Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Allan Miller

The recent death of cellist David Soyer brings to mind Allan Miller's High Fidelity: The Adventures of the Guarneri String Quartet (1989); Soyer was a founder of the group. The film highlights personality and communication while also including entertaining "rockumentary" staples such as the group's origins, lifestyles, and behind-the-scenes conflict. The film closely observes lively interactions in rehearsals and on the road (middle still, above, a passionate debate among three members of the quartet).

The final scene in the film emphasizes that the music, and musicianship, is the key to the Guarneri's longevity and renown: a mesmerizing live performance of the last movement of the third Rasumovsky quartet (Opus 59, No. 3) by Beethoven. Extraordinary editing of this sequence (and the film as a whole) by Thomas Haneke conveys the excitement of the music and the energy of the musicians.
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Documentary Starts Here by Nancy Kalow is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.