Tuesday, May 12, 2015

#SwingTime background music sounds eerily similar to #DevilAndDanielWebster

In the spirit of piano players portrayed in documentary "Virtuosity" about the Van Cliburn competition (hosted in Ginger Rogers' adopted home state of Texas):


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I like to find similarities between different random pieces of music.

For example, the creepy minor chords in "Swing Time" (1936)


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presumably written by the uncredited Robert Russell Bennett vs Jerome Kern, all sounds similar to creepy eerie music composed by Bernard Herrmann for "The Devil and Daniel Webster"(1941), all of which was a discordant twist on traditional American folk music, something of the antithesis of Aaron Copland's homage montages as in  'Appalachian Spring', Variation on a Shaker Melody: "Simple Gifts":




Specifically, Bennett's background music sounds reminiscent of "The Miser's Waltz: Tempo De Valse"




which, purportedly was Herrmann's favorite song from this film, according to imdb:


"Bernard Herrmann said his favourite part of the score was the 'Miser's Waltz,' in which Belle dances Miser Stevens to death."
So, perhaps it's a good thing Astaire's character refuses to dance with Roger's character in "A Fine Romance", the Jerome Kern song immediately following Bennett's instrumental intro:






More creepy Herrmann music from Daniel Webster: "Sleigh Ride" 



 "Mr. Scratch":




"Swing Your Partners":





Appropriately, in "Swing Your Partners" Herrmann was quoting an actual reel:


"'The Devil's Dream' is an old fiddle tune of unknown origins. Played as either a jig or a reel, it is attested to as a popular tune from at least 1834 in New England.It also appears in a folk tale from central England dated to c. 1805."





a less creepy song, before the protagonist sold his soul to the devil "Ballad Of Springfield Mountain":




Possibly, the woodwinds and violin pizzicato in Bennett's snow scene "Swing Time" music reminds me of Herrmann because I'm conflating music from Herrmann's career:

"The man behind the low woodwinds that open Citizen Kane (1941), the shrieking violins of Psycho (1960), and the plaintive saxophone of Taxi Driver (1976) was one of the most original and distinctive composers ever to work in film."

Of course, none of this music sounds as creepy as this album looks, from Kind of Creepy website:




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