Production: Creative

Background

The design of the programme has been influenced by the black & white Italian films of the 60s – Visconti, Fellini, Bertolucci and other Italian directors.

Publicity image

The building is the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana in Rome, also known as the Palazzo della Civiltà del Lavoro or simply the Colosseo Quadrato (Square Colosseum). The building was designed in 1937 by Italian architects Giovanni Guerrini, Ernesto Bruno La Padula and Mario Romano.

The images below are from Fellini’s ‘Le tentazioni del dottor Antonio’ from Boccaccio ’70

Electrical Mains Hum

Mains hum, electric hum, or power line hum is a sound associated with alternating current at the frequency of the mains electricity. The fundamental frequency of this sound is usually 50 Hz or 60 Hz, depending on the local power-line frequency. The sound often has heavy harmonic content above 50–60 Hz.

Radio messages

Orpheus (Jean Marais) listening to messages transmitted to his car radio in Jean Cocteau’s film Orphée (1950).

Cocteau confirmed this sound imagery was “inspired by the BBC broadcasts of the occupation” – by the mysterious and enigmatic radio transmissions which carried coded messages from the British military to French resistance fighters during WW2.

In “The Periodic Table” the Italian former partisan Primo Levi also recalled an “intricate universe of mysterious messages, morse tickings, modulated hisses, deformed, mangled human voices which pronounced sentences in incomprehensible languages or in code… messages of death… the radiophonic Babel of war”; and during WW2 the philosopher AJ Ayer worked for Special Operations Executive and the British Intelligence Service MI6, working with exactly the kind of radio traffic that Cocteau’s sound imagery drew upon.

Musical / harmonic structure

The structure of the programme follows a progression of key signatures known as the ‘Circle of Fifths’. The programme begins in the key of A flat and ends in D, passing through a cycle of major and relative minor keys along the way.

Circle_of_fifths

‘Hey Joe’, the song popularised by Jimi Hendrix in the 1960s, follows a shorter portion of the harmonic circle – C through to E – in a 4-bar sequence which is repeated for the entire song.

Hendrix - Hey Joe 2

Vivaldi ‘Vedro con mio diletto’

From the opera Giustino by Vivaldi, composed for the 1724 carnival season in Rome and premiered at the Teatro Capranica

Vedrò con mio diletto l’alma dell’alma mia Il core del mio cor pien di contento. E se dal caro oggetto lungi convien che sia Sospirerò penando ogni momento…

I will see with joy, the soul of my soul heart of my heart full of content. And if from my dear object I be far away I will sigh, suffering every moment…

Milan Fashion week

Established in 1958, the Milan Fashion week is held in February/March and September/October of each year. Example of location are Palazzo Reale, Palazzo Serbelloni and many others

Retro fashion images:

Men in the Cities – Robert Longo images

Robert Longo (born January 7, 1953) is an American painter and sculptor. Longo became a rising star in the 1980s for his “Men in the Cities” series, which depicted sharply dressed men and women writhing in contorted emotion

 

Robert Palmer – music videos

His iconic music videos directed by British fashion photographer Terance Donavan for the hits ‘Addicted to Love’ and ‘Simply Irresistable’ featured identically-dressed dancing women with pale faces, dark-eye makeup and bright-red lipstick, which resembled the women in the art of Patrick Nagel, an artist popular in the 1980s

Robert Palmer – Addicted to Love (1985)

“Love Is the Sweetest Thing” (1932)

Strange bedfellows: “Love Is the Sweetest Thing” (1932) written by British band leader Ray Noble, sung by Al Bowlly alongside scenes from the surrealist film classic “L’Age d’Or” (1930) by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali…

 

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