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Verdi’s Requiem: A Marvellous Creation

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“A song is a succession of sounds, / Each one expressing in its own way / Some idea that was not expressed in another one.” – John Donne

Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem is a marvellous creation. It is painfully beautiful and has been performed all over the world for nearly a century now. But at the time of its first appearance, the work was greeted with horror by those who loved it as well as those who hated it. It is painful, explosive, and theatrical. It is one of my favourites. The story behind the composition of this incredible musical masterpiece reveals much about the life of one of Italy’s most respected composers.

On May 22, 1873, Verdi learned his longtime friend and motivator Alessandro Manzoni died. Verdi was too mourned to attend his funeral, and the whole country was in the grief of the loss of one of its cultural representatives. Manzoni had an amazing amount of influence on Verdi. But the piece wasn’t just about Manzoni, in 1869 bunch of composers decided to compose a Missa (Messa per Rossini) to memorialize Rossini; Verdi composed the part of Libera me. Verdi went to Milan and proposed composing a requiem, to honour the memory of Manzoni, Verdi notified the mayor of Milan that he’s ready to compose a requiem to play in Manzoni’s death anniversary. But in that era, Bourgeoisie was highly against Church, in the beginning, they weren’t leaning towards requiem, but in the course of events, Verdi’s submission had been accepted with gladsomeness.

The Requiem is a musical piece, not a play.

It’s not a play. The Requiem was composed to honour the memory of Manzoni, not to honour the death of Christ. In the eighteenth century, some composers tried to compose religious music that was based on the story of the Bible. That kind of music is forbidden by the Catholic Church(See: “Gloria” and “Requiem Aeternam”).

Premiere of Requiem in San Marco

The piece was going to vocalize in the church of San Marco in Milan, 4000 people were ready for the piece and some people couldn’t even enter the church. The church was filled to the brim. After four soloists Maestro Verdi set foot in. He was standing up there with his silvery beard and red-hot eyes. With the arrival of priests, the piece has begun to perform. A vast majority was praising the Verdi but one, Hans von Bülow, was brutal in his criticism even before the premiere of the piece he called the piece “Opera in disguise” and called him envious of Rossini, and said the impresarios in Paris wouldn’t appreciate him because the piece was lack of pleasure. But everyone else liked and admired Verdi and he was going to perform the Requiem London and Paris.

In summary, Verdi’s Requiem is a beautifully haunting work of music. It is dramatically artistic and breathtaking to experience.

 

Verdi’s Photo  Cover Photo 

Sources;

Verdi’s Requiem (mayfestival.com)

Requiem | mass by Verdi | Britannica

Bali, Serhan (2018) Müzikte Romantik Dönem Bestecileri; Vakıfbank Kültür Yayınları (vbky.com.tr)

Being A Woman In An Epideictic Age

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Victorian England was “female-oriented” under the great influence of Queen Victoria who gave her name to the whole period. The notion of the female body has been subjected to not only the teachings of the Bible, but also the Queen herself. The idea of virginity, wifely and maternal roles and religious doctrines have been attributed to women during the period. One of the main reasons for that is Queen Victoria’s own maternity-based thoughts. Of course, all these have led to the development of a female body concept, which was very conservative and bound to strict gender roles. But,wait? Who was this Queen Victoria whose name is given to such an age?

Alexandra Victoria was born on May 24, 1810 at Kensington Palace in London. She became a Queen when her uncle passed away at the age of 18. She is for sure one of the most important rulers in history, especially when we think about the responsibility that she took at such a young age. To be perfectly honest, I found this a bit ironic since the century itself was male-dominated, although Victorian England was in the hands of a female ruler, you know. In addition, there were a lot of repressive elements for women such as class discrimination, sexual disparities and religious pressures etc. Anyway, of course, the fashion of that period has also been influenced by these chaotic as well as mind-blowing England during Queen Victoria’s reign. Lemme give you an example; dazzling women’s clothes with their visual and detailed workmanship were designed to cover up women’s body curves, just because of the idea that they could stimulate some sexual feelings in men. (?!)

WOMEN IN VICTORIAN ENGLAND

The ideology, supporting gender apartheid, have considered women as individuals who have different “natural” characteristics than men. So, basically women’s nature seemed more passive, while men’s are highly active. Just because women were physically weaker, the male-dominated world thought that ‘home’ is the most suitable place for them. Oh, let’s not forget to being morally superior. Lemme explain this active-passive situation a bit; In the marriage service, for example, women promised to ‘obey’ their husbands. Like, legally, a man could force his wife to have sex with, and beat her if she refused. What is worse is that if she tried to run away, the police could return her to her husband. It was quite unlikely that a woman could do anything regarding to her situation if she were unhappy in her marriage. Once married, you forfeited whatever small rights you had. In terms of property, we can say, everything she owned (whether inherited or earned (just sayin’)), passed to her husband. Even if she came from a rich or aristocratic family, she would need to have no brothers and had to remain her life unmarried in order to live independently (hard to say). Because the wealth was used to being transferred to the male line.

THE VICTORIAN PERIOD IN FASHION

Back then, young ladies were supposed to be meek and mild and to acquiesce to their fathers’ or husbands’ wishes. Women’s intelligence and wit were restricted to social events. In addition, employment opportunities were limited; how to be a governess, domestic servitude etc. I should also mention that rural women had plenty of work if they lived on a farm because some women earned money from the cottage industry. However, the Industrial Revolution put an end to enterprises such as spinning yarn and making lace at home. For sure, it was not the success of only the Queen that the Empire reached its peak, but the economic power of the Industrial Revolution and colonialism. England has assumed the title of “the Sun never sets on the British Empire”. (GOod lord)

What I am trying to say is that such a transitional period would influence fashion: when wealth increased, flatulency increased; because of increasing of flatulency, the value of beauty increased. Beauty came to the forefront. Everything was glossed like from the furniture to the paintings. There was no word without polish, or fabric without beardless. Besides, Queen Victoria has influenced fashion with her own clothes. Elegancy of dresses increased incrementally with such details like laminal lace, boutie and furbelow. These kinds of clothes were giving a noble stance to women during that period.

What is more idiosyncratic is that after her husband’s death, Queen Victoria mourned and lived in seclusion. Just because the society was sorry for Victoria, they were wearing black. After this mourning, wearing black colour became so fashionable. In fact, Victoria’s style has also modified the shapes of clothes. Collars were closed. Puffiness on the skirts was flattened. In this way, puff fashion became history.

When Queen Victoria aged, fashionable needs turned to her son, Edward, the Prince of Wales. The combination of his lust for a hedonistic lifestyle and the Women’s Emancipation Movement changed the look of fashion. The major changes in the new Edwardian style were the end of the corset and the introduction of the new “health corset” with an S bend look.

Duality in Discourse: A Critique of Humanism in Prince and Utopia

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Upon wreaking havoc upon collectivist paradigms of Medieval Ages, humanism with its androcentric emphasis occasioned civilizations to undergo a sense of “rebirth” to the ideal. However, when intermingled with topical dynamics, the means leading to the ideal essence unequivocally shifts as can be seen in Thomas More’s Utopia and Machiavelli’s The Prince.

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The Man in the Moone

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…may it please God that I do return safe home again into my country, to give perfect instructions on those admirable devices, and past all credit of possibility, which I light upon, may be imparted unto public use. You shall then see men fly from place to place in the air; you shal be able to send messages in an instant many miles off, and receive answer again immediately; you shall be able to declare your mind presently unto your friend…

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Existential Screams in Cinema

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When it comes to existentialism, you can find plenty of different pieces written or shot by a talented person. Devamını Oku

The Passionate Harmony of Music and Cinema

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There is no way to think of a cinema without the things that music has poured into it. Music is the most beautiful source of emotion in an ordinary motion picture. There are high sequences, low sequences, disturbing sequences, creepy sequences… and behind all those sequences, there must be a good score. Some authorities in cinema have an idea like; “Use of the music while making of a movie is a scale for specifying how amateur the movie is.” This hypothesis comes with another idea, which is “more music makes a movie more amateur”. At some points, they are right. However, in my opinion, using music in a motion picture is a whole other branch of art. There are plenty of movies made, which cannot even be thought of without their soundtracks.

Especially in movies with such a long runtime, music is necessary. There must be something different than pictures moving to keep the audience awake. I do not think “The Godfather” trilogy could be this effective and satisfying without those gorgeous scores composed by Nino Rota. Same for the western classics of master Sergio Leone. All of them has unique scores composed by Ennio Morricone. I do not think I can easily stand “Once Upon A Time In The West” without the brilliant theme “The Man With Harmonica”.

Some genres have a stronger connection with music. Epic movies can be an example. Thematic music is the best way to direct the audience’s emotions in an epic piece. Just think about “Braveheart”, “Gladiator”, “The Lord Of The Rings”. Could you get the same vibe from those war scenes with a mediocre score? No, sir, you could not. Another genre is science fiction. To keep a dynamic and exciting atmosphere, scores are must use in especially blockbuster pieces. One of the most highlighted features of Christopher Nolan’s modern masterpieces is the score, usually composed by genius Hans Zimmer. Even if you do not know the name of the scores, I think if you are a fan of “Interstellar” you have already begun to keep the rhythm of the awesome soundtrack “No Time For Caution”. In another case, although it is not a science fiction movie, probably the biggest reason why Nolan’s unusual war movie “Dunkirk” had a better reaction is its score, “Supermarine” composed by Zimmer again. Especially in the 21st century, there is no way to imagine a blockbuster science fiction without brilliant scores. “Blade Runner 2049” (not a blockbuster though), “Inception”, “Tenet” can be other examples of science fiction with impressive thematic soundtracks.

Some people are more talented in using the right music for their unique motion pictures. I can easily count Stanley Kubrick (not a surprise for sure), Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Coen Brothers, David Fincher, Denis Villeneuve as my favourites. The only thing that ties these people together might be the masterful use of music. There are more examples, but once we get into this topic, it is not so easy to get through. Stanley Kubrick’s definite masterpieces live with their unforgettable scores. Who can forget the perfect “Waltz No. 2” from “Eyes Wide Shut” or “Sarabande” from “Barry Lyndon”? He is also very good at picking the perfect songs for his movies. It is not easy to name a better combination like one between Rolling Stone’s “Paint It Black” and “Full Metal Jacket”. “Who can forget the creepy theme of “The Shining”? Kubrick was an absolute master in every single process of making a movie.

The thriller genre is another one that cannot be considered without thematic soundtracks. I can easily name David Fincher as one of the bests of this category. Music is among the main elements that make Fincher’s masterpieces the best thrillers of the modern era. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have killed it with ‘Gone Girl’s unforgettable scores. Another strong example would be “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”. No music can easily serve a movie’s atmosphere like the ones that were used in it. He is also very good at picking songs and adapting them to his picture. “The Immigrant Song” would be the best example of it from the same movie. To mention Denis Villeneuve, the theme of “Prisoners” can be another strong example. Johan Johannsson’s brilliant score has served the story with its best.

Let us talk about the genius Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese. The one thing we strongly remember about “Kill Bill” (except blood for sure) is its perfect music. Like “The Lonely Shepherd” or “Bang Bang” by Nancy Sinatra. Tarantino knows how to use music. Even in his worst movie, you can find some music that was chosen selectively. The original soundtracks of “Django Unchained” are just lovely. You do not need to see the movie for enjoying the song “Freedom” from Django. One and only “Pulp Fiction” and another good crime piece “Jackie Brown” also shine with their sense of music. “Across 110th Street” (from Jackie Brown) might be the best music Tarantino has ever used. Who can forget “Misirlou” from “Pulp Fiction” already? When it comes to Scorsese, we can mention another tasteful music catalogue. In the movies of Scorsese, music is a necessary element to provide the tempo. His crime biopics that were made after “Goodfellas” use the same method. It always works! The songs that were used in “The Wolf Of Wall Street” and “Casino” as perfect as those are used in “Goodfellas”. I can name “Rags To Riches” and “Beyond The Sea” here. Also, Robbie Robertson’s theme for “The Irishman” is… Oh my God, what a piece of music. However, in Scorsese’s filmography, the best harmony of music and cinema is definitely “I Still Can’t Sleep” from “Taxi Driver”. He has shown us how exactly a piece of jazz music can serve a film-noir with passion. Some of you may complain. Still, I love considering “Taxi Driver” as a film-noir.

 

Coen Brothers are also very good at using music. Sometimes I think that they have done some of their movies to show us the music they love. “Inside Llewyn Davis” has perfect folk music covers. I am sure it was enjoyable to make a film like that. Same for “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”. It is like a movie that was made for its music. Like the purpose is not to make the movie, just showing the harmony. However, when it comes to Coen Bros, there are two sides of the coin. They have made a movie without one single soundtrack. “No Country For Old Men” is a movie that does not include anything about music (except Mexican street singers). In my opinion, it shows their talent in expressing emotions and feelings.

I have mentioned usually popular people from Hollywood in this article. Still, there are so many different directors and producers who used the force of music with a passion. In the future, I may try to write something about the music used in the Arthouse. Then we can witness the creative world of Andrei Tarkovsky, Pawel Pawlikowski, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Federico Fellini, etc. Till that day comes, stay safe!

 

Do yourself a favour and check these out:

Sarabande – Barry Lyndon

Waltz No. 2 – Eyes Wide Shut

Poverty – Once Upon A Time In America

Waltz – The Godfather

Technically Missing – Gone Girl

Immigrant Song – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Supermarine – Dunkirk

Across 110th Street – Jackie Brown

The Lonely Shepherd – Kill Bill

Freedom – Django Unchained

Rags To Riches – Goodfellas

 

Images:

1st image     2nd image    3rd image    4th image

 

The Bloody History of Witchcraft

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Throughout centuries, witches have appeared in various forms such as wicked individuals, who were in league with the Devil, of the possession of necromantic powers. Therefore, they were simply potential dangers for others. In Medieval Europe, Witchcraft was perceived to facilitate the summoning of demons, the Devil, and other evil spirits. Devamını Oku

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