The Week in Curation 1

2 August 2014 in Film, Music

Cinema : Paolo Sorrentino, This Must Be The Place Composer/Performer : Colin Stetson Composer/Performer : Arthur Russell Journalism : Rebecca Mead, Musical Gold Website : The New Inquiry  

Song for Friday Afternoon

8 September 2013 in Film, Music

Earlier this summer I saw The Bling Ring, and here it is September and I still can’t shake Sophia Coppola’s film from my mind. I spent much of the summer immersed in Benjamin Britten’s world, from his songs and operettas for children to professional works for the operatic stage (notably, The Turn of the Screw and Gloriana). Much of Britten’s work comments on youth and childhood, innocence and the loss of it. Britten tends to gaze on youth (childhood) with a honeyed, late-19th century eye; this yearning for childhood is free from cynicism and anxiety. In fact, his nostalgia often feels like an attempt to free himself from the political and social conflicts of the mid-20th century. In Songs for
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Cloud Atlas

3 November 2012 in Film

After seeing Cloud Atlas, a friend asked me if I thought the musical storyline was believable. In the film, a young English composer (played by Ben Whishaw) becomes the “amanuensis” (copyist) for an older (apparently well-recognized) composer, leaving his lover in the lurch for what seems like the gig of a lifetime. It is the 1930s, (though the music and lifestyle both struck me as late nineteenth century) so yes, I found it plausible that the young man would move, enthusiastically, into the composer’s house. (Free room and board? How could an aspiring composer say no?) I even believed the scenes depicting their working relationship, from the older man screaming, “that’s not what I sang at all!” and causing me
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Dolby Atmos

29 October 2012 in Film

Friday night I attended a presentation at Dolby Labs to hear about the recently released Atmos sound platform. Their theater is a gem of a room: cozy, grande-dame glamorous, and unbelievably quiet (it floats on its own slab, thus isolated from spaces above and below). Dolby treated us to clips from Brave, Mission Impossible IV, the upcoming Woman in Black, and the just-released Chasing Mavericks. Atmos met my expectations head on, in ways that are often more real than real. Sound effects are magnified from the global level—waves breaking on the California coast—to the local—a single leaf snapping free from a tree branch. Creaking wooden floorboards curl around you from all different heights and locations and, in tandem with the
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