In this study, music will be primary in order to privilege of audition rather than the point of view.
Kubrick’s filmmaking has long been admired and studied for its narrative and thematic aspects and visual impact; however, another central element of his style is the unique, often startling encounters between music and the moving image, and the use of classical music. A musicological approach to Kubrick’s oeuvre is both urgently needed and long overdue in an understanding of these films, whose most compelling features are, I argue, musically conceived and expressed. For Kubrick, a director who habitually compared filmmaking with music and devoted his characteristic scrutiny to music in his work, music is primary and generative to the films’ themes, designs, and meanings.
This study is concerned with showing music to be both a consistent, vital force in Kubrick’s imagination and an aesthetic foundation for the creation and reception of many of Kubrick’s films — and famous moments within them — beginning with “Killer’s Kiss (1955) and ending with Eyes Wide Shut (1999)…
Though it is clear Kubrick knew of music’s efficacy in engaging the audience and intensifying the audience’s experience — both during and after the experience of watching and listening — commentary on the remarkable musical moments in his films has nevertheless remained marginal, or subsumed within a discussion of visual or thematic elements. In this study, music will be primary in order to privilege of audition rather than the point of view.
— intro to We’ll Meet Again: Musical Design in the Films of Stanley Kubrick, by Kate McQuiston
In 2013, TWO great books came out about Kubrick’s use of music: this one and Christine Gengaro’s. Both authors thank the other for their help in the acknowledgments, and together they prove that in Kubrick University, the Music Department would be second to none in student popularity.
As a first impression of both, Kate is wonderfully poetic and philosophic, and Christine is nuts-and-bolts par excellence.
I have listened to the soundtrack albums many times, but gave that up as I did not want to “wear out” the effect of the music for the movies — as for example, I wore out my love for the Beatles by hearing their songs too many times.
I have thought of watching Kubrick films in another language, and with the sound off. I listened to Dr. Strangelove about a hundred times back in the 1970’s on my old reel-to-reel tape recorder, having recorded it off “Monday Night at the Movies”, and it was very enjoyable that way.
As for listening to the movies with my eyes closed — as I have done with a symphony orchestra in Carnegie Hall — by George, it could work! Maybe best with his last three films.
I wouldn’t want to do it while I am washing dishes, the way I listen to my podcasts — there shouldn’t be any distractions — nor even lying in bed at night, because I would get too excited to go to sleep — no, there is no other way to do it except, right after dinner, tell yourself, ”I am going to listen to Eyes Wide Shut now, put in the Blu-ray, get in bed, lie down on your back, put on the big headphones, and close your eyes.