Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mark Anthony's Speech

So I thought I would take two adaptations of Mark Anthony's speech, one being the Marlon Brando version and the other being an amateur production, and analyze the music they use. However, I have encountered a slight problem...they don't use music in either of the interpretations! Despite this fact, I would like to talk a little bit about the music of silence. Although they did not use music per say in either of the two productions, there is a certain power behind the noise of the people. I feel like the noise they make, as they are listening and commenting on Anthony's speech, is very important to the scene. The silence sets a very serious tone to what is going on. This serious tone is important because they are talking about a serious subject, the murder of an emperor. By withdrawing the use of conventional instruments, both interpretations capture the viewer so that the seriousness of the scene cannot be denied.

Here are both interpretations that I am referring too:

This is the Marlon Brando version.

This is a thematic interpretation actually done on stage by live actors.

While this idea of the music in silence may be new to many of you, this is actually a fairly old concept. In 1953, experimental composer, John Cage, presented his work 4'33" to a crowd in Woodstock, New York. His score consisted of three different movements in which the musicians were instructed not to play their instruments for 4'33". By doing this experiment, Cage was trying to show that there is music all around us and that it does not necessarily need to come from conventional means.

For those of you interested in finding out more about Cage's performance of 4'33'', here are two links, one to a book analyzing the work and the other telling the basic facts about its composition. Both are very informative.