Friday, October 07, 2011
Halloween-A-Thon 2011: Dracula Under Glass
When the classic Bela Lugosi Dracula film was first released in 1930, talkies were still something new. As a result, the men behind the film made it so that it could be shown to audiences both as a silent movie and as a talkie, though conversation was limited to basic narrative elements. Unusually, it did not have a specific score and only two pieces of music on its soundtrack: Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake during the opening credits, and the overture of Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg during a scene at an opera. That's the way the film remained until 1999 when Philip Glass was commissioned to write the score by Universal Studios Home Entertainment, which released the movie with the Glass-soundtrack on VHS and DVD. According to Glass, the choice of chamber music played by a string quartet rather than an orchestral score followed from the movie's setting, "libraries and drawing rooms and gardens." The string quartet that Glass hired to perform his score was the great, Kronos Quartet. Kronos (accompanied by Glass on piano) performed the score during viewings of the movie across the United States in 1999 and 2000 to promote the album. The soundtrack and the performances thereof have received mixed reviews. Entertainment Weekly was very positive, praising the "hypnotic new score," while The Essential Monster Movie Guide calls the score "unnecessary," and a Lugosi-biography calls it "ill-considered." Being a fan of all three components, I was excited to see the collaboration and enjoyed it thorougly. I hope you do as well when you listen to the soundtrack that Glass wrote those twelve years ago. Here is "Dracula" by Philip Glass. Enjoy!
Dracula Soundtrack - Philip Glass & Kronos Quartet