Jean Marie Straub, Dani?«le Huillet
Introduction to Arnold Schoenberg's Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Score was commissioned by West Germany's S?║d-West-Funk television station as one of a series of short films on composers. Schoenbergé─˘s Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Score op.34 (1930) was not to be understood as music for an imaginary film but rather as music for an unfilmable, undramatisable sequence of emotions designated by the composer in the brief statement: é─˛Threatening Danger, Fear, Catastropheé─˘.
Hans Eisler and Theodor Adorno argued that the fear expressed in Schoenberg's dissonances é─˛far surpasses the measure of fear conceivable to the average middle-class individual; it is a historical fear, a sense of impending doom.é─˘ The negation of musical representability and the opening of abstraction in Schonbergé─˘s Accompaniment appealed to Jean Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet whose films often rework pre-existing artworks in order é─˛to show something already formed by the past, something that affected us, and give it to people so that they can take a stand regarding it just as we did when we made the filmé─˘.
Introduction... consists of a short introduction by Straub, sitting on a balcony in Rome and a statement by Bertolt Brecht on the connection of economics to fascism from 1935 recited by Dani?«le Huillet, sitting at home with her cat. Between these sequences, excerpts from two letters that Schoenberg wrote to Wassily Kandinsky in 1923, in which he attacks the quietist politics common to German Jewry of the time and refuses to regard himself as an é─˛exceptionalé─˘ Jew, are read into a microphone by two young men in a broadcasting studio; it is here that the Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Score can be heard; it continues until the film concludes with newsreel of US bombs being loaded onto B-52 aircraft and dropped on the rice fields of Vietnam.
Jean Marie Straub