Academic journal article Framework

MUSIC: Introduction

Academic journal article Framework

MUSIC: Introduction

Article excerpt

Sonbert's relationship to music is a subject worthy of more in-depth analysis and study, especially as his own thinking about this subject evolved over time.

All of the films he made between 1966 and 1968 (Amphetamine [US, 1966] to Holiday [US, 1968]) were sound films that employed contemporary pop music scores (by the Supremes, the Four Tops, and other recording artists of the time). Then, beginning with Tuxedo Theatre (US, 1969), he made silent films for a period of twenty years. Sonbert invariably perceived accompanying sound as distracting from the musical and poetic rhythms of his montage films.

During this twenty-year period of silent works, Sonbert also actively wrote music reviews. Two in-depth recaps of the music scene-one of opera performances1 and the other of classical music records2-clearly demonstrate Sonbert's mastery of the history of music and the art of its presentation. (Indeed, Sonbert's knowledge of music recordings was so sophisticated that when he returned to making sound films in 1989, he knew exactly which recording of music he wished to use in counterpoint to his images).

My theory is that Sonbert's motive for reintroducing music into his films (beginning with Friendly Witness [US, 1989]) can be traced to the expertise he developed reviewing classical music and opera. …

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