“I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.” So cautions HAL 9000, the artificial intelligence aboard the Discovery One in 2001: A Space Odyssey. And what better way to contemplate the universe than with the rising crescendo of Stanley Kubrik’s vision of the dawn of man, accompanied by a live performance, drums pounding, of Richard Strauss’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Dum dum dum dum dum dum.
Or, the delightful, ballet-like dance of a space station revolving in space to the unforgettable refrain of another Strauss’s (Johann the II) great work, The Blue Danube waltz. In its entirety, and accompanied by strains of orchestral splendour, Stanley Kubrik’s iconic film is married with live music in two festivals in 2013, in Sydney and Adelaide.
What a match it is. Kubrik’s astounding 1968 film is an artwork that has withstood the test of time (space air stewardesses’ hats and anti-gravity ‘grip’ shoes notwithstanding). From its beginnings, with ancient pre-humans mastering the use of tools, to its classic spaceship scenes and surrealististic ending, Kubrik’s film is a work of art, and the musical performance accentuates this. As COSMOS‘s reviews editor Rivqa Rafael whispered to me at the Sydney performance, it is a film “greater than the sum of its parts”.
Sydney festival director Leivan Bertels (see our interview) and Adelaide festival director David Sefton saw the same London performance and loved it and I have to agree. For lovers of sci fi, music, or those who like their art on the edgy side, this is a must-see event. If you missed it in Sydney with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Kubrik devotees can catch conductor Robert Ziegler leading the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and Adelaide Chamber Singers accompanying the film at the Adelaide Festival on March 8 and 9.