Maximum Power from Minimalism

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Hugh Jackman (left) and Paul Dano in 'Prisoners' Hugh Jackman (left) and Paul Dano in 'Prisoners'

When the musical approach known as Minimalism began in the 1960s and '70s it was in part a reaction against the narrative tension-and-release that's fundamental to traditional classical music. Minimalism's non-narrative structures, such as unchanging pulse, and simple, static tonality, seemed better suited to meditation than story-telling.

Yet Minimalism's austere qualities have proven to be very effective in film scores. It can provide a gorgeous backdrop to the film, emphasize moods ranging from excitement to sadness, and add dimensions of meaning and awe. David Garland highlights some recent movie music by Minimalist composers, including Johann Johannsson's score for "Prisoners," and Philip Glass's new collaboration with director Godfrey Reggio, "Visitors" (see the trailer below).

Watch a behind the scenes clip for Johannsson's score for "Prisoners":

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Comments [3]

SWLivingston from Denver, CO

Both works are very beautiful - this is my favorite type of modern classical and there's not enough of it on the radio.

Oct. 12 2013 06:04 PM

I don't tune on WQXR to listen to creepy idiotic movie accompaniments. Mr Garland should find another job and not force listeners to spend their time waiting for the ending of listless tonal wanderings.

Sep. 28 2013 09:52 PM

Regarding Johann Johannsson:

1. The opening completely creeped me out.

2. Around the middle, I felt as if a footnote was required for attribution to just about anything written by Arvo Part.

3. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it.


Sep. 28 2013 09:31 PM

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