The above trailer for a terrific looking new documentary, “Following the Ninth,” about performances of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in different locales around the world, has me eager to see this new film which will be screened at Lincoln Center beginning October 29th. It’s co-produced by media writer and author Greg Mitchell, whose book, So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits–and the President–Failed on Iraq, with a Preface by Bruce Springsteen, I published with him in 2008. Greg and his co-producer Kerry Candaele have also written a current book, Journeys With Beethoven: Following the Ninth. You can find more info at Greg’s blog, via this link.
The past few months have been terrific for new films about music, with two earlier documentaries that I really enjoyed, which I wrote about and posted on this site. The first was on the blues. This is a couple sentences I wrote about it:
“It is a joyous film with superb archival footage, moving interviews, and high-quality audio of many great blues performances. It also narrates a moving story about how aspiring teenage musicians like guitarist Mike Bloomfield and keyboard player Barry Goldberg, from affluent parts of Chicago, began frequenting the clubs and bars where black titans of the blues like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf were then in residence.”
You may read the whole post via this link: Great New Documentary on the Blues, “Born in Chicago”.
The second film was on American guitarist and fabulist John Fahey. This is part of what I wrote about it:
“He developed a prodigiously creative vernacular guitar and compositional style that reflected blues, folk, and traditional American sources while also drawing on Charles Ives, Bela Bartok, Gregorian chant, and world music, before that term had any currency. As a facilitator and label owner, he would do things like send a postcard cold to a black bluesmen c/o General Delivery at a Mississippi delta town post office where he hoped the man still lived, asking: “Would you like to record for the Takoma Records label?”; thus did he bring to public awareness the music of Booker (later known as ‘Bukka’) White, Charley Patton, and Skip James.
You may read my whole post here: “In Search of Blind Joe Death,” New Documentary on John Fahey.
It’s a great season for films on music, especially as I think about the upcoming “Inside Llewyn Davis,” which from the trailer appears to be a feature film very freely adapted by the Coen Brothers from the late Dave Van Ronk’s memoir Mayor of MacDougal Street. Here’s the trailer for it: