Fw: Ken Russell on Lisztomania (take 2)

Susan DeSimone suesjoy at gmail.com
Tue Apr 28 21:29:24 UTC 2009


>>
>>sorry.........I screwed this up the first time...
>>
>> Date: Tue, 28 Apr 2009 04:18:11 -0700 (PDT)
>> From: Brian Cady <brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com>
>> Subject: Ken Russell on Lisztomania
>> To: oddsandsods <oddsandsods at thewho.net>, Relayers
>> <Relayers at yahoogroups.com>, thewho at igtc.com, thewho at igtc.com
>> Message-ID: <210620.10471.qm at web37102.mail.mud.yahoo.com>
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8

  OOH!!! Psyched that this is coming out on DVD. I have never SEEN this
  flick...and I've been dying to.
  Forget Rog riding a giant penis, I just want to see Ringo playing the Pope
  in cowboy boots!

 I HAVE seen giant penis statues before though...in India... and here in
  Taiwan too...
  Single women in India pray before them for husbands ! (seriously)    I 
think in
  Taiwan it's a fertility thing...
  So anywho, the giant penis thing is ANCIENT...not whacky at all..........

 One thing is fer sure, music has historically been a constant/effective
 aphrodisiac! (BEING a musician,that is!!!).   ;)

>>>From The Times:
>> http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article6180301.ece
>>
>> April 28, 2009
>>
>> Ken Russell on his film Lisztomania
>>
>> Lisztomania, now released on DVD, is just the tip of the iceberg when it 
>> comes to my infatuation with great composersI like geniuses. I 
>> particularly like musical geniuses. Which is why I collected more than 
>> 2,000 classical LPs (before they melted in a fire); made documentaries or 
>> films on G. Jacob, Prokofiev, Elgar (twice), Delerue, Bart?k, Debussy, 
>> Delius, R. Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Bruckner, Bax, Martinu, Ralph 
>> Vaughan Williams, Britten and Liszt; and wrote novels on Brahms, Elgar, 
>> Beethoven and Delius.
>>
>> Of all my movies, Lisztomania (1975) may be either the biggest puzzler or 
>> most overlooked. As it?s being released on DVD on May 4, you now have a 
>> chance to see it yourself. Don?t just take my word that it?s utterly 
>> fantastic, which it is. Ask the producers David Puttnam or my friend Roy 
>> Baird, didn?t we have fun? It was the first movie to use the new Dolby 
>> stereo noise reduction sound system. And it was the only movie to star 
>> Ringo Starr as the Pope. In cowboy boots.
>>
>> ?Lisztomania? is not my word; it was coined in the 1840s by the writer 
>> Heinrich Heine to describe Liszt?s singular impact on crowds ? mainly 
>> women ? when he played the piano. Women fought over his silk 
>> handkerchiefs and velvet gloves, ripping them to shreds in hysteria. His 
>> personality was charismatic, his skill at the piano unparalleled and his 
>> charitable streak genuine. He championed the music of contemporaries and 
>> alone raised money to preserve Beethoven?s home in Bonn. A touring 
>> musician, his world stage primarily centred on Rome, Weimar and Budapest; 
>> his inner world bouncing between musical composition, powerful women and 
>> a calling towards holy orders. He hung out with Mendelsohn, Berlioz, 
>> Borodin, Saint-Sa?ns, Grieg, Wagner, Brahms, the Schumanns.
>> Picture this: Roger Daltrey, a gorgeous rock god from the seminal band 
>> The Who, plays Franz Liszt, a romantic classical composer from Hungary in 
>> the 1800s, riding astride a giant penis pulled by the women fans he has 
>> loved and been loved by.
>>
>> Roger Daltrey, playing Franz Liszt, playing the piano like nobody?s 
>> business. It?s not easy to play those Liszt pieces. In fact, Liszt was 
>> the first person to turn the piano around sideways so that the audience 
>> could see him banging the keys.
>>
>> Roger Daltrey, playing Franz Liszt, playing Chopsticks for the fans. 
>> Which Liszt did in real life.
>>
>> Roger Daltrey, I mean Franz Liszt, playing Charlie Chaplin in a wonderful 
>> scene that could have been lifted from The Gold Rush.
>>
>> Roger Daltrey, I mean Franz Liszt, taking religious vows as a 
>> ?Franz-iscan? as women try to climb up under his robes.
>>
>> Liszt, already raising a family with Marie d?Agoult, entering the 
>> simulated love-cave of Princess Carolyn (Wittgenstein), sliding 
>> helplessly into a giant red parachute of a maw .
>>
>> The composer Rick Wakeman (of the rock band Yes, and keyboardist for 
>> Bowie, Cat Stevens, etc) as a metallic Viking.
>>
>> Paul Nicholas playing Wagner as a megalomaniac, vampire and Antichrist, 
>> who is out for souls and will eventually capture Hitler?s.
>>
>> Countess Marie d?Agoult, Georges Sand, Lola Montez, Princess Carolyn of 
>> Russia, Cosima Wagner, all these women so ravishingly interesting in 
>> history playing parts as Beloved Others in a carousel of groupies and 
>> wives.
>>
>> Oliver Reed playing a momentary cameo ? he should have had a bigger part. 
>> Georgina Hale is gorgeous, Melvyn Murray as Berlioz barely there. My wife 
>> Elise was in the film until Equity intervened. My editor Mike Bradsell 
>> plays a sycophantic Brahms in a scene immortalised by throwaway lines: 
>> ?Piss off, Brahms? and ?I?m not Johann, I?m Levi Strauss?.
>>
>> In fact, there are moments as I watch the film when I get a giddy, dizzy 
>> feeling that I am watching ?live? as Ken Russell, the promising director, 
>> vehemently and gleefully throws his heretofore victorious movie career 
>> away. Yah! Hurrah! Life is good! Yes indeedy!
>>
>> Let me explain this ?thing? with me and composers. I love them. They 
>> saved my life. I was in near-vegetable state, lost to nervous breakdown 
>> after the merchant navy for which I was so patently unfit, when the 
>> strains of Tchaikovsky coming over the radio dramatically changed my 
>> vibratory state, my rhythm, my soul, my being. I was alive again, I had 
>> purpose, even if just to find out what on earth this magical music would 
>> lead to.
>>
>> It led to Elgar, Mahler, Stravinsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninoff, 
>> Shostakovich, Grieg, Holst, Copland, Bernstein; on and on in a sinuous 
>> wave, a tune, a toot, a drum and roar of triumph, sorrow, grandeur, ice 
>> and palaces, storms, skies, country fairs and rivers, rain, weeds, 
>> silence.
>>
>> And the pictures! I had but to close my eyes with the music playing and 
>> before me a tapestry of living images rolled and thundered, hopping, 
>> skipping, snaking into intimations of immortal scenes that I swore I 
>> would capture with the cinematographer?s art. I seem to have a 
>> synaesthetic connection between music and vision ? music makes pictures 
>> for me. I am often told by my wife that I have ?bat ears?, every whisper 
>> and click is resoundingly loud for me at any distance.
>>
>> Loving music so much, do I play it? Not a bit. I tried the piano. No 
>> talent. Though my mum often noted with pride that my hands were a lovely 
>> shape ? ?Our Ken?s got pianer fingers?.
>>
>> Making film biographies or docudramas in tribute and celebration of the 
>> composers who opened up my narrow world and sent me forth charged up was 
>> the least I could do. Not able myself to invent the music that 
>> accompanied me as the soundtrack to my life, I would give honour to these 
>> masterful magicians of composition, whose lives were full of passion, 
>> bombast, humour, joy, jealousy, cruelty, torment, the macabre and magic. 
>> Love and ashes.
>>
>> If Lisztomania seems vulgar or grotesque, well, in the context of 1975, 
>> as the tidal wave of free love and permission that had embraced the 
>> planet the previous ten years crashed to shore and gave us Performance, 
>> Barbarella and The Rocky Horror Show, it was perfectly in tune with the 
>> times.
>>
>> That Lisztomania is being resurrected as a timeless cult classic may 
>> actually be dumb luck, but the tumultuous, gleeful, whirling dervish, 
>> Russian imperialism, Hungarian Gypsy energy, the ?flying trapeze school 
>> of piano playing?, and Roger?s singing and acting, and Paul?s insane 
>> ebullience (sucking the compositions out of Liszt?s neck) ? and, yes, the 
>> giant penis ? well, you just can?t fault those, can you.
>>
>> As Liszt said: ?The public is always good. And truth is a great flirt.?
>>
>> Lisztomania is released on DVD by Digital Classics on May 4
>>
>> ?-Brian in Atlanta
>> The Who This Month!
>> http://www.thewhothismonth.com
>>
>>
>>
>>
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> 



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