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Music

New musical score for organ and live electronics: Wilfried Kaets
The music attempts to combine historical musical-dramaturgical methods and structures with new compositional elements.
Based on old techniques – improvisation, composition and compilation – it adheres, on the one hand, to the musical-dramaturgical rules of silent film musicians (e.g., with respect to chosen musical themes or the binding of film sequences to scenes and acts through the use of motifs…) and, on the other hand, provides a look into the contemporary composer’s studio through the use of new sounds (colors, harmonies, phrases, tempi, rhythms and spacialities, etc.).
The music for Caligari uses in particular the special tonal possibilities of the newly renovated organ (originally romantic period) in the Church of St. Rochus. The organ offers a wide range of sound and effects, which no other traditional church organ in Germany can provide: combinations of pipe tones with electronic and sampled colors; humanly impossible compression and speed through the use of electronic controls for the pipe works, “midification” of graphic data (e.g., converting figures or architectural structures from the film into sound), and spatially changing sound radiation through the use of six channel sound are just a few of the new possibilities in this church’s, located in Cologne-Bickendorf, tradition of joyful experimentation.
 

The scoring presents the time-honored instrument, the organ, in a new light: no psalms and hymns, no preludes and fugues. Instead: tempo, color, dynamics, tones, harmony and rhythm beyond the bounds of normal humans and organs.

The music attempts to underscore the expressionist desire for alienation, abstraction, provocation, goose-bumps and mania. Extravagant tonal possibilities from the new/old instrument in the Church of St. Rochus contribute to the thrilling atmosphere combining fear, madness, love story and man hunt!

 
 

In this respect the music for Caligari serves to make the evening unique, as it differs definitively from that of Nosferatu.

On the other hand, both scores have in common the composer’s long scientific and practical occupation with the silent film medium. His relationships with the few remaining cinema organists has brought him considerable technical expertise in respect to dramaturgically meaningful musical elements, in particular the timing of music for films that were projected at a rate of 16 to 18 frames per second (due to the present day flood of frames per second this aspect is understandably but sadly often inadequately executed, only in hindsight, by many contemporary silent film composers).