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Art film

The urge to explore beyond the traditional borders of genres occupies a growing number of artists, thus also the composers whose approach towards other art forms result in new and unique expressions; works that often fall in pit between traditional labels such as music, film, sculpture, installation, plastic arts… you name it.  

One of the strongest and most significant movements on the contemporary art scene at the moment is driven by interdisciplinary expression. One mixed genre that has a relatively long tradition behind it is the silent art film with new live music performance. A great classic from the surrealistic period is Luis Buñuel’s and Salvador Dali’s Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog, 1929) that has been set into music by Mauricio Kagel. The movie was meant to get just a few screenings when it was first premiered in Paris, but ended up running for eight full months!

The famous frame from Buñuel's Le Chien Andalou (1929)

The late Ole Schmidt (1928-2009), conductor and Edition·S composer for decades, composed music to another avant-garde classic: Carl Th. Dreyer’s legendary The Passion of Joan of Arc (1927). The music was written in 1982 on commission from the Los Angeles film producer Anett Wolf and has been performed numerous times across the globe since the 1983 world re-premiere. Recently, Edition·S has prepared a complete new and revised score and orchestral material for the music, backed by substantial funding from the VELUX Foundation and with the silent movie expert and conductor Frank Strobel as consultant. The first performance of the new score, fitted to the new, digitalized Oslo-version of Dreyer’s movie, was in Leeds, England at Opera North on June 9, 2011.

Joan of Arc from Carl Th. Dreyer's 1927 movie with live orchestral music by Ole Schmidt

A recent and groundbreaking contribution to the genre is Bill Morrison & Simon Christensen’s TRIBUTES – Pulse (2011). This unique collaboration between New York avant-garde filmmaker Bill Morrison (creator of prize-winning Decasia) and the Danish composer Simon Christensen has resulted in an hour-long requiem to the 20th century – a suite in four movements signified not only by the pulsation style of Christensen’s music, but also by Morrison’s highly personal style and montage technique, involving digital revitalization of deteriorated nitrate film. This results in a marvelous, new audiovisual expression. TRIBUTES – Pulse saw its world premiere at the Royal Playhouse in Copenhagen on June 16, 2011 in close collaboration with The Royal Theatre and GRID by Montana Group.

Simon Christensen's latest project, his Chamber Cinema Set, is a collaboration with Robert Scaller. A reminder of the analogue magic of light passing through celluloid and casting an image on a screen.

Chamber Cinema Set with Robert Schaller

A third and quite different example of film and music as a new integrated art form is Simon Steen-Andersen's Runtime Error (@HOTELbich/Brussels) (2009). Here, Steen-Andersen makes a complete merge between the film language and the musical form, creating a new filmic expression. The work is both an art piece in itself and can thus be screened at concerts and galleries – but it is also a concept that can be developed further as a site-specific art project. For more information, please contact us.


Practical information:

Carl Th. Dreyer: The Passion of Joan of Arc is distributed worldwide (except Denmark) by Gaumont and in Denmark the The Danish Film Institute. The orchestral material for the film is distributed as hire material by Edition·S – music¬sound¬art. For inquiries, please contact our hire department.

Bill Morrison & Simon Christensen: TRIBUTES – Pulse is distributed worldwide by Edition·S – music¬sound¬art. The music for live performance is scored for the three musicians of the band Kundi Bombo (violin, saxophone and percussion with audio playback and live-electronics). The band can be booked for live screenings via Edition·S as well. TRIBUTES – Pulse is released in an exclusive 7.1 Blu-ray production by Dacapo Records.

Simon Steen-Andersen: Runtime Error (@HOTELbich/Brussels) is distributed worldwide by Edition·S – music¬sound¬art. For enquiries about the work for festivals or a site-specific adaptation, please contact us.