Schubert, Auf dem Wasser zu singen, D. 774
No question that this lied makes you google it :) I saw that after a quick search on the web that lots of people meet the tune on this film. It definitely has a 'film quality' in it. We hear the piece before in the films The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1986), Battle Royale (2000). Friedrich Leopold zu Stolberg-Stolberg's poem describes the passing time while describing the waves seen from a boat. The piano accompaniment resembles to the sound of waves.
We hear the tune when Natalie saying goodbye to the beach house. She doesn't ready to say goodbye, we know that. And suddenly a phone call that says her mother doesn't eat anything in the retirement home makes her rushly leave the house; interrupting her goodbye (because time passing by, hence the lyrics). She gets some flowers from the garden that she puts lots of afford, goes to the car, the music starts. Switches to the train, runs to the retirement home. Sees her mother and the music fades away. Why didn't we cut directly to the phone call to the mother? Why we went through this journey? Because it matters those moments. You can't just cut scenes in real life, and this movie is about a woman going through the stages of her life: losing her mother, losing her husband, daughter starting her own family, her favorite student getting different ideas than her etc. She went through some journey, that's why we are given the details of her journey with the most striking soundtrack of the film. We were seeing her passing the sea with a boat and time was passing in the meantime.
In the midst of the shimmering, mirroring waves
Glides like swans the rocking boat
Ah, on softly shimmering waves of joy
Glides the soul away like the boat.
For from the heavens down on the waves
Dances the evening glow round about the boat.
Above the treetops of the western glade
Beckons to us amiably the ruddy glow;
Under the branches of the eastern glade
Rustle the reeds in the ruddy glow.
Joy of the heavens and peace of the glades
Breathes the soul in the reddening glow.
Ah, with dewy wings
On the rocking waves, time escapes from me
Tomorrow with shimmering wings
Like yesterday and today may time again escape from me,
Until I on towering, radiant wings
Myself escape from changing time.
Woody Guthrie, My Daddy Flies a Ship In The Sky
This song features when Natalie was in the car with Fabian visiting her favorite student's mountain home. The use of music is diagetic (sound source visible on the screen) and they also talk about it. Fabian says he listened so many times this tune, then he sings along and show that he memorized it. During that talk, Natalie says she is open to new music and she's sick of Schumann and Brahms. This is very important (for me yes, my sirens go on when I hear composer names) because in the beginning of the film she was saying that she couldn't understand new music and criticise it. So she changed, she is free now. Her marriage is gone, her mother is gone, her children has their own lives, even the book contracts are gone. She is independent, she can visit Fabian where she was skeptical first she was hearing it. Now, she doesn't want Brahms or Schumann, she searches for new things. Or at least, she thinks she is.
Donovan, Deep Peace
She comes to Fabian's place for the second time. At night, he listens some music very deeply in the home, we couldn't hear the music entirely but it is diagetic music. But the scene changes into the landscape scenes and music's volume increases and the lyrics become more understandable (because it's source changed from a old recorder at home to non-diegetic). This way it becomes non-diegetic (characters in the film don't hear it at this point.)
The Fleetwoods, Unchained Melody
After we see Natalie chanting a lulliby to her grand-daughter, we see the parts of home with the a capella version of 'Unchained Melody'. There should be a reason to use this populer tune here, in a movie about philosophy. It is not The Righteous Brothers but The Fleetwoods, a capella version of the song. It creates a wonderful send off. It is not a usual love story or happiness or a future of a woman that turned better etc. It is just another version of our lives, simple as it is, different, but still lovely.
End credits turns to Schubert again and left the viewers confused and disappointed on their limited knowledge of philosophy.