The Blue Danube

Without music, life would be an error.

—Friedrich Nietzsche

Today’s topic of music was chosen by Jonathan C at UT Austin. He is also QUITE a musician, unlike me.

There is so much to say about music, and I’m afraid this is too broad a topic, so this post will focus on one piece in particular: “The Blue Danube” (“An der schönen blauen Donau”), an Austrian waltz composed by the Johann Strauss II in 1866.

The following video shows the Vienna Philharmonic performing the piece in their 2010 New Year’s Concert.

Now the next is from a certain film (which is ironically the one that popularized this piece), Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Without music, this scene would certainly not have succeeded.

This must be one of the most artistic scenes of all time.

7 (+1) Awesome Movie Scenes with the Most Fitting Music

Edit: Apparently YouTube has disabled the embedding of some of these videos. For those, #4 and #6, I’ll give the links instead.

What we hear can make just as much an impact as what we see. Since movies gained sound, the audio elements of a scene can turn it from a great one into a memorable one. Here I have compiled 7 (+1) of the scenes I find to have the most compelling pieces or songs. Each time, music has helped to immortalize an amazing moment.

7. “Thé à la menthe” – Laser Scene in Ocean’s Twelve

The only scene from a heist movie on this list, it is enjoyable to watch.

6. “Lux Aeterna” – Ending Scene of Requiem for a Dream

An excellent film about spiraling drug addiction. This visually and musically artistic scene ties everything up about the consequences of drugs. Most of you have probably heard this somewhere before; I had known this piece for years before learning its dark context. [the piece is audible starting 0:55]

5. Schindler’s List Theme – “I Could Have Got More” Scene in Schindler’s List

The music here, even if only part of the background, echoes what is played earlier at sad, often horrific moments of the movie. In this scene, Schindler laments that he could have saved even more human lives from the fate of the Holocaust than the 1100 he had already saved.

4. “The Times They Are A Changin'” – Opening Credits in Watchmen

While the visual portrays numerous historical references, Bob Dylan’s song echoes the spirit of the generation.

4b. “The Sound of Silence” – Funeral Scene in Watchmen

Here’s where the (+1) comes from. This scene from the same movie is matched by Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence.”

3. “The Circle of Life” – Opening Scene of The Lion King

The visual and musical elements of this scene go together beyond perfectly. I doubt that anyone in my audience does not recognize this.

2. “The Blue Danube” – Docking Scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey

For context: The movie has just jumped ahead 4 million years from its opening act, and not a single word has been spoken thus far (nor has there appeared a single human being). This scene was the one that popularized Strauss’s piece “The Blue Danube.” This was imagined in 1968 but is still wonderful to watch.

1. “My Heart Will Go On” – “I’m Flying” Scene in Titanic

No words can describe the power of music in this scene.

This is the first time I have ever embedded this many videos into a single post. Enjoy!

Edit: Reader submissions below!

“Married Life” – Married Life Scene from Up

One of the most heart-touching scenes out there.

“Claire de Lune” – Ending Scene of Ocean’s Eleven

This scene would make much more sense in context, which is that the group of men have just spent the movie pulling off an epic robbery.