Composers on Camera: Testimony

It’s all about perspective. The true telling of a life story is always from the outside looking in, even for an autobiography. The person telling his life story is the prime source for memories of what was once a different human being, seeing things through a telescope smudged with age and out-of-focus through distance. In …

Composers on Camera: Song of Summer

Recently I reviewed Ken Russell’s Elgar and The Debussy Film, which represent his first directorial efforts for BBC arts programming slots Monitor and Omnibus. Russell’s interests weren’t exclusive to composer biography. He followed up these early films with noteworthy retellings of the lives of artists in other disciplines, such as modern dance pioneer Isadora Duncan …

Composers on Camera: Mozart’s Sister

This film is like a very very expensive home movie: directed by actor-turned director René Féret, and inhabited by his many children, including his daughter Marie in the title role. The focus is not on the prodigy of Wolfgang Mozart, whose music and personality appears as a mere side issue to the thrust of the …

Composers on Camera: Ken Russell’s “Elgar” and “The Debussy Film”

Hello, and welcome to my notebook! This review and those that follow are essentially a detailed set of notes to myself for the upcoming 5-part Radio New Zealand series: Composers on Camera. For 250 delicious minutes, I plan to discuss and dissect the narratives of films about composers – from golden-age cinema like “Song of …