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Not for all tastes but I found it surprisingly effective
Schoenberg's music is never going to be everybody's cup of tea. Least of all mine, I appreciate Schoenberg and Expressionism in general much more than I did when I was doing music GCSEs four years ago, but I'll be honest in saying that I don't think he is ever going to be one of my favourites. Moses Und Aaron is a very problematic opera with a lot of the staging giving you the sense that it is next to impossible to realise on stage, like with the three biblical miracles and the Golden Calf scenes. However, while it takes time to warm to, the score is very powerful stuff. I think this film version is above decent, surprisingly effective even in parts. True a lot of the acting is stolid to the point it could be seen as immobile and the ending(like with the opera) feels very anti-climatic and inconclusive. However, the austere setting fits very well with the equally austere scoring, though the Golden Calf/Orgy scenes are somewhat exciting. The camera work is fascinating from the long shots to the very geometric camera movements. The orchestral playing is marvellously evocative, and the conducting keeps things moving while never rushing or dragging. The chorus are also not bad, though at times sounding under-rehearsed. The two leads are superb, Gunther Reich is a very commanding Moses and Louis Devos a contrastingly eloquent Aaron. Overall, this is not going to be an opera or film that everybody is going to like, but considering how problematic the opera is I think the film does its job better than expected. 7.5/10 Bethany Cox
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