The Dark Side of the Rainbow
Saturday, August 5, 2006 at 11:23AM
Stephen Brookes

August 5, 2006
pink_floyd_wizard_of_oz.jpgI'm taking the little darlings out to Wolf Trap tonight for what should be huge fun:  A screening of The Wizard of Oz, with the soundtrack played live by the National Symphony Orchestra.

NSO Associate Conductor Emil de Cou will be at the helm, and he's sounding a little nervous about the whole enterprise.

“Leading a symphony orchestra in a live real-time re-creation of a film score is like making a basket from half-court without hitting the rim 15 times in a row,” he says. “The orchestra can't see the film… and if you get off-synch for a quarter of a second, it takes half a minute to recover. I watch Judy Garland's breathing, and I stare at every single Munchkin foot. It's the most difficult thing I've ever done, but I enjoy it immensely.”

I went a-googling this morning to get some background info on Herbert Stothart (who wrote the Oscar-winning incidental music), and stumbled on the wonderful stoner theory that Pink Floyd’s 1973 album, "Dark Side of the Moon," was actually written as a soundtrack to The Wizard of Oz. 

Have you heard about this?  There's a mini-subculture out there claiming that if you start playing "Dark" at exactly the right point in the film's opening credits (just at the third roar of the MGM lion), you'll see an incredible synchronicity between the two -- and unlock the hidden meaning of Pink Floyd's music.

Hmm. Believers point to more than 100 corresponding moments which are too perfect to be explained away as mere coincidence. For instance: During the song “Breathe,” Dorothy tightrope-walks along a fence to the lyric "balanced on the biggest wave." A little later, she gallops off to save Toto to the words "no one told you when to run" (from “Time”). When the Wicked Witch of the West (dressed in black) confronts Dorothy (dressed in blue), the lyrics are "Black... and blue." When the Scarecrow sings “If I Only Had a Brain,” the corresponding song is "Brain Damage" – and when he's flopping around on the ground, the lyrics go: "The lunatic is on the grass." Capping everything is the heartbeat heard at the end of the album -- which comes just as Dorothy listens to the Tin Man’s chest.

Not convinced?  Neither is Pink Floyd, on record as saying it’s all nonsense.  Anyway, judge for yourself:  there are pre-synched dvd's out there in the cyber-mall, and Google video has a 43-minute clip online.  You bring the bong, I’ll bring the munchies, and we’ll get to the bottom of this.

Also:  De Cou led the NSO on Thursday night at Wolf Trap in a wish-I'd-been-there program that featured Renee Fleming singing Samuel Barber's beautiful "Knoxville: Summer of 1915".  The Post's Joan Reinthaler wrote an engaging review of the concert, which also featured rain, a blackout and "an increasingly insistent obbligato of crickets, thunder and lightning."  Also at the concert was JFL from ionarts,  who covered it in more depth.

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