MUSIC

 

 
AND

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

FILM
 


 Try an experiment. Turn off the sound on your favorite film and watch it for a few minutes...
 
Was the viewing experience the same as with the sound? Better? Worse? Did the meaning of the film still come across through the images? Or was there a marked decrease in the ability of the images to communicate?
 
When cinema was invented, it was a purely visual medium (no sound), the power of which the world had never seen before. A few directors (i.e. Dovzhenko, Chaplin, Dreyer) understood their responsibility in this brave new medium and strove to use it with some real intuitive insight. All others became willing slaves to their passions and indulgences, using cinema to open up yet another window for the darkness to flood through onto this earth. With the invention of sound-enhanced motion pictures, the same pattern repeated itself. Except now the image became even less important. Hour upon hour of numbingly mindless, suggestive, obscene or calculative chatter, usually accompanied by incredibly banal wallpaper imagery and music. And, quite objectively, things have only gotten worse since then! A brilliant comment on this degeneration was made already by Charles Chaplin in Modern Times. Chaplin, who was under tremendous public and critical pressure to make a "talkie", deliberately filled up the soundtrack with the ugly sounds of the modern era, sounds that he, more than anyone else, had helped to transcend in the natural, lyrical poetry of his silent films.


 The few directors that have been able to use sound meaningfully in their films are usually those that also use imagery meaningfully. Music and image are the most naturally perfect of companions (when done purely with the right intuition!) Some directors, however, like Bu˝uel, Bergman, Godard and, in particular, Bresson use music sparingly (if at all), preferring to let their images resound on their own. Additionally, they usually create very original soundscapes (non-musical), which open up a whole new kind of language and experience for the viewer.
 
Other directors such as Artavazd Peleshian, Tarkovsky, Paradjanov and early-Pasolini (Gospel According to Matthew) use music all the time to enhance the special poetic qualities already present in their images and/or to add special meaning to certain scenes - eventhough their films can be viewed meaningfully without any soundtrack. Here, great music, with its spiritual longing for purity and nobility, can simply be itself, because the images are imbued with the same longing.
 
Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Purcell, Pergolesi, Handel, Tchaikovsky and Mahler all have an unquenchable, even painful longing for the spiritual heights in their music. Their intense inner-struggle in overcoming their imperfections is indelibly imprinted onto their music and serves as an enormous inspiration for those few, who still engage in the same struggle today. Godfrey Reggio's Koyaanisqatsi (music by Philip Glass); Robert Bresson's "Au Hasard Balthazar" (Schubert's Piano Sonata D.959), Kurosawa's Ran (music by Toru Takemitsu); Bergman's The Magic Flute (music by W.A. Mozart); Yuri Norstein's animation "Tale of Tales" (adapted score); Paradjanov's Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors (adapted score); Peleshian's "The Seasons", "We", "Beginning" and "Life" (all adapted scores); Tarkovsky's Mirror (adapted score) and "Stalker" (music by Eduard Artemiev); and Pasolini's Gospel According to St. Matthew (adapted score) arguably stand as the best examples of a pure synthesis of great music and great imagery.

A well-known music professor/composer once posed the question to his class, "What is the value of classical music in today's society?" Then he wondered whether or not today's world could benefit from a new Haydn-like composer.
 
The response he received from the class was that Haydn had lived in a simpler, more peaceable, more graceful time and that his music naturally reflected those values. Composers today, on the other hand, write the kind of dissonant music that reflects their own quickly deteriorating, unharmonious world.
 
The professor paused, then answered that Haydn himself had lived in one of the bloodiest times in world history and yet still managed to write music, which spiritually transcended that worldly ugliness and brutality. So why, indeed, couldn't there be that kind of composer today, who could help inspire mankind in a spiritual direction with music of beauty, nobility, purity, grace and joy? After all, is this not the first and foremost responsibility of all those entrusted with the gift of artistic expression - be it in music, art, literature or cinema?
 
Of all the directors, Tarkovsky intuited most profoundly the sublime, spiritual nature of music. The following quote is taken from his film Stalker:
 
"Here you were talking about the meaning of life... Let's take music... It has the least connection with reality as such. Or, more precisely, if there is a connection, it is just through pure sound, mechanically, without ideas or associations.
 
"Nevertheless, music, by some miracle, penetrates into our very soul. What is it then that resonates within us in response to the noise produced by the harmonies? And transforms it for us into a source of elevated enjoyment, and unites us and stirs us so? What's it all for? And who needs it?... You might say: no one needs it and it's just for nothing. But no, that's unlikely. For everything, in the final analysis, has a meaning. A meaning and a purpose."

Our life too has a meaning and a purpose, which extends far beyond the parameters of our earthly existence. To acquire the full panorama on the purpose of our being in Creation, an unrepeatable opportunity has been granted to mankind at this time in the book of New Knowledge, which lifts the veils off all the mysteries of life by disclosing the natural and logical connections between all happenings on all levels of existence. This book is "IN THE LIGHT OF TRUTH: THE GRAIL MESSAGE" by Abd-ru-shin. Then the meaning and the purpose of all things arises clearly before our eyes, causing us to change in our innermost being in order to ensure a harmonious connection with Creation at large. And that alone will bring us life and happiness eternal!
 

 

SOUNDTRACK

 

 

 

 

TO    A

   NON-

EXISTENT

FILM

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SLIDESHOW
PHOTOGRAPHY CREDITS:
most of the photos used are by
Gordon Richardson
also credit to
and the National Severe Storms Laboratory 
 
STREAM
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TRACK

 SCENE

 
COMPOSERS/
PERFORMERS

TIMING

 

1 

THE GRAND DEPARTURE NICOLAS de GRIGNY
Maria Pearse, organ
(live performance 1983)

4:08 

2 

JOYFUL EXPECTATION  LOUIS VIERNE
Maria Pearse, organ
(live performance 1983)

5:29 

 

3 

THE FALL
(Descending into the Terrible Storm) 
GREGORY PEARSE (1985)

2:14 

4  

ABSENCE: A HAUNTED LANDSCAPE  GREGORY PEARSE (1985) 

3:40 

 

5 

A DISTANT OCEAN (LONGING) GREGORY PEARSE (1983)
D. Toner, flute
M. Ettleson, piano 

1:12 

 

6 

THE STRUGGLE TO RETURN
TO THE LIGHT
GREGORY PEARSE (1985)
Maria Pearse, organ

5:54 

 

7 

SCIENCE IN THE END-TIME:
FUN WITH ASTRONOMY 
GREGORY PEARSE (1983)
D. Collins, bass line  
E. Collins, boy's voice 

6:15 

                      



NOTE:
Our soundtrack will play only on Realplayer G2. If you don't have the G2 upgrade, then you may wish to click on the following logo to download your FREE player.

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
October 31, 1998