Ingmar Bergman: The music goes on

The formidable Swedish director would have been 100 years old tomorrow.

His influence on film and theatre is limitless: without Bergman, there is no Woody Allen or Stephen Sondheim.

Bergman had a vast knowledge of music and was forever quoting snatches in his scripts.

He filmed an unforgettable Magic Flute in 1975 and staged a number of operas at the Royal Opera in Stockholm.

For an assessment of music in his life and works, start here.



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  • Thank you so much for the link to the essay. Fascinating! Mildly annoyed that Google blocked my emailing it to a friend – security issue, I gather.

  • Bergman certainly had a thing for Bach’s cello suites. The 5th one in C minor in particular, I think, though not sure. Anyway, his deployment of great music in his films was fundamental to their greatness. And I agree there would be no Woody Allen without Bergman.

    • In ’Sarabande’, Ingmar Bergman’s last film (2003), there are lots of references to Bach’s cello suites, not least in the title.

  • His Oscar winning movie “Cries and Whispers” used the 5th Bach suite sarabande to a moving effect. I also loved how the movie featured the a-minor Chopin mazurka in the outdoor scenes.

  • Bergman was a fan of Celibidache. After all, there are many that argue that Celi’s “Swedish period” was the best of his career. I am not sure I agree 100% but IMO there’s no finer Sibelius 5th than Celi’s and the “Emperor” with Michelangeli – much better than the better known version with the ORTF Prchestra – is something for the ages.

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