Can a beaver save a man from depression? Can the puppet of a beaver restore hope and joy of living? Can this puppet eventually take control of your life?

I have no idea.

But if you’re interested, maybe you should see The Beaver, a good movie with Mel Gibson (in great shape in the double role of chronically depressed and talking puppet) and Jodie Foster. Just at the height of a depressive spiral in which the protagonist is dragged, I heard the notes of a song that I used to listen long time ago: Exit Music (For A Film) by Radiohead.

Originally written for the end credits of the film by Baz Luhrmann “Romeo + Juliet by William Shakespeare” in 1996, it is an evocative song. Perhaps not everyone knows that this song originates from the Prelude Op.28, N° 4 by Frederic Chopin, and it was even played, along with Mozart’s Requiem, at his funeral in 1849.

147 years later, the same notes come back to life in the guitar and voice of Thom York thereby inspiring one of the most intense songs of the millennium. I would like you to listen the following version by Brad Mehldau (1998), a version that maybe not everyone knows.

The melody gives us the need to run away, the tension suggests that it is better do it now, before it’s too late. On its notes Chopin greeted the world, Juliet killed herself with a gun and in The Beaver, Mel Gibson tried to escape from his depression. Free from the conventions of traditional jazz, Brad Mehldau expresses this need of escape turning the theme into an ostinato that inevitably leads to a free improvisation.

In the words of Thom York, ”The song is written for two people who run away before all the bad stuff starts.”

A desperate feeling of escape that maybe today, in the unavoidable routine of the modern world, belongs to everyone.

“Wake… from your sleep
The drying of your tears
Today we escape, we escape”

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