Sunday, April 04, 2004

ACHTUNG! Totally esoteric post about Jonny Greenwood/Olivier Messiaen

Okay, so after reading Alex Ross's New Yorker Article about Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time, I finally went out and got myself a CD of it.

Anyway, all while I was listening to it, I kept hearing bits and pieces of Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood's score to the documentary Bodysong in it. It was reading about Greenwood's obsession with Messiaen that first piqued my interest in the composer, but until yesterday I had only downloaded some of his organ pieces and a few movements from the Quartet.

Particularly similar: the Bodysong track "Moon Trills" and the fifth part of the Quartet, "Louange a l'Eternite de Jesus." The piano parts are very similar and, about six minutes into the Louanges, the violin starts into some really devastating vibrato and it sounds almost exactly like the 'trills' from "Moon Trills."

Download the two tracks and compare. "Moon Trills" almost seems like a variation on "Louange a L'Eternite de Jesus."

I don't want to accuse Mr. Greenwood of anything -- particularly since I don't know from musicology -- but when does inspiration turn into homage and when does homage turn into rip-off? And does it really matter, since both pieces are absolutely hypnotic?

[The version I have of the Quartet is this one. Apparently, this one is the best recording, but, alas, not at my local CD store.]

[Further discussion here.]

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