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17 Sep - "The reinterpretation of Ancient Roman Music in Hollywood Sword and sandals movies (1951-1963): a challenge for the composers" Lecture by Christophe Vendries, Université de Rennes II, France

The visit of Christophe Vendries is organised in collaboration with Donatella Restani from the Department of Cultural Heritage.

Sep 17, 2019 from 05:30 PM to 07:30 PM

Where Sala Rossa, Palazzo Marchesini, via Marsala 26, Bologna (first floor)

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How was conceived the music from Antiquity in the 1950s Hollywood Toga movies scores? Two aspects are studied : the accessories (the musical instruments of antiquity which are shown on screen) and the compositions of the soundtracks. In 1951, the composer Miklos Rozsa took a new step of creation for “Quo vadis?” (MGM, M. Le Roy, 1951), a résumé of the first century Roman world, by studying the archaeological context. The aim was to lend authenticity to Roman music by using replicas of musical instruments of the period (aulos, harp, lyre, trumps) and by incorporating ancient Greek melodies (Delphic hymns, Seikilos song) as a basis for his music. The music of Quo vadis which proposes a compromise (between Roman music, Christian songs, exotic music from Orient, triumphal marches) established Rosza as one of the main composers of epic scores. However, the insertion of original plays of Greco-Roman music was not enough to change the romantic mood that was the main musical style in Hollywood. Nevertheless, this extensive experience contributed to the rise of an “archaic musical style” in scores that can give the illusion of Romanism through the use of monody, intervals of fourth, dissonant musical effects. This approach will be compared with the musical choices adopted by other composers of the golden age of Hollywood (as Alex North for Cleopatra and Spartacus) and with the music of neo-epics (Gladiator).