In Venice

By skepticlawyer

Since Lorenzo has been visiting, he (and our readers) may appreciate this. The singer is Andreas Scholl, (arguably) the world’s leading countertenor; the composer is Jocelyn Pook, a modern interpreter of Renaissance music.

From the soundtrack to The Merchant of Venice (2005 film version). Lots of Canaletto, of course – the ‘painter the English ruined’, at least according to the Venetians.

7 Comments

  1. kvd
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Beautiful.

  2. Posted June 6, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Lovely. It certainly has more emotional resonance when you have been where the pictures are set.

  3. Posted June 6, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] – One of my choirmasters (http://www.move.com.au/artist/hartley-newnham) had previous and later lives as a counter-tenor – world travelled. He also had a lovely bass voice. Could therefore sing everybody’s part – SAT and B … so, the perfect choirmaster. (Oh, and he had a virginal, and I’d occasionally be on that instead of singing … tricky buggers those).

  4. Adrien
    Posted June 8, 2012 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Jocelyn Pook is the composer of the music in the amazing masked ball sequence sequence in Eyes Wide Shut. This caused a bit of a stink in India on account of lyrics from the piece being drawn from the Bhagavad Gita.

  5. Posted June 8, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Adrien – I remember being impressed by Pook’s music when I first saw the movie on its release. Now looking at info about it on Wikipedia I found that it also used parts of the Orthodox liturgy, played backwards. That to me is quite creepy and disturbing and presumably in keeping with the general intended horrific/pagan feel of the masked ball in Eyes Wide Shut.

    I know other composers (of the prestige of Bach, no less) have used mirror-melodies and palindromes. But in this instance it really does seem blasphemous.

    (Meaning I probably won’t listen to the link, sorry!)

    Interesting though. Without detracting from Pook’s achievement, I wonder if Kubrick came up with any of the ideas about the score?

    How good was his casting in that movie though – Cruise and Kidman, with that faint implication of religious weirdness in their personal lives (ie, Scientology). In many ways I think they probably haven’t been able to live down the film ever since.

  6. Adrien
    Posted June 9, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Tim – Well the blasphemy’s appropriate considering isn’t it? Play the liturgy backwards and you get something that truly sounds like its opposite. The principle masked figure looks very much like a cardinal.

    The story comes from a novel set in the 1890s an era that gave birth to several such tales as containing pseudo-Catholic ritual orgies. My favourite being The Damned by JK Huysmans.

    The Cruise/Kidman thing was the only way to make such a weird movie commercial. Sometimes I wonder if they broke up over it.

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