Contemporary Contextualization: Mozart’s “Lacrymosa,” Part 2

Contemporary Contextualization: Mozart’s Requiem in Pop Culture Television

Part 2: Hannibal, Season 1, Episode 7, “Sorbet”

“Hannibal” transversed boundaries in television no one had come close to touching. The series itself can only be described as an artwork. The creators blend cleverly cutting dialogue with earnest and honest characters contained in exacting costumes and framed by lavish sets, and yet all the meticulous creation builds to show the audience a mirror of their darkest, secret desires. The show builds upon the grotesque artistry precedented a dozen years previous by Silence of the Lambs, while tapping into contemporary discourses of religion, medically-assisted suicide, and untraditional “found” families.
Classical music is used throughout the series. While  most television series reserve the grandiose sound of a full orchestra for large dramatic climaxes, Hannibal uses well-known classical pieces as pointed motifs of the titular character, often laying an audiophile subtext into the nondiegetic storytelling. “Lacrymosa” is played at the near halfway point of the first season. Much of the dialogue of “Sorbet” revolves around the idea of friendship–being a friend to someone, or the lonely, “painful” state of friendlessness. The choir beseeches a nameless entity as Hannibal paces in a darkened, empty room, waiting for his patient and colleague Will Graham to arrive for an appointment. The song ends and we see Hannibal breaking his normal pattern of behaviour to seek Will out, confront him about his absence, and their conversation flows into a volleying of words, a verbal repartee about Hannibal’s most-wanted alter ego, the Chesapeake Ripper.  This moment elevates the relationship of Hannibal and Will Graham from hunter and prey to something more complex, as the dialogue and plot suggests a type of agapé love to be building between the two. In some respects, “Lacrymosa” marks the death of the singularly-motivated Hannibal. The relationship of the Hannibal and Will is indelible altered from this point onward, and their interactions and intimacy increasingly drive the story as the series progresses through its three seasons.

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Contemporary Contextualization: Mozart’s “Lacrymosa,” Part 1

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Contemporary Contextualization: Mozart’s Requiem in Pop Culture Television

Teen Wolf, Season 3a, Episode 8, “Visionary”

Teen Wolf is an MTV series that springboards from the eponymous 1985 film and incorporates European and Asian folklore with a personable and complex cast of characters and fast paced plots to build a momentous popular narrative with a passionate following and an exemplarily creative fanbase. Since its inception in 2011, it has garnered over a dozen Teen Choice Awards, and its actors have seen their careers take off in popularity: one third of the original main cast members have since secured roles in high-profiled movies.

The show began in 2011, and has gained an immense following of fans. Over 17 fanmade conventions (one of which is a hop, skip, and jump away in New Jersey, Howlercon) and very creative fanbase with over 50,000 works of fanfiction on Archive of our Own,  40,000  fanvids on Youtube, and 25,000 pieces of fanart on DeviantArt.

The show supports a demographically diverse audience by resonating on several levels and pulling from (and putting a creative spin on) familiar mythology. While themes of high school cliques, sports, and popularity taps into the primary YA demographic, subtexts and commentary on prejudice, gender, and homosexuality engages an adult audience as well. It is during the development of one of these “more mature” sub-themes that Lacrymosa is played: in a flashback episode, the audience is given information on the background of the Big Bad of the Season. The leader of a (friendly) werewolf pack agrees to meet with a hunter under the premise of discussion of a treaty. Said hunter uses the guise of peace to capture and blind the werewolf leader by the classical Greek method. The moment of the leader being blinded  triggers a spin into insanity and obsession with the acquisition of strength and power. This crystallizing moment cements both characters on a destructive path, and the choir beseeches “Dona eis requiem” in the background.

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