Inside the Silent Orchestra Score
"The real revelation of Image's new transfer, though, is the spectacular score written and performed by The Silent Orchestra. The score is filled with beautiful melodies that perfectly reflect the action. It's innovative and imaginative, and greatly enhances the experience of watching the film without distracting from it. I can honestly say that it was like seeing the film for the first time. Added to the score's effectiveness is the perfect, lush 5.0 recording that includes some very interesting surround effects. "
The Silent Orchestra score also features an approach to sound design that suits the film's Expressionist style. They chose sampled sounds that seemed to defy identification. Lotte Eisner points out in his book, The Haunted Screen, that Murnau was obsessed with inanimate objects and perhaps used them to better effect than many of his contemporaries in German Expressionism.
Why not use sound as Expressionist device? The members of Silent Orchestra felt that, if alive today, Murnau would look for sounds that are grounded in nature yet dreamlike in quality. Murnau would use sound in much the same way that he used natural, yet unusual, visual settings to express the mood of his film. Thus, the scraping gongs and mutant rooster calls were used to create a chilling effect. The swirling surround field created with these sounds draws the viewer into the film.
Their score and sound design make this the most frightening version of Nosferatu ever released. They premiered this score in 1999 in the Washington DC area and they performed it again in October of 2000 at the Virginia Film Festival. This performance was a double feature that included a screening of Shadow of the Vampire.
Silent Orchestra is:
Carlos Garza - keyboards and knobs
Rich O'Meara - percussion and more knobs
More information on Silent Orchestra.
Carlos Garza © 2000 Silent Orchestra
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