I sit down with Neil Brand, Britain's foremost silent film accompanist, for a masterclass in movie music.

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  • Comment number 23. Posted by samharris

    on 14 Feb 2013 09:22

    Nice to see some people in synch with myself. I've recently made a silent film 'Arthur Sleep':

    http://vimeo.com/samuelharris/arthursleep

    It's my homage to greats like Vampyr, Caligari and Häxan, hope you like it

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  • Comment number 22. Posted by MikeLee

    on 13 Feb 2013 20:15

    I cant say that I know too much about the silent film era - or say that I actively seek out screenings.... But the music used to accompany films is so instantly recognisable I think it would be a real treat to see a live accompaniment being performed.

    Getting on google now!!

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  • Comment number 21. Posted by Brian - New Forest

    on 12 Feb 2013 02:01

    I'd like to echo Anne-Marie Randall's plea for another New Forest Film Festival. Having been lucky enough to see both your Dodge Bros+Neil Brand NFFF gigs, plus a non festival but local solo Neil Brand gig The Gypsy Cavalier, a 1922 silent, partially filmed in the New Forest, more of the same would be more of a good thing. I only hope that 2012 didn't come off because of the other stuff on your plate last year (Memphis album, Hansel of Film, etc?), and not due to lack of interest.

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  • Comment number 20. Posted by Danny Dyers Oscar Speech

    on 11 Feb 2013 22:39

    I love my silent movies. From Caligari to Nosferatu, Orlac to Waxworks, Sunrise to City Girl, but I can honestly say the music never stays with me. Maybe it does its job in a subliminal way, but, for me, a silent movie soundtrack may as well not be there. Silents are all about the image and always will be. In fact, in a strange turn of irony, film music in the talking age is a much more powerful tool than its silent predecessor ever was. Maybe I would change my mind after experiencing live accompaniment in a cinema, but I'm sure that would be for no other reason than the fact I'm simply hearing live music.

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  • Comment number 19. Posted by hoowie

    on 11 Feb 2013 20:34

    Not really a fan of silent movies but if I could play the piano I would find a copy of that book as soon as possible.

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  • Comment number 18. Posted by Puffin

    on 10 Feb 2013 15:22

    Just a slight corrective to what Ewanmax says. While it's perfectly fair to have a preference for hearing the original scores for silent films - it's not mine, but different strokes, etc - it's not true that this is what happens at the Pordenone festival. I attend every year and typically about 80% of the screenings are accompanied by new improvisations, by one of a resident team of pianists (including Neil). The other screenings are largely accompanied by newly composed scores for larger ensembles or orchestra. I can only recall original scores being recreated on a handful of occasions.

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  • Comment number 17. Posted by Diarmaid Hanly

    on 10 Feb 2013 12:25

    Oh yeah just throw in a reversed shot there.

    Are you specifically trying to give me nightmares?

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  • Comment number 16. Posted by Anne-Marie Randall

    on 10 Feb 2013 09:45

    This reminded me how good the showing of The Ghost That Never Returns was at the New Forest Film Festival in 2011. Any plans to revive the festival? (please...)

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  • Comment number 15. Posted by Steve

    on 9 Feb 2013 20:50

    This is just terrific. You've made my night Mark and thank goodness that people like Neil are around.

    Great post.

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  • Comment number 14. Posted by Ewanmax

    on 9 Feb 2013 13:01

    I remember being somewhat disappointed after meeting Neil Brand after a screening of, IIRC, Griffith's 'Broken Blossoms' and discovering that he'd pulled out some stock tunes and improvised the rest of the score. I was disappointed because almost every silent film had an accompanying score, many of which are extant today.

    I heartily recommend that Silent Movie buffs make the trip to Pordenone in Italy for the annual silent film festival, where each screening is accompanied by (where possible) the original score, both on piano and with orchestra.

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