Let­ters

BBC Music Magazine - - Contents -

Read­ing Brian Wise’s fea­ture about 2001: A Space Odyssey (March), I was sur­prised that there was no men­tion made of the prob­a­ble rea­son that The Blue Danube Waltz is used. That rea­son is that it’s a mu­si­cal joke. The mu­sic plays as we see the large cir­cu­lar space sta­tion ro­tat­ing se­dately into view. The joke? The mu­sic is an al­lu­sion to another large, cir­cu­lar, grace­fully ro­tat­ing struc­ture, this be­ing the Gi­ant Fer­ris Wheel in the Prater, Vi­enna, built 1897, a ma­jor land­mark which over­looks both the city and the Danube. An ex-col­league, liv­ing in Vi­enna at the time, saw the film when it came out. The mo­ment the space sta­tion ap­peared to a sound­track of lo­cal boy Jo­hann Strauss II, there was a round of laugh­ter and ap­plause. It’s prob­a­bly no sur­prise that, in Vi­enna, they spot­ted the joke straight away. Mark Jones, Bris­tol

Waltz in space: Vi­enna’s fer­ris wheel in­spired a fa­mous mo­ment in 2001

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