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THE RED VIOLIN – John Corigliano

April 29, 2019 1 comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Director Francois Girard had long desired to make a film, which centered on music, and became inspired by the story of one of Antonio Stradivari’s most famous creations – the 1721 Red Mendelssohn, a violin which featured a unique red coloring on its top right side. He hired Don McKellar to write the screenplay and was very happy with the final script. However, he soon had the sober realization of the magnitude and extent of challenges posed by the project; the story stretches over three centuries, from 1681 to 1997, and is set in five different countries, with five different set of actors, each with a different language. He was unable to broker financing from American studios as they would not agree to a film with sub-titles of five different languages. Undeterred, he eventually secured backing from the Canadian firm Rhombus Media. Casting was a challenge as five ensembles needed to be hired one for each of the film’s vignettes. For Cremona 1681 he cast Carlo Cecchi as Nicolò Bussotti and Irene Grazioli as Anna Rudolfi Bussotti. For Vienna 1793 he cast Jean-Luc Bideau as Georges Poussin. For Oxford in the late 1890s he cast Jason Flemyng as Frederick Pope. For Shanghai in the late 1960s he cast Sylvia Chang as Xiang Pei. For Montreal 1997 he cast Samuel L. Jackson as Charles Morritz, Colm Feore as the Auctioneer, and Don McKellar as Evan Williams. This unique story traces the creation of a legendary violin, its lore portended by a fateful tarot card reading, which dooms all that possess it to tragedy. Five vignettes trace its travels and ownership through time, with death, and misfortune coming to all who possess it. The Red Violin was not a commercial success, earning only $10 million, which was insufficient to cover its $14 million production costs. Critical reception was mixed, and the film received one Academy Award nomination, which secured the win – Best Film Score. Read more…

THE RED VIOLIN – John Corigliano

April 9, 1999 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

It is very rare for a soundtrack to be embraced wholeheartedly and celebrated loudly by aficionados of both classical music and film music, but this is what has happened to John Corigliano’s The Red Violin. Despite being arguably one of the most brilliant and talented American composers of his generation, this is only John Corigliano’s third film score – his others being the wildly impressionistic, abstract, Oscar-nominated Altered States (1980) and the largely unknown Revolution (1985). Instead, Corigliano became an established member of the New York musical circle, writing original pieces, ballets, operas and suchlike, and it has taken fourteen years to tempt Corigliano back to the podium. It has been worth the wait for, as well as his own musical genius, he has brought with him some of the best and brightest talents of the classical world, including the brilliant Finnish conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and the incredibly talented virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell. Read more…