chapter  19
6 Pages

Music in screen versions of works from world literature.

Although some interesting things were achieved in the post-war period in all parts of the country, none of these films were important in the history of Soviet film music between 1940-1950. Only three films proved able to rise above the general level and attract public attention to the artistic merits of their music. It is worth mentioning that all of them belonged to a genre which had been affected less than others by the persecution of Stalinist criticism. These films were: The Gadfly, a screen version of the novel by Voynich, directed by Feinzimmer, with music by Shostakovich (1955), Othello after Shakespeare's tragedy, directed by Yutkevich, music by Khachaturian (1956), and Don Quixote after the novel by Cervantes, directed by Kozintsev, music by Karayev (1957). It may seem almost fantastic that these three musical interpretations of well-known literary subjects had features in common, while differing in other ways. There was a certain musical affinity, permitting the three films to stand side by side: a romantic pathos in sound a theatrical vividness, a 'visual quality' in the leading themes-the leitmotivs, an inclination to use an episode structure of a wide employment of musical stylization for the recreation of the correct atmosphere of the epoch reconstructed in the film and, finally, a concrete characterisation of the leading personages in the manner of the given genre. At the same time, the music of each film bore the unique stamp of the individual character of its creator. As for the differences, they depended on varying degrees of complexity in the structure of the musical dramaturgy, correlated with each director's conception of the film.