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Monday Who’s Dead Wrapup

Frank Zappa has a street named after him in Berlin.  Frank Zappa Strasse is in Marzahn, a district on the eastern fringe of the capital made up of communist-era housing blocks. 

Can’t think of any connection to music except for famous interviews with John Lennon and Johnny Rotten but Tom Snyder was the man for whom talk radio and TV was invented.  Nobody did it better except, perhaps, for Dan Aykroyd doing his impression of Tom Snyder. 

Ingmar Bergman died at 89.  There are lots of connections between Bergman and opera and classical music, both through productions he directed and the use of composers and musicians as characters in his films.  That’s today’s topic.  


Comment from Jacob Sudol
Time: July 30, 2007, 3:01 pm

“Ingmar Bergman died at 89.”


…I think I hear a solo cello litany for him already forming in my head.

Comment from Alex Ross
Time: July 30, 2007, 4:12 pm

Zappastrasse has a very nice ring to it.

Comment from David Salvage
Time: July 30, 2007, 4:42 pm

Hey — which films by Bergman feature composers as characters?

Comment from Alan Theisen
Time: July 30, 2007, 5:29 pm

I know “Summer Interlude” has a ballerina as a character, “Persona” an actress, and “Through a Glass Darkly” concerns a family of writers.

“Autumn Sonata” is about a famous pianist and her daughter, but you have me on the composer bit, David.

Comment from Tom Myron
Time: July 30, 2007, 6:54 pm

“Let me just say this:” Tom Snyder R.I.P.

Comment from Jerry Bowles
Time: July 30, 2007, 6:56 pm

Okay, more musicians than composers, although the character of the cuckoled husband Markus in Faithless (written by Bergman for Liv Ullmann) was a composer. Bergman was a decent organist and musicologist and his choices of music were always carefully thought out. Three of my favorite Bergmans are his last, Saraband, a middle one, Autumn Sonata, and a very early one called To Joy–all of which use music as a key element.

Saraband is about Henrik, a semi-successful cellist, who has turned his beautiful teenage daughter, Karin, also a cellist, into a substitute for his wife whose death he is unable to accept. The power struggle between Henrik and his father for Karin’s soul and the way she escapes them both lies at the heart of the film. The Saraband from Bach’s Fifth Cello Suite plays the title role.

Autumn Sonata is about a successful concert pianist, Charlotte, who comes home to discover, as everyone eventually does, that the relationship you had with your mother at 10 is the relationship you’ll always have with your mother.

To Joy was made in 1950 and features Maj-Britt Nilsson as an orchestra player whose husband (Stig Olin) believes he is a meant to be a solo violinist rather than a mere orchestra musician and buries his pain in meaningless affairs. Given the chance to solo, though…well you know what happens. (See Fingers and The Beat That My Heart Skipped for details). (Stig Olin, by the way, is a composer whose sister is Lena Olin.)