How to to put a cat among pigeons, in classical music, Star Wars and other birds

Reading interviews of Valery Gergiev, a famous conductor, who plays the best orchestras of the world (this position is always interesting : these guys are intense, constantly trying to improve things, and they work with the best musicians – I love their problematics).

He says that each time big orchestras have to play classical classics, like symphonies of Beethoven, he tries different little things, to prevent the bore, to discover things, etc.

This can be pushed very far – the question of interpretation is fascinating. He tells that one day Leonard Bernstein were in Russia in front of young people, an orchestra made of beginners. And it was amazing because he tried many things with them, for example in the pace, for the reasons you are pleased to imagine (to keep the team focused, to try things, to push limits, to impress, to experiment?). Swell!

Turning dials and pulling levers, that’s interesting, and it’s two aspects :

  1. Which lever will you pull or push? Intensity? Complexity? Speed?
  2. How much will you do that? Slightly or risky? Too far? Too shy?

The infinite pleasure of classical music has many sources, but one of them is to compare interpretations. Take Beethoven : gorgeous as Karajan, as one man as Fürtwangler, feline as Kleiber, slow, transparent, baroque?

I’m interested here in this pattern : When something is “too well known” and you have to put the cat among the pigeons.

– we say in French : to throw a cobblestone in the pond, or to shake the coconut tree, does it make sense?

In big mainstream movies like Star Wars or Marvel, you feel they… are aware the problem too.

If you want to maintain something (interest thus money), you have to “increase something”, each time.

  1. A reboot : you redo it (three times for Spiderman)
  2. More vulgarity, peepooing the worst : Deadpool
  3. Bigger : Avengers
  4. Going wildly exuberant : Thor Ragnarok

Relaunching Star Wars was a good source of fun. Read the forums’ comments. The new films are “too respectuous” and “too shy”, or in the last one “too far from the basis”.

Whatever you do, you’ll find millions haters. Creators probably don’t care.

They try things, and that’s fun.

In the last one (The Last Jedi), they did something very smart. Instead of being funnier, or bigger, or wilder, they just sewed maturity in the middle of this mess. They constantly say in the movie : “Hey, fantard, don’t be so serious!”.

Therefore the key of the movie became Luke throwing the saber over his shoulder. Smart move, Luke, thank youuuu!

You can also read :

A Matter of Levers

“Reorganizing from the Night” : Comparing Versions in Classical Music

A little pattern in Star Wars VIII The Last Jedi (Spoilers!)

Thanks for reading!

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