*waits for the (not-unreasonable) screams from the M*A*S*H-ies to stop*
Yes, I did take Mozart's "Clarinet Quintet in A" into consideration, but based on the fact that, without the context of the show, the piece is not depressing on its own, it didn't make it into the final count. Similarly, while Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" is played during one of the saddest scenes ever of The West Wing, it didn't make it onto the list, because while it's a slow, somewhat other-worldly-sounding song, it does not in and of itself make me, at least, think of darkness and death.
*goes back to the REALLY depressing stuff*
What makes Bach's piece, as well as Iceman's Love Theme, so depressing is the fact that, because its sound is one that is naturally sorrowful, it is impossible for me, along with anyone I've ever asked, to hear it--even out of context--without automatically being surrounded by a feeling of sadness, one that is only exacerbated by its TV uses.
As an example, I give you clips from the aforementioned pieces, followed by their uses in TV shows...hidden behind an lj-cut, so you can't be spoiled.
Mozart's Clarinet Quintet in A (first four tracks on disc).
, in the final episode, "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen" as a major plot point: Charles, who has always used classical music to escape the horrors of war, comes upon some Chinese musicians who play this piece for him...and are later killed for being Chinese, thus ruining classical music, Charles last refuge, for him.
Jeff Buckley, "Hallelujah".
(For a better idea of the overall sound of the song, try Rufus Wainwright's version: the clip contains the chorus, which is important to the feel of the song.)
during the scene in "Posse Comitatus" where Simon Donovan (Mark Harmon) is killed in the line of duty as CJ’s bodyguard.
Yo-Yo Ma, Bach's Suite No. 1 In G Major: Prelude. (Not the best example of the sadness of the piece, but the only clip that seems to be available.)
. In the The West Wing, it's used in the episode "Noël": Yo-Yo Ma plays this piece at the formal Christmas party as Josh freaks out from PTSD. In House, the piece is played at the beginning of an episode ("Informed Consent"); the music has nothing to do with the plot, and yet is still saddening, proving my point. :-)
"Iceman's Love Theme" from The Sentinel. (Again, not the best clip for my point, but the only one available.)
, in the episode "Sentinel Too, Part One" in two key "death" scenes: first, during the office scene in which Jim tells Blair that he doesn't need him, and that Blair working with Alex was a breach of trust. The scene ends with Blair leaving the office, telling Jim "You know where to find me." Then, the piece plays again, this time during the physical death scene, as Jim tries in vain to bring a drowned Blair back to life.
So. What was the purpose of this long, drawn-out, and probably rambling post? To find out if you, the readers of this page o'bullshit, agree. Below is a poll. Fill it out, reply, whatever. Just tell me if you agree with me, or if I wasted several hours, drawn out over several days, writing this up and posting it. Or, of course, y'know...both.
What is the most depressing piece of classical music ever to be associated with a TV show?