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The King's music

Kingspeech "The King's Speech," the beautiful new movie about George VI of England, is almost as much about music as it is about speech.

There is the episode when therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) has the future King George (Colin Firth) try speaking while music is blasting in his ears. The music is the brilliant, effervescent Overture to Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro."

The beautiful Allegretto from Beethoven's Seventh plays at the movie's high point, as the King finally begins his speech, the historic address he has been dreading.

The trouble is, that Allegretto is so beautiful, I found myself tuning out the King's speech. I wanted to get around it and hear Beethoven. I wonder if the moviemakers intended that.

I also wonder if they used all these German masterpieces for a reason. As that Beethoven plays, George VI is declaring that Britain is at war with Germany. A few minutes later, as the movie ends, you hear the start to the slow movement of Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto. You can't help but think of the contrast between this sublime creation and the horrifying state Germany was in at the time the King was making his speech.

Then again, maybe the message is that this music is universal. The King's struggles, too, are universal. Most of us have something we are trying to accomplish or overcome.

Well, there I go, overcomplicating things.

One thing is clear: the King's speech would not be half as thrilling without that Beethoven. That glorious Allegretto speaks of triumph as words can not.

I am always fascinated by the music in movies because it can say so much.

-- Mary Kunz Goldman



Film | Music
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