Monday, August 06, 2007

My prophets are Bach and Beethoven


Ingmar Bergman's son-in-law, Henning Mankell, writes in today's Guardian:
Even if Ingmar was a theatre director, dramatist and film-maker in his professional life, I can't stop thinking that it really was the music that meant most. He had never dreamt of becoming a musician - he said so firmly. But probably he had toyed with the thought that in another life he could have become a conductor.

The music was fundamental. He often spoke of sheet music instead of typescript. He used musical terms to describe his films and theatre. To himself and to those who participated, he talked of the works, for example, as sonatas, and he was forever searching for the distinctly musical elements in his films and productions.

The music was both beginning and end. He saw in music's most lenient moment a sort of gateway to other realities, different from those that we can immediately perceive with our senses. Perhaps it was in music that that bridge to other realities, which most of us search for, could be found.


When asked what he believed in Ingmar Bergman is reported to have replied "I believe in other worlds, other realities. But my prophets are Bach and Beethoven; they definitely show another world." For a valuable analysis of the use of Bach's music in Bergman's films by Chadwick Jenkins follow this path.

The BBC Proms may have banished Bach to bedtime, but On An Overgrown Path still retains its passion for Bach.
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