Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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North Tonawanda Special

I saw a bit of the Eukanuba dog show last night. As attractive as many of the dogs are, I can't help but feel that all the poking, prodding and measuring misses the point of having a dog.

Tonawanda is a dog pound, just south of Buffalo from which my mother picked up George, my first dog. He was mostly pointer, but who knows what else was thrown into the mix. Same with Indiana, who looked something like a border collie.

All my dogs have been mudbloods.

The new Trivial Pursuit is played as it has always been until somebody gets a pie-slice question. You then select the appropriate color from the DVD menu, and there displays an audiovisual clue. After a certain amount of time has passed, it becomes an all-play. The DVD offers an interesting twist on the game.

The best parts of the whole thing, though, are the game pieces. There is a cell phone, a lava lamp, a tape (with "Awesome Mix" on one side and "Makeout Tunes" on the other) and - the piece de resistance - an Atari 2600 controller.

Wet Music

The score for Master and Commander was composed by Iva Davies, Christopher Gordon and Richard Tognetti. Director Peter Weir came across their collaboration "The Ghost of Time" for the Australian Millenium broadcast.

I was actually quite surprised at what Master and Commander's score sounded like, as the only one of those composers whose work I was already familiar with was Christopher Gordon, who had composed the full-bodied and rich scores for Moby Dick (the television version with Patrick Stewart, Henry Thomas and Gregory Peck) and On the Beach. Because of the genre, I was expecting this film to sound quite a bit like the beautiful Moby Dick, and the dark, harsh sound of Master and Commander through me for a loop while watching the film.

Intrigued, I picked up the CD and found it to be a surprisingly entertaining listen for some very unusual reasons.

The score is written in a fairly modern style, with Michael Fischer's rhythmic taiko drums appearing to ratchet up the tension. The album has quite a lot of source music to ground one in the era the film depicts. The CD maintains interest throughout by using these pieces to break up the more foreboding score cues.

Two tracks present sea shanties, while there are three specially-arranged pieces (by Mozart, Corelli and Boccherini) representing the music played by Aubrey and Maturin in the film, along with a recording of Yo-Yo Ma playing a Bach 'cello suite.

A strange, yet somehow fitting inclusion is that of Ralph Vaughan Williams' "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis." This is the sort of thing that I don't usually like to have happen in a film, using a previously recorded piece as score, but the prevalent use of this track in Master and Commander worked for two reasons. The first is that it stands in contrast to all of the other music in the film and album by being of the Twentieth Century, but not quite as modern as the score, thus bridging the gap between the different musical idioms in use in the film. The second is that the music does quite a lot to emphasize the British-ness of the crew.

Interestingly, the recording Weir used is also my favorite recording of that work, the New Queen's Hall Orchestra under the baton of Barry Wordsworth. Hearing it made me pull out my old CD, with its outstanding "A Lark Ascending" as well.

Christopher Gordon's website.
Iva Davies' page at the Icehouse website.
Richard Tognetti's page at the Australian Chamber Orchestra website.

Highly recommended

Tomorrow night is my first day of classes. Hoorah!

Thanks to Waystone for the well-wishing.
Tags: film music, games

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