Strauss and Superman: but not what you think…

I’ve become aware recently that there’s a particular moment in Strauss’ Tod und Verklärung when the brass blaze out with a triumphal theme – and it’s almost exactly the same as the love theme written by John Williams for Superman.

Williams is well known for his thematic ‘borrowings,’ a fact which should take nothing away from his fantastic film scores. The Love Theme from Superman is a wonderfully rich theme, perfect for the expression of the relationship between the Man of Steel and Lois Lane.

Unfortunately for the Strauss, though, which is a tiresome half-hour’s worth of orchestral blustering, Williams’ lyrical gem has now made it impossible for me to listen to it without visions of Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder on a nocturnal flight through space; actually, I find that’s an improvement.

I noticed it whilst having the grave misfortune to sit through the piece in a concert last year which had some pieces that I did actually want to hear. I hadn’t heard the Superman reference before, but now I’ve heard it, I can’t now not hear it. Still, it’s made future hearings  of the piece bearable from now on.

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4 Responses

  1. I’ve noticed this too but unlike you I prefer the original.

  2. Is this the bit with Lois Lane’s ‘Can you read my mind?’ soliloquiy?

    • It seems you know the film a little too well! It is, floating above the clouds together and completely unaffected by oxygen deprivation. Not that the film is all that hot on realism though, on reflection… 🙂

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