The Agony and the Ecstasy
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 726
    I have finally watched this film (thank you, TCM).
    Multiple parts of the filmscore struck me as being quite obviously based on actual sacred music, but I couldn't always put my finger on it.

    The primary examples that I can still remember, after having watched it a few hours ago are:
    A) after the pope revokes Michaelangelo's commission, and is riding out, I distinctly heard a phrase of the "Dies Irae."
    B) when the pope is on his death bed, I heard what could only be (musically, at least) a variation on Victoria's "O Vos Omnes."

    Now, with religious-themed films, there's nothing wrong with basing an "original" filmscore on sacred music, and it's good that people take the time to do so. That being said, I couldn't decide if those 2 examples were as obviously what I believed them to be, or not.

    Is this your take on the music, as well?
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Film composers love quoting these sort of motifs, as they set the right tone. But part of the fun is being able to see what sort of variations they can come up with. It's sort of like "The Enigma Variations Game". (Which reminds me of one of my favorite, most subtle film quotes of all time - during the appearance of the Were-rabbit hunter in Wallace and Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit, the score starts playing the "Nimrod" variation.)

    This brings to mind a few examples of religiously themed music:

    1. Alfred Newman seemed obsessed with Victoria's Ave Maria - he quotes it extensively in Hunchback of Notre Dame.
    2. I believe it's in the movie Barabbas, but during the eclipse, Nascimbene quotes the Kyrie from Orbis Factor.
    3. I have been trying for years to figure out the motet sung at the beginning of the extended 1948 version of Joan of Arc, during the canonization scene. Any help would be much appreciated.
    Thanked by 1Paul F. Ford
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,611
    A lovely brief example at the close of a movie is the Cum Jubilo Agnus Dei in "Agnes of God". Say what you will about the play/film, the painterly image of the Quebecois nuns processing through the snow to/from the convent cemetery behind a crucifix is indelible....
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • davido
    Posts: 139
    The use of the Dies Irae in filmscores is well documented:
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 726
    This doesn't have him (Heston) walking into the room, but where it starts is sounds like the " videte" cadence, and also the continuation, after:
  • I'd love to get my hands on a copy of the "Alleluia" choral score by Alfred Newman at the end of the Hunchback of Notre Dame movie. In fact, I'd love to get a single copy of all of Alfred Newman's choral works to study them.
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • Scott_WScott_W
    Posts: 450
    We watched Excalibur a few days ago and snickered during the marriage scene where, after Arthur and Guinevere receive communion, the Kyrie is still going.

    And of course massive eye-rolling every time Orff's Carmina Burana starts up.
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • Crazy! I just watched Excalibur a few days ago, too, and I thought the same thing!
  • "Alleluia" choral score by Alfred Newman

    He loved that piece. It's amazing how many times he quotes from it in other movies - the conclusion of Song of Bernadette, the conclusion of The Robe - if you listen closely you'll even hear Tiomkin quote it in It's a Wonderful Life as George Bailey is running down the streets of Bedford Falls wishing everyone Merry Christmas.

    Newman is my favorite film composer for religious films (with Rozsa a close second). The sheer versatility of the man staggers the mind. He goes from a more Brucknerian flavor for Bernadette to the subtle influence of Barber for The Greatest Story Ever Told. And perhaps you heard the very interesting story of who was originally chosen to score Bernadette: Igor Stravinsky. Now wouldn't that have been something.
    Thanked by 1Carol