B. A. Martel

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The imagery of death


My Grandfather loves Classical music, as a child I was constantly exposed to all kinds of symphonies and operas. We would often watch ballets and operas on film or if they were played on the tv channels during cultural shows. My Grandfather was always making the music fun for me, as he delighted in explaining his ideas regarding whatever we were listening to at the time. He was very good at making the stories more exciting and adding extra details.


I distinctly remember his love for Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. A love he handed down to me and it's stuck. On one occasion, my Grandparents had a version of this opera playing on their television, a 1975 film version by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle.This film had colourful depictions of the opera in what looks like Medieval paintings come to life.


It's really a visual feast, beautifully executed.It is here that I was entranced and fascinated by the imagery of dancing skeletal figures, angels and other such things. In fact it actually frightened me, as much as it was hypnotic to watch.


Wikipedia - Carmina Burana (Orff)

Wikipedia - Carmina Burana


As an adult, many decades later, I was thrilled to find copies of the film for sale in DVD format. I purchased one for me, and sent one to my 90 year old Grandfather with much love. As part of my current research I am going back to these scenes and studying them for ideas.


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