“You can’t leave the quartet, man.”

Two movies are coming out about ye olde classical music with CELEBRITIES – real, live ones! And the films basically have the same title.

The first is A Late Quartet, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman (!) and Christopher Walken (!).  It chronicles the “Fugue String Quartet” as they learn of their cellist’s Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.

Description, from West End Films:

The four members of a world-renowned string quartet struggle to stay together in the face of death, competing egos and insuppressible lust.

Set in iconic New York City, this is the story of four musicians, bound together by their passion for music and long years of working together. But when their patriarch Peter is diagnosed with a terminal illness, the repercussions hit the group deeper than they could imagine. First and second violinists Robert and Daniel row over first chair, Robert and violist Juliette’s marriage hits the rocks when he has an affair, and their headstrong daughter embarks on her own explosive affair – with Daniel.

And the trailer:

“Don’t you have the urge to play the solo part every once in a while?”

At least we’ll have some excellent movie review quotes about string quartets. The Huffington Post has already written “the drones of dead baroque composers” (drones? Baroque?) and “Beethoven’s ‘Opus 131′” with “Opus 131” in quotes for reasons we can’t figure out. Like, allegedly that’s what it is? “Or so he says”?

Meanwhile, Christopher Walken didn’t really learn to play the cello.

A Late Quartet comes out in the US on November 2, 2012. The score is by Angelo Badalamenti, and it seems Decca is releasing the soundtrack which features the Brentano String Quartet playing “Opus 131”.


The next film, Quartet, not early or late, is about four retired opera singers. Not to be defeated by the A-list cast of A Late QuartetQuartet stars the Dowager Countess and Dumbledore, and is directed by Dustin Hoffman. The retirement home has an annual concert to celebrate Verdi’s birthday (it’s a Verdi year!), but opera star Maggie Smith shows up and turns the place upside-down or something. Then, they have to do a gala concert to save the home. Do homes for only musicians exist? If so, someone make sure I don’t end up there!

Here is the trailer:

“Everybody thinks that opera and rap are two completely different things.”

Quartet releases in the US on December 28, 2012. Dario Marianelli scored the movie, and I can’t sort out who is releasing the soundtrack, or if MAGGIE SMITH IS SINGING ON IT. I will report back, though.

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  1. Laurence Glavin says

    I’m not sure that movies ABOUT classical music or opera do as well as the Met perfomances piped into theaters have done. I may be one of a select few member of the general public (ie, people NOT related to cast members) who saw the weirdly interesting movie “Copying Beethoven”, an attempt to mimic the success of “Shakespeare in Love”. Playwright Damian Lanigan wrote a play called “Dissonance”, also about a group of string players. I saw it at the Williamstown Massachusetts Summer Theater a few years ago. So, first, a theatrical play, then a motion picture on the same subject. Could a TV reality show be far behind? Um, not likely.

  2. says

    Both of these movies look fantastic! I love Maggie Smith, I hope she sings, that would be a sight to see for sure! Thanks for bringing these movies to my attention, I will be sure to check them out.