Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Cologne meets the Seven Years War

A commercial for Diesel's fragrance Fuel for Life has been playing all over the tubes, and it's unnerving me because of its use of the first bar of music from the second movement of Franz Schubert's Piano Trio in E Flat (opus 100). It's right at the end of the commercial (left). Bah bah bah bah-da-dah. Gets my attention immediately, even though it seems to be in a key other than E flat. You might recognize the cue from Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon (right), in which the trio's beauty is A) in the correct key, and B) not reduced to a catchy soundbite.


musicalbloviator said...

It pains me to do this, but the truth is that neither Barry Lyndon or the commercial got the key quite right. This trio is in fact in E-Flat Major and is generally catalogued under the file D.929. What we're hearing in Barry Lyndon is the second movement, which is in c-minor (E-Flat Major's relative minor). The commercial plays a recording at a full minor third sharp, in e-flat minor. Barry Lyndon gets much closer though, being played in c-sharp minor. Only a semi-tone off.

This is not the only instance of Kubrick playing around with the pitches of classical music in his movies. At the beginning of The Shining, Kubrick plays the creepy tuba solo from the fifth movement of Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique to accompany his mobile crane shot of the mountains. The solo is in fact also written to sound in c-minor. But if my memory serves me, as we hear it on the soundtrack the solo is played in the key of e-flat minor.

(A message from a local musical pedant...)

J.J. said...

I love that you know this.

musicalbloviator said...

It's a rare chance that you get to out-nerd another blogger.