Thursday, September 26, 2013

Celebrate Musicals: Brigadoon Review Part I


I am an avid period drama and classic movie hunter. I take my job seriously. I research. I compare notes. I hum and haw. I search for the very best–the hidden gems–the rare specimens hidden in the very depths of Amazon recommendations and in the movie reviews on blogs.


I am especially on the search for the perfect musical. You see, I love musicals, but the greater portion tend to have shallower story lines and at least one strange dance scene. I was searching for more musicals that I felt could be ranked with “The Sound of Music” and the 1957 Cinderella. Then I found it–the musical with the perfect balance of fairytale, gorgeous music, humor, thrilling dancing, and a storyline with depth. It at first was only one rather inconsequential publicity shot titled “Brigadoon” with a few words saying that it was a great musical.

 

“Ah!” I said, and (if I had one) I would have put in my monocle and leaned back in my chair with an expression expressive of the emotion of, “At last. I think we may have found something.”


I will now fast forward a little to when I got the soundtrack. I don't know about you, but I am inclined to find most soundtracks–even or especially soundtracks from musicals–rather uninteresting unless I have seen the movie. They just seem so featureless and soundtrack-y sounding when one cannot not picture the actor’s expressions or dancing. But Brigadoon was different.


With the first pulse of the folksy music of the bagpipes, faultlessly intermingled as one with the strings and the tinkly sweep of the classic movie sound, I loved it. And after that the entire CD was one sweeping song after another: from “Down on Maconnachy Square” and “I'll Go Home with Bonnie Jean”, which pulse with the rhythm of Scottish village life as the villagers gather to buy and sell and generally delight in life, to “Heather on the Hill” + the “Reprise”, in which scenes Tommy and Fiona dance two of the most sweeping, gorgeous, romantic, thrilling, and breathtaking dances ever. Pardon me, somewhere in that previous sentence I became carried away with enthusiasm and switched from the soundtrack to the film, ahem.


Well, anyway, Tommy and Fiona in their dances not only flow perfectly together, but in the first one you can see clearly–simply–through their dance and expressions how through it they go from being two strangers from entirely different worlds to lovers. And then in the Reprise, the “courtship” draws together into a fuller sweeping rendition of the first version. It gives me thrills simply remembering both of them. :)




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