rothstein's essay on
movie music? [ "Need More Humor or Horror? Add Music -- Very
Carefully," Nov. 10 ] .

France's premier mid-century film scorer, Georges Auric, once told me
about his first job: composing backgrounds for Jean Cocteau's "Blood
of a Poet" in 1930. Dutifully, Auric wrote what is commonly known as
love music for love scenes, game music for game scenes, funeral music
for funeral scenes. Then Cocteau had the bright idea of replacing the
love music with the funeral music, game music with the love, funeral
with the game. It worked, like prosciutto with melon, while casting
an unexpected glow on the already odd movie.

Conclusion: Since the power of music -- at least of wordless music --
lies in an absence of any precise human significance, any music may
persuasively accompany any image while inevitably dictating the tone
of that image. Music may sugarcoat a tasteless film or poison one of
quality. Yet most viewers are unaware of what has ruined -- or
salvaged -- that which has bored or thrilled them. NED ROREM New York

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