FILM ALERT! Brentano in “A Late Quartet”

As many of you know I love going to the movies and have a huge interest in how music is used and incorporated into film. When a film is about music or relationships within the inner-workings of the music world, well then … I really perk up!

As this incredible week progressed with its highs and lows from the conclusion of the 2012 Election Campaigns to the great loss of composer Elliott Carter, I have become more and more aware of the film A Late Quartet.

I haven’t seen the film yet, but you know I will this weekend even if the rest of the movie-going audiences will be watching Mr. Bond and tuning into Adele.

A Late Quartet is now showing at the Spectrum 8 Theatres in Albany, so I had to send out a Film Alert! especially since the film uses the Brentano String Quartet’s* new recording of Beethoven’s late quartet (Opus 131) as the basis of its soundtrack. Alongside Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken and Catherine Keener, Brentano’s cellist Nina Lee gets some screen time playing herself.

An avid listener of the public radio program Performance Today, I first caught a listen of what this film is about on Monday (November 5th). Allan Miller’s 1989 film High Fidelity immediately came to mind as it explores and documents the relationships, rehearsals, performances and family life of the members of the acclaimed Guarneri String Quartet. Which is interesting as I have learned that the concert scene in A Late Quartet is played at the Metropolitan Museum’s Grace Rainey Hall – the same stage where the Guarneri played their farewell concert after 45 years of playing together.

While High Fidelity is more in line of a documentary, my impression is that A Late Quartet does have some of the Hollywood drama machine behind it … IMDb describes the movie as:

Members of a world-renowned string quartet struggle to stay together in the face of death, competing egos and insuppressible lust.

Despite the Hollywood dressings, I suspect the film does give some insightful glimpses into the realities of the working chamber musician’s world and worth watching on the big screen for anyone interested in chamber music and the profession of music-making.

If and when you see A Late Quartet, please post your thoughts and impressions here on HudsonSounds!

* Another Heads Up:  You can hear the Brentano String Quartet live at Union College on Sunday, December 2nd. You won’t want to miss it!

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