Live Music to Film -26 March 2019, 7.30pm
Berlin : Symphony of a Great City – Silent film dir. Walter Ruttmann 1927 Germany
REFLEKTOR2 – JAN KOPINSKI saxophone, STEVE ILIFFE piano
Walter Ruttmann’s definitive ‘city film’ is a dawn to dusk portrait of 1920s Berlin, combining documentary, abstract and lyrical imagery. With Karl Freund’s masterly camerawork and the film’s assured editing, BERLIN was hugely successful on its release, and that rarity – a film both popular and avant-garde.
Berlin: Symphony of a Great City contains moments of poetry that have seldom been equalled in film. The lyrical tone is set from the start with the opening shots of a dawn train journey towards the city. A subtle arching of time throughout the acts and seamless editing foreshadows the documentary style of later films. And beneath the immediate sense of objectivity to the film, there are touches of engaging warmth as Ruttman revels in the tapestry of human ingenuity, creativity and flow of life in the big city. The editing and sheer breadth of detail merges the documentary and visual narrative into a masterful film achievement.
REFLEKTOR2 – Pianist Steve Iliffe and I perform our original score live to the film and follow it’s five acts of the daily diary of a city moving from the rhythmic to the abstract. Mirroring the pace and dazzle of the editing, the music responds to the human curiosity and the wonder of how we find ourselves in the modern world.