An elegant sufficiency

Saturday, February 23, 2008

An Extraordinary Evening

We knew when we booked tickets for last night's performance at Symphony Hall, that it was going to be memorable. But would it be memorably good or memorably bad?
The performance was of the classic silent film The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, starring Rudolf Valentino as Julio Desnoyers. The CBSO provided the accompaniment - composed and conducted by Carl Davies. Symphony Hall was turned into a theatre, with the orchestra in a pit beneath the screen - this is such a versatile venue.

Only a few empty seats remained as the opening credits played, and from that moment on, we knew we were in for a real treat.

The passion, the drama, the surprising humour and the tragically sad ending; all were so beautifully conveyed by both film and music. Though it was a lengthy performance, it never palled and the quality of the remastered film was incredible.

The score was haunting and fitted the action so perfectly that from time to time it was easy to forget that there was a real, live orchestra there - until the final climax, when with all stops pulled out one could have no doubts that this was no recording.

So, did we see a film with live accompaniment, or did we hear an orchestral concert with a silent film showing? We felt we did both - and more. The atmosphere was electric, the acting simply amazing and the performance outstanding.

Oh, and did I mention how beautiful the leading lady Alice Terry was as Marguerite, remark on the mischief of Rudolph Valentino as he invited her to his studio and promised "to behave", with a wink, or comment on the anti-German sentiments throughout? Don't you agree, the handwritten captions are simply amazing? And I failed to mention Julio's pet monkey, who went with him to war wearing matching uniform, right down to his tin helmet. Oh, and that haunting close up shot of Marguerite's face - those silent movie star eyes and tortured expression, especially when she put on her Red Cross uniform...I could go on.

I think you might say, we enjoyed our evening!

And this, view from the balcony during the interval, is especially for Sue.



  • Thank you, took me a while to see what I was meant to see... glad to see he was sitting well behaved in his chair like any good sheep should !!

    By Blogger Wye Sue, at 5:48 pm  

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