Its been a busy autumn, from September’s British Silent Film Festival (http://britishsilentfilmfestival.com/) which covered a momentous four days in Leicester with a mix of silent and early sound material including the superb Tell England by Anthony Asquith, to scoring three of my favourite Keaton shorts for the new Lobster films release, The Playhouse, The Cook and The Love Nest. Those should be coming out on DVD/Blu-Ray later this year.
Pordenone (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pordenone_Silent_Film_Festival) was especially joyous for me this year as I had the honour to play one of my all-time favourite rare movies, the Henri Fescourt 1925 Les Miserables, which runs six-and-a-half hours in total and was played in four sections with a 90-minute dinner interval between parts 2 and 3. The film is a masterpiece with incredible fidelity to the novel, even down to replicating descriptions of character and location according to texture or body-language. I had played the first half when I started out as a silent film pianist in the mid-1980s but had never had the chance of playing the whole thing. A wonderful experience which I hope to replicate in the UK next year.
Delighted to find out this month that The Big Broadcast – Snow has been nominated for Best Comedy with Live Audience in the Audio Drama Awards to be held in January. My current project for Radio Drama is an all-new adaptation of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde as part of a Stephenson season next year… and yes, it will be very different to Charlie Higson’s!
I took part in the Barbican’s Music weekend Sound Unbound, talking about the influence of Wagner on film soundtracks and I have to say, along with the BBC Radio 3/Wellcome Institute’s Why Music weekend in which I appeared in The Tingle Factor with musicologist and neurologist Lauren Stewart and Aldeburgh Music’s study day on Britten’s Turn of the Screw, I am more and more enjoying talking about the more nitty-gritty aspects of music in front of a live audience. People are genuinely interested in how music works and it has always been my ambition to de-mystify music so that it feels the province of everybody rather than the chosen few. Frightening music particularly interests people and the world of the supernatural is wonderful to investigate through music.
This month I visited Indiana University at Bloomington to help promote the US Premiere of my Blackmail score which was performed by students of the Jacob School of Music under the baton of Joseph Stepic. They performed wonderfully to a full house in the University’s Cinema and I am indebted to Jon Vickers for all the work he did to create the event. That Oscar I’m holding is John Ford’s for How Green Was My Valley, part of the Ford collection at the Lilly Library on campus.