Education About Asia: Online Archives

The Overture (Home Rong)

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T HE OVERTURE IS AN EXQUISITE IF SEMI-FICTIONALIZED TELLING OF THE LIFE OF SORN SILPABANLEENG,
later known as the highly regarded master performer, composer, and teacher Luang Pradithpairau. The epicenter of this film is
the sound and circumstances of Thai classical music from the late nineteenth century through the date of the master’s death in
1954. Through the unfolding of his life events, the status of Thai music, its sponsorship by the court at Bangkok, its regulation
by the government during World War II, and its tremendous culture of competition between players and ensembles are revealed.
The film reminds viewers of the role of music in the forging of cultural identity in Thailand (and more broadly of music as emblematic of identity elsewhere in the world), and of how this delicate symbol of cultural identity has oftentimes been denied, forsaken, or gone unrecognized.