Music from the film TÁR by director Todd Field and inspired by it

Starring Cate Blanchett in the title role, Todd Field’s TÁR received a six-minute standing ovation when it premiered at the Venice Film Festival on September 1, 2022. Deutsche Grammophon’s groundbreaking concept album, released today as digital form and on CD, captures the music-making process that is at the heart of the film. The track list ranges from excerpts from Elgar’s Cello Concerto and Mahler’s Fifth Symphony to a series of stunning new works by Hildur Guðnadóttir. A video for one, “Mortar,” will be released by DG on November 11, 2022. Having opened in select US theaters earlier this month, the film will open widely in the US on October 28, 2022, with international release dates. to follow in early 2023. A vinyl edition of the concept album will be released on January 20, 2023.

Written and directed by three-time Oscar-nominated filmmaker Todd Field, and starring two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett (“totally magnetic…a colossal performance” The Guardian), TÁR tells the story of the mighty composer-conductor Lydia Le goudron. DG’s concept album complements the film by inviting listeners to experience what Field calls “the mess” of labor involved in preparing classical music for performance, via a combination of audio glimpses of actual recording sessions. , sequences of fictitious rehearsals, music listened to by the characters of the film, and accomplished versions of the music on which we see Lydia working.

Blanchett can be heard on the album conducting rehearsals of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony (as Lydia Tár) with great skill. She describes her collaboration with the Dresdner Philharmonie and its concertmaster Wolfgang Hentrich as “a great privilege that changed her life”. “How truly blessed I am,” adds Blanchett, “to have my name appear anywhere near this assembly of ridiculously talented musicians.” Her talent as a pianist is also on display here, as she performs a Prelude from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier as part of one of Tár’s teaching sessions.

The album also contains excerpts from Elgar’s Cello Concerto, performed by young British cellist and actress Sophie Kauer and the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Natalie Murray Beale. These are intercut with working conversations from the Abbey Road sessions, giving listeners a brief glimpse behind the scenes. Adding some unclassical touches to Field’s musical script, the jazz standard Here’s That Rainy Day (Burke/Van Heusen) – performed by the New Trombone Collective with soloist Al Kay, conducted by Martijn Sohler – and icaro Cura Mente from shaman Elisa Vargas Fernández, whose purpose is to illustrate the story of Tár in Shipibo-Konibo ethnomusicological fieldwork.

At the heart of the film and concept album is new music written by DG and Oscar-winning artist and two-time Grammy winner Guðnadóttir, who worked closely with Field from the earliest stages of filming. The album opens with a vocal memo she sang to register what has become the main melody of For Petra, the composition Tár is working on. It also includes part of the recording session for the orchestral version of the work. This is performed by the London Contemporary Orchestra and conductor Robert Ames, and framed by words spoken by the composer. Soloists from the LCO are also heard in the dark and disturbing Tár for string quartet.

Another Guðnadóttir piece included here is the equally disturbing mortar, which is performed on the cello by the composer. This track now has its own video, specially filmed by Field. “The idea was born from conversations with Cate Blanchett”, explains the director. “This piece of film was designed as an in-between place for the main character to fall into himself. A place where the natural laws of his waking state do not apply. The filming process involved all actors and was photographed at the end of each day during principal photography in Berlin and Southeast Asia in 2021. In September 2022, Hildur and I met in Berlin where she came back to this location and related to other players.

Guðnadóttir was fascinated by Field’s screenplay as soon as she read it, emphasizing the inner workings of the music-making process and the emotional and psychological elements that invisibly influence composition and performance. “It was a real privilege to be able to dive deep into the multi-faceted process of music creation with the wonderful artists who filled all the positions at TÁR,” she says. “And to be able to release the music to a parallel world that is our reality, where we hear the music that they write and rehearse in the film.”

List of TÁR tracks

1. GUÐNADÓTTIR – For Petra (Vocal)
3. Introductory words by titular Guðnadóttir
4. RECORDING SESSION – For Petra (Orchestra)
5. Hildur’s Impressions
6. GUÐNADÓTTIR – Tar – 1. Largo
7. GUÐNADÓTTIR – Tar – 2. Allegro
8. GUÐNADÓTTIR – Tar – 3. Moderato
9. MAHLER REHEARSALS – Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor – 1. Trauermarsch & 2. Stürmisch Bewegt
10. MAHLER REHEARSALS – Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor – 4. Adagietto
11. ELGAR RECORDING SESSION – Cello Concerto in E minor op. 85 – Introductory Words
12. ELGAR RECORDING SESSION – Cello Concerto in E minor op. 85 – 4. First take of Allegro (excerpt)
13. ELGAR RECORDING SESSION – Cello Concerto in E minor op. 85 – Conversation in the control room
14. RECORDING SESSION ELGAR – Cello Concerto in E minor op. 85 – 4. Allegro
15. ELGAR RECORDING SESSION – Cello Concerto in E minor op. 85 – Applause
16. RECORDING SESSION ELGAR – Cello Concerto in E minor op. 85 – 1. Adagio – Moderato (Excerpt)
17. BURKE & VAN HEUSEN – Here Comes That Rainy Day
18. BACH LESSON – Prelude in C major BWV 846
19. Field recording of Lydia Tár

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