Tomoko is passionate about the role of music in life, and she wants everyone to have rich experiences with music. One of the ways that people can access high-quality music is through the movies. Tomoko recalls going to the movies with her class in Japan. “All the movies were imports at that time.” Tomoko shares some of her insights about movies and music.
“Movie makers can interpret a scene so eloquently with music. Take the movie Madame Sousatska with Shirley MacLaine.” Tomoko has a strong connection with this film because it centers on piano teaching and learning, and includes almost twenty classical selections. Tomoko names a couple of her favorites: the Spinning Song of Mendelssohn and Scriabian’s Etude in D sharp minor no. 12. “Rubinstein performed that etude in Russian,” Tomoko says. “Their choice of music for the specific scene is amazing, such as Beethoven’s last movement from his Sonata in C major when the piano student arrives. Schubert’s Fantasy in F minor is played during the funeral, and the movie ends with Chopin, which is most fitting.”
Tomoko recalls another movie that benefited from music: Roman Holiday. One of the pieces reminded her of Lizst’s Gondoliera, which was based on a song by Peruchini. “List’s philosophy is so beautiful. He was a very religious man.”
Film makers understand the power of music to underscore a scene of nature. Tomoko remembers the opening scene from the movie Green Card. "The French background was so beautiful, and the point made was musical." Enya's scores for that movie captured the essence of a river, waterfall, and storms. "Music can imitate the sound of nature."
Tomoko also suggests watching good movies about composers. “Immortal Beloved saw into Beethoven’s heart, and the incorporation of his music was effective. The film’s use of Moonlight Sonata was memorable.” Tomoko realizes that such movies are not always historically accurate, “In the movie about Chopin, you can see the ocean from his window, but that’s not really the case. Next door to his place was a monastery, instead, because of his asthma, which was not mentioned in the film. But you can still enjoy the music.”
Listen to one of the selections from Madame Sousatska’s playlist, as performed by Tomoko: Chopin’s Etude in A flat major, available on her Chopin I album: https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/tomokohagiwara.