Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Hillman, Roger. “The Great Eclecticism of the Filmmaker Werner Herzog.” In Unsettling Scores: German Film, Music, and Ideology, 136-50. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005.

Unlike many New German filmmakers, director Werner Herzog is not concerned about the historical baggage of twentieth-century Germany but is rather focused on forging new territory for the cinematic image. Similarly, he ignores the reception history of the Western art music he uses, in particular Germanic music. Herzog resists interpretation of his musical choices, despite the variety of music he employs, as well as his diverse treatment of that music. Music is used quite differently in the films Woyzeck (to underscore the transcendence of society), Fitzcarraldo (to enhance artifice and unreality and to underscore Herzog’s self-generated mythos in cinematic history), and Lessons of Darkness (to be a universal, rather than Germanic, herald of death and destruction). In each film, Herzog selects pre-existing music to enhance dramatic and narrative elements specific to the film, but does not engage the historic memory of the music itself.

Works: Werner Herzog (director): Nosferatu (148-49), Woyzeck (139-40), Fitzcarraldo (140-46), Lessons of Darkness (146-50).

Sources: Beethoven: Piano Sonata in E-flat Major, Op. 81a (139); Richard Strauss: Death and Transfiguration (141); Bellini: I Puritani (141, 145-46); Verdi: Un ballo in maschera (141), Requiem (147, 150), Ernani (141-46); Wagner: Die Walküre (141), Parsifal (147-48), Das Rheingold (147-49), Götterdämmerung (147); Grieg: Peer Gynt (147, 149); Mahler: Symphony No. 2 (147, 149); Pärt: Stabat Mater (147); Prokofiev: Sonata for Two Violins, Op. 56 (147); Schubert: Notturno in E-flat Major, Op. 148 (147).

Index Classifications: 1900s, 2000s, Film

Contributed by: Kate Altizer

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