Friday, June 18, 2010

The Merry Widow (Erich von Stroheim) (film concert conducted by Maud Nelissen)

The Merry Widow (Stroheim) film concert (Maud Nelissen, Orchestra da Camera Oscura), 18 June 2010. Foto Laila Alanen

The Sodankylä Tent, 18 June 2010.

Revisited Erich von Stroheim's The Merry Widow presented with music arranged and composed by Maud Nelissen based on Franz Lehár's operetta, conducted by Maud Nelissen, and performed by Orchestra da Camera Oscura.

Maud Nelissen, conductor, piano
Emma Breedveld, 1. violin
Asdis Valdismarsdottir, viola
Marc Jasper Sornsen, double bass
Merima Kljuco, accordion
Esther Kávy, 2. violin
Rebecca Smit, cello
Daphne Balvers, soprano saxophone
Louis Lanzing, trumpet
Rombout Stoffers, percussions and bells

I enjoyed Maud Nelissen's The Merry Widow cinema concert very much in Pordenone last year, and now it was even better, performed by an orchestra selected by Maud Nelissen, herself. The music is 60% Lehár, 40% Nelissen, the blend is perfect, and there is a wonderful variety of moods in the score.

The film itself gets better with repeat viewings. The basic approach is caricature, satire, grotesque, with the exception of Prince Danilo, whose character begins as a caricature, too, but gets deeper with his experiences of disappointment, loss, and sadness, very well interpreted by John Gilbert.

Although this film is an exception of light entertainment in Stroheim's career as a director, it gains in impact with such moments of gravity.

Truffaut said that Hitchcock films love scenes like murder scenes and murder scenes like love scenes. One could say that Stroheim films sex scenes as holy scenes. Even in this film, sex scenes are not profane, and even with Sally O'Hara and Baron Sadoja, the intertitle announces "Wedding night, holy night" (with irony, certainly). The chambre séparée in which Prince Danilo has invited Sally is dominated by a large crucifix, and Sally, too, the Irishwoman, wears one (the final image is a close-up of the lock...). At Maxim's the lady of the night whom Danilo meets is dressed like a nun, and the talk is serious, not frivolous (but then the lady produces a cigar...).

The music keeps playing in my mind a day afterwards, and during the Pedro Costa screenings I keep hearing the waltz rhythm... Which means I need to watch the Pedro Costa films again later in tranquillity.

No comments: