Notes & Reviews:
STRAVINSKY IN HOLLYWOOD explores the short-lived film career of this legendary composer, it is the story of his trials and tribulations with the Hollywood Studios, the story of an "old school" European artist knocking heads with the brash New World. Igor Stravinsky lived in the heart of Hollywood from 1939 until shortly before his death in 1971 - longer than in any other single place. He came expecting to find lucrative work composing for the movies. The film uses a combination of existing archival footage (some of it never before seen), interviews with Stravinsky and his assistant Robert Craft. The documentary includes scenes from several big studio films of the 40s brought together - for the first time - with the music which Stravinsky wrote for them.
Notes & Reviews:
Run Time: 54 min.
Picture Format: NTSC, 4:3, B&W and Color
Great look at an interesting chapter in the maestro's life!
Not too many people even realize that Igor Stravinsky spent his last thirty years or so in Los Angeles - Hollywood to be exact. We tend to think of Stravinsky as the Russian neo-Romantic; the composer of "The Firebird" and "The Rite of Spring" and "Petrouchka" His emigration from Russia to Paris to LA was nothing more nor less than a man seeking to escape war, repression and a certain amount of personal loss. What is truly fascinating is what type of music he wrote while living in the brave new world of California. This fascinating documentary by Marco Capalbo shows us the type of person Stravinsky was at that point in his life and also the bold new directions his composition was taking. His post World War II work gave us a very new direction in his writing; including the Concerto in D, his Mass and the opera, Rake's Progress. There were also some dabblings in film scores, including the unused score to the film "Song of Bernadette" - the middle movement of which ended up in his "Symphony in C" There are many weird, fascinating and nearly unbelievable stories like the creation of that score - and many which ended up just the same, unused by the Hollywood film makers. I found this documentary quite revealing. Here was the best known composer of his time, trying to fit in to his new nearly alien environment and writing music that was never quite what film moguls wanted. There is also an intriguing "subplot" of sorts involving another emigre, Arnold Schoenberg whose music found its way into a vast pot-pourri film score for a movie based on Genesis. The film clips and audio snippets here are helpful and serve as this film's soundtrack. We see that even the vast, open "dead" desert provided inspiration for new work based on polyphonies and harmonic systems similar to Webern's and that of Schoenberg. If you have studied Stravinsky and feel you know a lot about his life and work, this wonderful film may challenge that and open new doors. For anyone not that acquainted with Igor Stravinsky it provides a stimulating look at the culture melange that was post-war LA. Hollywood, always a magnet for creative types, may never have been more weirdly interesting. Highly recommending!
Submitted on 07/28/14 by Dan Coombs