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Chen G.

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Everything posted by Chen G.

  1. Sir Antony Sher had died... https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-59520117
  2. No, my point is that we put too much emphasis on how influential works are over how good they actually are. I don't care that Tristan is influential: I care that when I listen to it, I feel the yearning of the titular pair in every single phrase of the music, and that when that final cadence hits, you can literally see and feel the heavens. THAT's what matters, not its influence on music going forward. I've heard it said that the Ring is actually Wagner's list influential work precisely because its was so dauntingly gargantuan, and yet few things in life are as good as sitting down for a good Walkure; which I probably prefer to the more influential Gotterdamerung.
  3. Talking about "The Tristan Chord" is a very reductive way to look at Tristan. First off, its not the "tristan chord", its the opening motive of Tristan which is an entire phrase which concludes with the "Tristan chord". There's a sense of build-up which doesn't resolve in what's often dubbed the "Longing Motive" and - and this is important to make - this is true of EVERY PART OF TRISTAN'S MUSIC, "Tristan Chord" or no "Tristan Chord": ALL the phrases lack a sense of resolution until the end of the Liebestod. That's not something that's true of any Liszt composition and that's the true innovation of Tristan: Not resolving the disonances across such a long composition was entirely new and unique. Not that the innovation is what mattes, either: I think its reductive to talk about Tristan as just a milestone and not as what it is, which is an incredibly affecting piece of music-drama in its own right. The lack of resolution throughout the piece is more important as a metaphor for the dramatic situation of Tristan than it is for what it did to music.
  4. Its a sliding scale, obviously. I have a moral disapproval of a lot of the things we see Wallace do. But I think the circumstances there explain his actions in ways that the circumstances in Goodfellas or Once Upon a Time in America do not.
  5. I mean, I can pity an evil character. I pity Vito when he learns Sonny is killed; I pity Commodus in Gladiator; and I pity Alberich at the beginning of Act II of Gotterdamerung But that's not the same as empathizing with them; at least, not in the way that you want to empathize with the hero of the piece.
  6. I like or dislike characters based on their virtues. Wallace has a lot of virtues. Henry Hill doesn't.
  7. Because the movie had cared to extend its hand to me and not activelly try and put buffers between me and the character. Wallace mauls defenceless foes to death, but I understand him and why he does it much better than any mobster in any mob film not called The Godfather, and so I can empathize with Wallace - in spite of some of his actions - in a way that I can't Henry Hill, for instance.
  8. They're NOT like you and me. You and me don't have people murdered!
  9. To reference a Scorsese film, I do have sympathy for Travis Bickle because it takes a while for him to be reduced to the kind of person who would plan a murder, and even longer (virtually the entire length of the film) to actually carry such a deed out. I think there was more to be made of Travis' normalcy early on, but still. That's completely different to watching Goodfellas where the characters are already embroiled in organized crime from minute one of the film.
  10. For sure. But there's a difference between "less noble qualities" and the protagonist being a vile criminal and murderer from the outset. I mean, I empathize tremendously with William Wallace and he straight-up mauls defenceless foes, but its still not the same as the kind of bloodshed we see in Goodfellas or The Irishman, or the Godfather sequels, or The Sopranos. I empathize with Siegmund and Sieglinde's incestuous affair, and yet its not the same as the kind of sleaziness we see Once Upon a Time in America. To use a different example, I empathize with a good Othello who ends-up murdering his wife after five whole acts of being prodded by Iago, or a TE Lawrence who takes three-hours of battling with megalomania, sadism and several misadventures to become the sort of person who can command a massacre. That as compared to the characters in most crime-dramas.
  11. Right. That isn't to say that a character needs to be a goodie-two-shoes to be relatable. But if we don't at all empathize, all we're doing is watching the mechanics of the plot play-out, and that's not what the best stories do, I find.
  12. Some of us just don't like crime dramas from the outset... I never empathize with the characters in a crime drama anywhere near to what I want to empathize with characters in a story. Because, well, they're criminals!
  13. I don’t recall anything in Liszt that’s even remotely like the kind of sustained harmonic tension that we have in Tristan. That was completely new.
  14. The chord appears in many works. Its reluctance to resolve is what's unique to Tristan, though.
  15. Sure. From memory, there's even a passage in Liszt that sounds a little bit like Tristan.
  16. That tune crops-up in Parsifal? I can't remember. Not that I would be shocked to find it there: I mean, the Schwanmotiv from Lohengrin is in it verbatim, so why not Sieglinde's Nighmare? Parsifal is in many ways a summation of all the earlier music-dramas.
  17. This. For instance, the documentary from The Battle of the Five Armies that talks about the woes of the production, for instance, completely overstates the point, not because anyone is being disingenious, but simply in trying to provide a kind of "low-point" feeling to the narrative presented by the documentaries.
  18. Haven't seen Wheel of Time yet... Been definitely hearing mixed things, and for sure there are things about the Lord of the Rings show recently that had led me to raise an eyebrow...or two. But there's also some stuff I like. The shots we've seen of the sets look quite nice.
  19. I'm more into live-action, so the Amazon show is more intriguing to me than is this odd spinoff. Speaking of which, the show just dropped some of its characters:
  20. Because it just sounded right? Seems pretty straightforward to me. Williams had never shied away from using his themes purely for affect. I mean - and not that this is a justification for this practice, per se - but what is the Tarnhelm theme doing there when Waltraute tells Brunhilde that Wotan's Spear is in pieces? It has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Tarnhelm. And we keep on hearing Tarnhelm-y music throughout this passage, like here where the Tarnhelm chords "poison" the Valhalla theme for no particular reason, and later when Alberich recalls the same scenario to Hagen. That's kinda the same situation, except that the thought process there seems to me as "Well, I have all of these themes; naturally I want them all to play a part in the climax of the piece..." Its a symphonic mode of thinking, in a way.
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