There’s something brilliant about the combination of a great silent film with live musical accompaniment and, this year, live soundtracking seems to have hit the spot hereabouts.
What with harpist Elizabeth-Jane Baldry at the Slapstick Festival, Andy Sheppard’s specially commissioned jazz score for Metropolis at the Jazz and Blues Festival, arty electro-acousticians My Octopus Mind’s creepy Nosferatu music at Arnolfini and GoGo Penguin reworking cult art film Koyaanisqatsi in the Colston Hall, we’ve already caught some impressive multimedia fun in 2017.
Now the very stylish Hauser & Wirth gallery down in Bruton are getting in on the act with The Sound of Silent, a weekend of film classics embellished with classical scores brought to life by violinist Matthew Trusler and pianist Ashley Wass. As well as an evening of Charlie Chaplin’s finest moments from films like The Immigrant and The Gold Rush scored by film composer Carl Davis, the duo will be premiering a brand new soundtrack for Battleship Potemkin (still, pictured top).
Sergei Eisenstein’s mighty 1925 epic centres on the 1905 mutiny aboard a warship that was an early spark for the imminent Russian Revolution, and the film features the notorious ‘Odessa steps’ episode, where a baby in a pram hurtles down the steps as Cossack soldiers mow down a public protest. Previous soundtracks for the film have come from Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich and the Pet Shop Boys. There will also be free screenings of a couple of Harold Lloyd films, and a children’s circus workshop linked to Chaplin’s The Circus.
Somewhat bizarrely, given the weekend’s title, there’s also a performance of jazzed-up songs from the movies with two of the country’s top musicians. Singer and pianist Ian Shaw’s well-established duo with trumpeter Guy Barker has been a well-established touring favourite for some years now, with Shaw’s willingness to camp it up as entertaining as their combined musicianship.
The Sound of Silent weekend runs at Hauser & Wirth Gallery, Bruton, Somerset from Friday 12 to Sunday 14 May. For more info, visit www.hauserwirthsomerset.com/events/the-sound-of-silent-celebrating-100-years-of-music-and-the-movies-20170512