The film is, of course, a visual triumph, brimming with astonishing special effects that have still not been bettered 42 years on. However, Kubrick’s choice of music is just as visionary. The opening Also sprach Zarathustra heralds the cosmic events about to unfold with brooding, spine-tingling brilliance; then there’s the inspired use of The Blue Danube to accompany shots of waltzing spacecraft.

Best of all, though, is the Khachaturian Adagio, which comes as the film’s third and final act begins.

The spaceship-leviathan Discovery One is heading for Jupiter (which may, it seems, harbour the secret of extraterrestrial intelligence), and the Adagio plays as astronaut Frank Poole exercises in what is, in effect, a giant hamster wheel.

On the one hand, the scene depicts the mundane daily routine of a journey that has already taken many months; on the other, it is shot with mind-boggling ingenuity as Poole and a fellow crew member appear to move about, MC Escher-style, on opposing spatial planes. And the music underscores wonderfully the strangeness of their environment.

It is the sound of gorgeous melancholy, the strings surging and ebbing with an ethereal delicacy, evoking an exquisite sense of solitude and desolation as the ship drifts majestically through the vast interplanetary emptiness. It’s hard to imagine a more oddly appropriate piece of music, one so perfectly weightless and chillingly enchanting…../ more

Twitter / Daily Telegraph: [TELEGRAPH]: Stuart Cable, …


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