A Musicological Study of Ken Russell’s Composer Films – Part 9 (Conclusions).

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6. Part 7. Part 8. Conclusions. The auteristic traits of any director can have a strong, almost unstoppable effect on a film and its subject matter.  This often ranges from stylistic visual aestheticism to more thematic trends in a director’s body of work.  For this case study of the work of Ken Russell, this … Continue reading A Musicological Study of Ken Russell’s Composer Films – Part 9 (Conclusions).

The Aural Aesthetics of Ghosts in BBC Ghost Stories – Part 5 (Landscape).

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Natural Diegesis And Aural Interaction With Landscape. One of M.R. James’ most recognisable writing traits is his emphasis on rural settings.  From his own personal experience, of both exploring the churches of France on holiday bike-rides and living and holidaying in Suffolk and Norfolk, the rural landscape became almost as much of a story trope as the … Continue reading The Aural Aesthetics of Ghosts in BBC Ghost Stories – Part 5 (Landscape).

A Musicological Study of Ken Russell’s Composer Films – Part 8 (Lisztomania).

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6. Part 7. Lizstomania and the effect of Rock Aesthetics on Classical Reception. After making Tommy, Russell clearly felt as if there was still new territory to be explored.  The last of his composer films would not simply be a final whimper in the delving into a musical and cultural history, but an all-out … Continue reading A Musicological Study of Ken Russell’s Composer Films – Part 8 (Lisztomania).

The Aural Aesthetics of Ghosts in BBC Ghost Stories – Part 4 (Music).

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Nondiegetic Musical Themes And Textures. “Indeed, the celestial voices of film music do resemble a phantom in several significant ways.  They are ephemeral, they are not ‘substantial’ or do not constitute part of what audiences cognise as important in the film, and have an effect that is not apparent.” – Donnelly (p.8, 2005). Though looking at nondiegetic scores for … Continue reading The Aural Aesthetics of Ghosts in BBC Ghost Stories – Part 4 (Music).

A Musicological Study of Ken Russell’s Composer Films – Part 7 (Pop Aesthetics).

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6.  The Use of Rock and Pop Aesthetics in Lisztomania (1975) and Tommy (1975). While the sociological reaction to classical music is a debatable area, Ken Russell had a very clear vision of how classical composers at least ought to have been received.  A moment in Mahler briefly summarises this idea, where Mahler is … Continue reading A Musicological Study of Ken Russell’s Composer Films – Part 7 (Pop Aesthetics).

The Aural Aesthetics of Ghosts in BBC Ghost Stories – Part 3 (William Ager).

Part 1. Part 2. A “Disembodied Voice” of some form is a clear norm for representing a creature that, by its very definition, is now bodiless.  This means that, as an aural technique, it is used frequently throughout many other ghost stories as well.  In Lawrence Gordon Clark’s films, the aural trait occurs several times with different and varying effects, though never with the layered … Continue reading The Aural Aesthetics of Ghosts in BBC Ghost Stories – Part 3 (William Ager).

A Musicological Study of Ken Russell’s Composer Films – Part 6 (Mahler).

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Mahler (1974) and the Balance Between Personal Reception and History. Mahler is an apt end for this period in Ken Russell’s musical exploration for a number of reasons.  It firstly completes the transition in the director’s popularity as well as the full fledgling of creative confidence.  It also manages to amalgamate all of the elements … Continue reading A Musicological Study of Ken Russell’s Composer Films – Part 6 (Mahler).

The Aural Aesthetics of Ghosts in BBC Ghost Stories – Part 2 (The Disembodied Voice).

Part 1. The Aural-Thematic Ties In BBC Ghost Stories. “He first began to write the ghost stories for which he is now famous in late 1892 or early 1893 while he was a fellow of King’s.  They were composed initially to be read aloud in his college rooms as a Christmas treat for his friends.”-  Oliver (p.15, 2012). When looking at the source material for … Continue reading The Aural Aesthetics of Ghosts in BBC Ghost Stories – Part 2 (The Disembodied Voice).

A Musicological Study of Ken Russell’s Composer Films – Part 5 (Dance of the Seven Veils).

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4.  When approaching a cinematic portrayal of Richard Strauss, Russell is, for the first time in his biographical canon, openly honest about its position within cultural texts.  Dance of the Seven Veils has a sub-heading that reads “A comic strip in 7 episodes on the life of Richard Strauss” which is the first open admission that this is … Continue reading A Musicological Study of Ken Russell’s Composer Films – Part 5 (Dance of the Seven Veils).

Sounds of The Birds (1963) – Alfred Hitchcock.

Few directors have had their relationship with music analysed as much as Alfred Hitchcock.  His natural ability to select the right composer to almost brand his films aurally has often meant that the musical scores have become synonymous with his filmmaking style even though they have been created by several different composers over the years.  With this context then, Hitchcock’s 1963 film, The Birds, seems … Continue reading Sounds of The Birds (1963) – Alfred Hitchcock.