WIRED FOR MUSIC – INSIDE THE WIENER SYMPHONIKER

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian) Deutsch (German)

by Malte Ludin and Iva Svarkova

grade: 7

A film, Wired for Music– Inside the Wiener Symphoniker, which radiates passion, which identifies itself with its protagonists from the very first minutes, which follows them discreetly and confidently and which, at times, only suffers from some overly contrived dialogue that inevitably loses its verve.

Music, Passion, Life

The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. A true legend for all classical music fans and a true institution in Austria. But what, or, it would be better to say, who is behind such a harmonious group? Directors Iva Svarkova and Malte Ludin, for their part, have tried to investigate this small and precious reality in depth. And so, Wired for Music – Inside the Wiener Symphoniker (original title: Tonsüchtig) saw the light, an exciting documentary that takes us by the hand into a world that we have all, somehow, had the opportunity to observe, but that few people really know.

The famous theme from The Third Man is played on the harp. It almost sounds like a joke. Then, suddenly, the dress rehearsal begins. Numerous conductors alternate on stage, arias by Mozart, Beethoven, Bach begin to resound in the theatre. And the montage, perfectly in line with the excitement of the moment, gradually becomes more and more hectic.

The filmmakers’ camera lingers, initially, only briefly on the faces of each musician. Yet, it’s already ready to focus on each of them individually, listening, time after time, to their stories and what, over time, has brought them to where they are now.

A film, Wired for Music– Inside the Wiener Symphoniker, which radiates passion, which identifies itself with its protagonists from the very first minutes, which follows them discreetly and confidently and which, at times, only suffers from some excessively contrived dialogue that inevitably loses its verve. But, as we know, it is not easy to remain natural in front of the camera, nor is it easy to talk about intimate and personal things.

And if there are those who, because of their work, struggle to spend time with their families, there are also those who, among their colleagues, have found their love or who, coming from a country like Russia, where music studies are considered of primary importance from childhood onwards, have finally found their place in the world in Vienna.

A series of portraits, then, for as many moments in which we see the entire group stretching before rehearsals or individual musicians running frantically into the auditorium, because they are so late. Yet, like any respectable musical composition, this Wired for Music- Inside the Wiener Symphoniker also features a successful crescendo. And this happens, in particular, at the moment when we witness the auditions to choose a first violinist. It is at this moment that the camera focuses on a young musician. A young musician who, audition after audition – in her own words, hated – will show herself before the camera with all her fears and hopes for the future.

If, then, up to this moment, the spectator had followed the stories of each member of the group with interest, then, as we approach the finale, he literally begins to experience the emotions of the young violinist, begins to hope with her, begins to rejoice with her. And the skilful musical score – now strictly diegetic, now studied ad hoc by the directors – plays an equally central role.

It is not easy to avoid stereotypes when dealing with a film like Wired for Music- Inside the Wiener Symphoniker. And, from time to time, the two directors even risked making real “mistakes”. And yet, it is precisely when they let themselves go and decide to get carried away by events that they bring out their best. And of course, in spite of everything, at the end of the screening one finally feels excited, pleasantly fulfilled, if not sincerely moved. That is the power of music. But also of good cinema. Of an honest and passionate cinema of reality, which we all constantly need.

Original title: Tonsüchtig
Directed by: Malte Ludin, Iva Svarkova
Country/year: Austria / 2020
Running time: 90’
Genre: documentary
Screenplay: Malte Ludin, Iva Svarkova
Cinematography: Helmut Wimmer
Produced by: Kurt Mayer

Info: the page of Wired for Music – Inside the Wiener Symphoniker on iMDb; the page of Wired for Music – Inside the Wiener Symphoniker on the website of the Österreichisches Filminstitut