January 3, 2010 at 2:12 AM
Happy New Year!
A litany of good wishes from Stanley Kubrick (1968), Herbert von Karajan and the Vienna Philharmonic (1987), and me (2010)
One of the ways the Viennese traditionally celebrate New Years is to listen to Strauss waltzes, especially "The Blue Danube," and dance. Here is Herbert van Karajan conducting the Vienna Philharmonic in their 1987 New Year's concert. The dancers are from the Ballet of the Vienna State Opera.
P.S. A personal note: A few years ago, I played this waltz with my community symphony orchestra. Our conductor told us to stop listening to recordings of this piece until after the concert. Otherwise, he said, we would each play the version that we were most familiar with instead of our own collective version. During one of the rehearsals, he burst into laughter and had to stop conducting briefly. He was making the same association I was: The movie "2001: A Space Odyssey, which featured the Blue Danube Waltz. The film's producer, Stanley Kubrick, was one of the most innovative film makers in history, and the film was revolutionary for its time. It used the Blue Danube Waltz as the background music for the dance of the Earth and extraterrestrial bodies as seen by human explorers in space. This film has very little dialogue but a lot of classical music. As Kubrick explained, "There are certain areas of feeling and reality—or unreality or innermost yearning, whatever you want to call it—which are notably inaccessible to words. Music can get into these areas." (source, Wikipedia). I still get excited every time I see and hear "2001," so I just have to share part of it with you here.
I've noticed that 2010 is an anagram of 2001, so this seems a particularly auspicious time to wish everyone
Just a note about "2001: A Space Odyssey" -----------
It is easy to forget how long ago this film was made. Its World Premier was in Washinton DC on Tues. April 2, 1968. That is over FORTY years ago. I had the good fortune to see the film on the very next day! The premiere was displayed on a very wide screen that curved across the front of the theater, and my seat was in the first row center which was some distance back from the screen. This made the music and visual effects almost overwhelming.
The technology used in that film for special effects was, by today's standards, fairly primitive, but for that time, it was really mind-boggling. The music was played on a very good multitrack sound system and, as was pointed out in Pauline's posting, there was almost NO dialog, so the music really was front and center --- definitely something really new! And it was CLASSICAL music! Truly a break-through film...
And finally, for a more sobering note: the next day after I saw it, Thursday, April 4, 1968, was the day Dr Martin Luther King was killed, and for me those two events have always been linked.......
Bill in Dallas
Bill in Dallas, thanks for your vivid description of experiencing the film, both audio and video. It was a remarkable work for its time, when the tools of film making we have easy access to today had not even been dreamed of. To put this film in historical context, keep in mind that the film was produced in 1968, and the first man walked on the surface of the moon in 1969. In the late '60s, we got our first close up pictures of the moon from unmanned spacecraft. The old Cal Comp computers of that time or several years later took up a whole room and could not do as much as one of today's laptops can. In the late 1960s, we were just beginning to get our first views of heavenly bodies moving through space, and they were very beautiful and exciting. Today we are used to seeing such views, and we have largely lost the feeling of awe that accompanied them. "The music of the spheres," as Shakespeare described it, is a very moving aesthetic experience. As the film's producer Kubrick said, the emotional impact of the experience was beyond the power of words, but accessible via music. The artistic creativity of the film was absolutely stunning.
I have revisited some of these awesome events through displays at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. You can now go to NASA's website and see beautiful pictures of the Earth, the surface of the moon, and other heavenly bodies taken from spacecraft, and I urge you to do so. You can also see the entire film "2001: A Space Odyssey" on Youtube in several segments, and I recommend the experience highly. Better still, rent the video and watch it on a large screen. It is good to re-experience or experience for the first time the awe and thrill of early space exploration and discovery.
I showed the segment of the film posted in my blog to a student who was born many years after the film's creation. She kept exclaiming, "Cool! Cool! When I go home, I'm going to show the film to some of my friends."
Bill, I'm sorry that fate dealt you a bad blow by having the assasination of Martin Luther King just one day after you saw "2001: A Space Odyssey."
I remember traveling quite a few miles with my father to see 2001 a a theater that had "widescreen" and what amounted to subwoofers. It was thrilling and i LOVED the music.
I recall thinking how lucky I was to have read the book first though as the movie might not have made sense had i not.
Happy New Year to all!! Let's make some music!
Happy New Year, Pauline!
I seem to be missing the link to the recording/video you're mentioning. Can you post an URL?
Terez, both videos had disappeared from my blog as of this morning, although they were there last night. I think the code got corrupted. I've got it fixed now. Let's hope it stays fixed. I'll check on it periodically. Please let me know if you have any more trouble with it.
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