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A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood — the soundtrack

Fred and Joanne Rogers, circa 1974. PBS photo.

Last night I watched “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” the Tom Hanks film about Mr. Rogers. There’s no need for a review here, and you’ve probably already seen the film. But I did want to comment on the soundtrack, which I thought was extraordinary. It was a lush and varied soundtrack, carefully designed to encourage an emotional response to the film. There is a beautiful — but too short — scene in which Mr. Rogers and his wife, Joanne, are playing a piano duet on separate pianos, in their living room. The scene ended much too quickly, because I wanted to hear the whole piece.

Here’s a link to a YouTube video. The piece is “Bilder aus Osten,” by Robert Schumann.

Maybe it’s because older ears have more difficulty separating signal from noise. But the soundtracks for many movies make movie-watching an unpleasant experience for me (and for Lily, the cat). There is too much noise, everything but the dialogue is too loud, and the dialogue is often hard to follow, because the dialogue gets drowned out in all the noise. It’s such a pleasure to watch a film like “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” with its crystal-clear, well-designed, and ever-so-listenable soundtrack.

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