Season after Pentecost, 2023
Film composer John Barry died yesterday.
His compositional versatility allowed him to write music to complement a wide variety of narratives from the James Bond franchise -- though this was somewhat disputed -- to our personal favorite score: Dances with Wolves (1990).
The score's success in the film was acknowledged with an Academy Award.
But it had a much larger life after this. Throughout the 1990s, Barry's score for this "epic western" was used in promotional material for all manner of "epics" and "westerns" and things that were neither. To an adolescent film score nerd, this homage was clearly ubiquitous for many years. And why not? It's a lovely tune.
There's a loveliness and honesty in the various "themes" for the film that also speak of a shared American experience when removed from this particular narrative. (In fact, if memory serves, PBS did make good use of it in promos for their "American Experience"). And I suppose the reason it was so readily adopted is that there was nothing of the sort ready.
I don't know many pieces that tread on this hallowed ground. It's not as cathartic as Barber's Adagio, nor is it as optimistic or as much of Copland's writing. Drawing from the film narrative, one might call it "American introspective".
And if we dare label these notes with such a specific intent, doing so might help explain why the music speaks so well in the film and beyond. These chords, and these sweeping gestures point beyond the American landscape into our very selves and ask us to examine what we find there.
In the world or American literature, I think the closest parallel would be "The Peace may be exchanged" from Rubrics by Dan Locklair. Here in the Christian community, we are asked to rise out of our dusty pews and into the whole church and examine those fellow men and women who travel the way with us.
This is a special kind of music.
Conventional Wisdom holds that deaths come in threes. We've seen an esoteric champion of the "ultrarational extreme" and a film composer die in the first part of this week. If you average these two, you get someone much more "mainstream classical", I think. I don't want to tempt fate, or jinx anyone, but I would caution all composers (especially New York minimalists) to be very careful crossing the street, walking down stairs, etc.
The page you're reading is part of Sinden.org
©MMXVII Sinden.org: a site for fun and prophet
Looking for Carol Spreadsheets?
Hungry? Try the Liturgical Guide to Altoids Consumption
Thirsty? Try the Tibia Liquida
The Eric Harding Thiman Fan Page: The greatest composer you've never even heard of.
Questions? Problems? email the sexton.
Alex Ross: The Rest is Noise
Book of Common Prayer
The Daily Office
The Lectionary Page
Ship of Fools
The Sub-Dean's Stall
Vested Interest - Trinity Church in the City of Boston
Andrew Kotylo - Concert Organist
Bonnie Whiting, percussion
conjectural navel gazing: jesus in lint form
Friday Night Organ Pump
Halbert Gober Organs, Inc.
in time of daffodils
Joby Bell, organist
Musings of a Synesthete
My Life as Style, Condition, Commodity.
Nathan Medley, Countertenor
Notes on Music & Liturgy
The Parker Quartet
Roof Crashers & Hem Grabbers
That Which We Have Heard & Known
This Side of Lost
Zachary Wadsworth | composer
Advent (Medfield MA)
All Saints, Ashmont (Boston MA)
All Saints (Indianapolis IN)
Atonement (Bronx NY)
Broadway UMC (Indianapolis IN)
Cathedral of All Saints (Albany NY)
Christ Church (Bronxville NY)
Christ Church (Madison IN)
Christ Church (New Haven CT)
Christ Church Cathedral (Indianapolis IN)
Christ's Church (Rye NY)
Church of St. Stephen (Hamden CT)
Congregational (Belmont CA)
Coventry Cathedral (UK)
First UMC (Lancaster SC)
Gloria Dei ELCA (Iowa City IA)
Immanuel Lutheran (St Paul MN)
Immanuel Lutheran (Webster NY)
John Knox PCUSA (Houston TX)
St Andrew (Marblehead MA)
St Andrew's, Oregon Hill (Richmond VA)
St Bartholomew the Great, (London, England)
St James's (Lake Delaware NY)
St James's (Richmond VA)
St James Cathedral (Chicago IL)
St Mary's Cathedral (Memphis TN)
St Matthew and St Timothy (NYC)
St Paul's (Cleveland Heights OH)
St Paul's (Indianapolis IN)
St Paul's Cathedral (Buffalo NY)
St Paul's, K Street (Washington DC)
St Peter's (Lakewood OH)
St Peter's ELCA (NYC)
St Stephen's (Richmond VA
St Thomas (New Haven CT)
St Thomas ELCA (Bloomington IN)
Second PCUSA (Indianapolis IN)
Towson Presbyterian Church (MD)
Tremont Temple Baptist (Boston MA)
Trinity (Indianapolis IN)
Trinity on the Green (New Haven CT)
Yes, but they're not the kind you buy on Wheel of Fortune.
the owner of a bower at Bucklesfordberry?
Full daintily it is dight.
interested in touch lamps?
And fountain pens.