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'Dracula': Philip Glass Honors the Undead
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Classical music; Motion pictures; Musical performances -- Kronos Quartet
Author: Kennicott, Philip
Date: Sep 12, 2000
Start Page: C.03
Section: STYLE

[Philip Glass] and the Kronos Quartet, which has a long-standing relationship with the composer, performed the composer's score to "Dracula" while the old Bela Lugosi flick was projected on a screen in front of them. The performers merged with the movie, sometimes disappearing behind the images, sometimes showing through, bathed in a light wash of red or blue lights. Visually, it's a direct equivalent of the music, which sometimes takes prominence and at others fades discreetly into the background.

Rescoring the 1931 "Dracula," which was produced mostly without background music on the original soundtrack, was proposed to Glass by Universal Pictures. A smart move on its part: Glass has already created new scores, including an entire opera, to be performed with the films of Jean Cocteau. "Dracula," when heard with Glass's music, has eerie similarities to Cocteau's dreamlike, symbolist style. That's strange because Cocteau made good movies, and "Dracula" is hardly a good movie. In any case, few would consider Tod Browning's campy concoction in the same league as Cocteau.

The delightful thing about Glass's music for film is that there's no need for it. It is a pure artistic addition to something that was not wanting in the first place; and in that act, Glass confirms a kind of reverence for the original. It is, artistically if not financially, an act of selfless collaboration with a partner--the film--that might be considered the culturally undead.

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