Andrey Tarkovsky’s film Solaris utilises electronic synthesis, minimal orchestral music, extended silence and notably, the J. S. Bach prelude Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ to support the film’s theme: the nature of humanity in the quest for knowledge. In contrast to the largely electronic score representing the planet Solaris, Bach’s prelude, which occurs only four times, becomes the leitmotif for Earth. Thus, to examine Tarkovsky’s purpose for using the prelude I shall analyse its tonal characteristics and make observations on the imagery when deployed. As such, I aim to demonstrate that Bach’s prelude could be considered a tonal microcosm of the film’s theme.
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