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Alternatif Politika

Yıl 2010 , Cilt 2 , Sayı 2

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Why hitchcock is still our contemporary?

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European Graduate School1
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There are pieces of classical music which, in our culture, became so deeply associated with their later use in some product of commercial popular culture that it is almost impossible to dissociate them from this use. Since the theme of the second movement of Mozart‟s Piano Concerto No 20 was used in Elvira Madigan, a popular Swedish melodrama, this concert is even now regularly characterized as the "Elvira Madigan" concert even in editions by serious classical music editions like Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft… But what if, instead of exploding in an Adornian rage against such commercialized music fetishism, one makes an exception and openly confesses the guilty pleasure of enjoying a piece of music which is in itself worthless and draws all its interest from the way it was used in a product of popular culture? My favorite candidate is the "Storm Clouds Cantata" from both versions of Alfred Hitchcock‟s The Man Who Knew Too Much. When, in 1934, Hitchcock was preparing the first version, he hired Arthur Benjamin (1893-1960), an Australian composer, pianist and conductor, to write a piece of music especially for the climactic scene at Royal Albert Hall. (A curious anecdote: on 31 July 1918, Benjamin‟s aircraft was shot down over Germany by the young Hermann Goering, and he spent the remainder of the war as a German prisoner of war.) The music, known as the "Storm Clouds cantata", on words by D. B. Wyndham-Lewis (called by Auden "that lonely old volcano of the Right"), is also used in the 1956 remake, one of Hitchcock‟s underrated masterpieces. Bernard Herrmann, who was given the option of composing a new cantata, found Benjamin‟s piece to be so well suited to the film that he declined. Herrmann can be seen conducting it during the Royal Albert Hall scene - the sequence runs 12 minutes without any dialogue, from the beginning of Storm Clouds until the climax, when the Doris Day character screams. Although the

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