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War Songs (1990)

From the FILMS for MUSIC for FILM series
16mm B&W/Color
12 min


Poems: Paul Schmidt
Music by Mark Bennett
Performed by the Buffalo New Music Ensemble
       Piano: Michael McCandless
       Cello: Marsha Hassett
       Clarinet: James Perone
       Oboe: Paul Schlossman
       Violin: Kunda Magenau
       Model: Jon Stout
       Narration: Paul Schmidt

Restoration funded in part by Yvar Mikhashoff Trust for New Music

Digital transfer by Gordon Nelson, The George Eastman Museum, Rochester NY, USA


Paul Schmidt sent me a set of five poems from a series titled “WAR SONGS.” Paul is brilliant and sarcastic in his treatment of the seduction of war. Mark Bennett’s score is also provocative, dreamy, and waltz-like. The composite is a set of songs cast as melodeclemation, i.e., music in tandem with a narrated text. My contribution is a superimposition of war scenes underlined with what I call a “Gabriel” image: a young and beautiful soldier, a personification of the good warrior, the protector of all. The image of his persona is felt throughout – sometimes active and aggressive, sometimes asleep, sometimes beckoning. The film employs images from the Vietnam War and the Second World War. The collected images of marching soldiers, rolling tanks, explosions, et al. reveal, in passing, our dear Gabriel.

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