Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Persuasion: A Listener's Guide
I have no idea why we taped the 1995 Sony Classic Persuasion off the TV a few years ago, because it was long before I had any interest in Jane Austen, or even knew of the existence of the novel! But when I finally watched the movie at age 13, I fell in love with it -- and have only grown to love it more over the past seven years. I could rave endlessly about the beautiful filmography, stunning (and correct!) costumes, the use of "real" people as actors, the incredible music, and the top-notch acting. While I am very picky about adaptations, this is one film that I can watch without a qualm about any of the deviations they made from the plot (not that there are many!). Amanda Root can express more with her face in five seconds than many actors express in an entire film. Every time I watch the film, I catch some new nuance of expression -- not just from Anne, but from any of the perfectly-cast characters.
So the point of this post is to offer some consolation to all of the 1995 Sony Classic Persuasion fans out there who were devastated to find that there is no soundtrack! The reason that there is no soundtrack, as far as I can tell, is that Jeremy Sams only wrote three songs for the movie and used classical pieces for the rest. I first discovered this when listening to a CD of Chopin pieces, and recognized two from Persuasion!
So, several months ago I set out on a journey to find the pieces used in the film. Fortunately, I didn't have to travel far, since IMDB.com had all the information I needed! And, after far too much rambling on my part, here it is:
(all of these links go to Amazon.com, and are available as downloads)
Bach's French Suite No. 1 in D minor, BWV 812 -- No. 3, Sarabande
Bach's French Suite No. 3 in B minor, BWV 814 -- No. 3, Sarabande
Chopin's Nocturne No. 3 in B, Op. 9
Chopin's Prelude No. 3 in G Major, Op. 28 -- "Thou art so like a flower"
Chopin's Prelude No. 21 in B flat major, Op. 28 -- "Sunday"
I marvel at the compatability of Bach and Chopin for this movie -- who could have guessed that the essence of Baroque could blend so beautifully with the essence of Romanticism? And ironically, though neither style would have been in vogue in 1818 (Bach was out of fashion and Chopin was still a child), both styles fit the film perfectly. Every piece except the Chopin Prelude No. 3 are moody and poignant; every piece expresses a sense of loss and regret and beauty. And the few pieces that Jeremy Sams did compose blend in perfectly with the rest of the film, too, forming a beautiful musical soundtrack for a beautiful film. Not that I like this movie, or anything like that...
At any rate, I hope this will be a bit of a musical panacea for fellow Persuasion fans!