Nosferatu – Silent film and live score by The Invincible Czars

Played Monday, October 19th, 2015

Invincible Czars - NosferatuInspired by numerous requests from fans over the years, Austin’s Invincible Czars will debut their new score for the 1922 German silent film Nosferatu (F.W. Murnau) this fall in New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. The tour will be accompanied by the release of a CD EP featuring highlights from their soundtrack.

Nosferatu is one of the most revered films in the history of cinema. As the world’s first vampire movie, it is regarded as the first important horror film–but it was almost erased from the history books when the estate of Bram Stoker sued the filmmakers for copyright infringement and most of the prints of the movie were destroyed. Several survived, and this performance will feature the most completely restored version that exists.
Nosferatu marks the 7th effort for a band that’s increasingly becoming known for its well-crafted original silent film scores. Last year, The Center for Contemporary Art in Santa Fe, known for hosting acclaimed silent film accompanists from around the nation, called the Czars’ soundtrack for the 1929 Lillian Gish silent classic The Wind “as good as any we’ve seen.” In March 2015, the band were artists-in-residence at Texas A&M University, where they gave three lecture-recitals on music for film and silent film that culminated in a live performance of their score for The Wind. They’ve also performed silent film scores at the Kimball Museum, Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, University of Houston, and several outdoor music and film events.

The Invincible Czars’ Nosferatu score incorporates violin, glockenspiel, organ, flute, bass clarinet, vocals, music box, loops, electric guitar, bass, singing bowl, tambourine and other hand percussion–all of which is a sight to behold when performed live by only four players!

The band always incorporates music from the classical realm into their scores, and this time they’ve chosen Bela Bartok’s Roumanian Folk Dances in a nod to the fictional Count Orlock’s home turf. The highlight of their arrangements is a haunting version of Roumanian Dance IV featuring an otherworldly vocal performance by the band’s wind mistress Leila Henley.

Nosferatu tells the story of Hutter and Ellen, a couple from the village Wisborg. Hutter travels to Transylvania to sell a piece of property in Wisborg to Count Orlok. Hutter stays in Orlok’s castle only to learn that the Count is a vampire. Orlok purchases a house next to Hutter’s, locks Hutter in the castle and travels to Wisborg. On the way, he manages to possess Hutter’s employer and Ellen and strike the village with an outbreak of the plague. Hutter rushes home to stop him before it’s too late.


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