Silent Movie Soundtrack

I love movie soundtracks. They are written to sustain or create a mood. Deliberately manipulative music that can scare, lull, arouse & even make one patriotic. Often I wish it would drown out the dialogue lol. Sometimes it is the only good thing about movie. Even silent movies had music – usually played live on piano or elaborate pipe organs while the movie was being projected. Some had music written for them. Many had sheet music to accompany the film. As technology progressed early forms of lp was tried but sync was a challenge.

I have the soundtrack for Metropolis (1927) – For the film’s 2010 “complete” restoration premiere, Huppertz’s score was performed live and subsequently re-recorded by the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Frank Strobel. The composer, Huppertz, often played piano on Lang’s set to inform the actors’ performances. Huppertz’s score only accompanied the film once, at its original premiere.

The music is sweeping & one doesn’t need to have ever seen the movie to enjoy it. I have the 2010 restoration & have watched int a few times & the music certainly supports the plot & action but when I listen to it separately I don’t recall scenes. Unlike, say, the music from the Psycho shower scene. Great music that is more than just an historic document.

On this mp3 cd I added two soundtrack collections: Legendary Horror Films: original soundtrack music from King Kong, Frankenstein  etc. and Film Noir: original soundtrack music from Peter Gunn, The Big Sleep etc. Original movie instrumental soundtracks lps weren’t really a ‘thing’ until the sixties. Sure blockbusters would make some available i.e. Gone With The Wind. So these two collections of original music are excellent, in some cases music was taken directly from the film reels as the original recordings were not archived.

The soundtrack to I Married A Monster From Outer Space (1958) wasn’t released until the film itself became a cult favourite decades later. This is prime sci-fi space age music with ondes Martenot flourishes by a variety of composers including Max Steiner! The movie is great fun too, but you don’t have to see it to enjoy this soundtrack. 

Now for something different but retro. Bent Fabric was Danish pianist and composer best remembered for his hit Alley Cat (originally called “Omkring et flygel” (literally, “Around a Grand Piano”). It topped the charts in 1962. The song has shown up in various movies about the 60’s. I have a sweet collection of his fun pieces in a friendly jazzy style. 

I don’t think Mary Lou Williams did any soundtrack work – she was too busy working with the likes of Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis to write for movies. Jazz pianist extraordinaire she was an early black, female powerhouse who, I think, is due for a major bio-pic. As a break from the noir soundtracks I have her Black Christ of the Andes (1964), Super Female (compilation of tracks from her albums). You want a black, female genius before Beyonce look no further.

Finally the Lemurian Congress – a Canadian electronica band. Their recording The Tour is the ideal soundtrack for any unmade movie about the future of Earth’s colonizations of Mars.

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