Light Cut Through Dark Skies


Genre: Chamber music for silent film. Flute, clarinet, piano, violin, cello

Description: A chamber music score conceived in response to Joris Ivens's film Regen (1929)
Duration: 12 Minutes
Date: 2001

Programme Note

In 2001 I was commissioned by the Bath International Music Festival to create a new accompaniment to Joris Ivens’s 1929 silent film of Amsterdam, Regen (Rain). The music was performed by the UK ensemble the New Music Players in a concert which also included Eisler’s Vierzehn Arten den Regen zu beschreiben. The two scores were performed to two successive screenings of the film. My own composition uses repeating patterns and polyphonic techniques. It aims to give a fresh musical reading of the intricate visual patterns and subtle shifts in light and perspectives offered by the film. Depending on the speed of performance, and projection speed, short pauses can occur between the sections in the music, opening up silence as a productive tension in the counterpoint between music and moving images.

A short article on my composition process can be found in Robynn Stilwell & Phil Powrie (ed.s) ‘Composing for the Screen in Germany and the USSR’ (Indiana University Press, 2008), pp 93-105. In 2001 I was commissioned by the Bath International Music Festival to create a new accompaniment to Joris Ivens’s 1929 silent film of Amsterdam, Regen (Rain). The music was performed by the UK ensemble the New Music Players in a concert which also included Eisler’s Vierzehn Arten den Regen zu beschreiben.

The two scores were performed to two successive screenings of the film. My own composition uses repeating patterns and polyphonic techniques. It aims to give a fresh musical reading of the intricate visual patterns and subtle shifts in light and perspectives offered by the film. Depending on the speed of performance, and projection speed, short pauses can occur between the sections in the music, opening up silence as a productive tension in the counterpoint between music and moving images. A short article on my composition process can be found in Robynn Stilwell & Phil Powrie (ed.s) ‘Composing for the Screen in Germany and the USSR’ (Indiana University Press, 2008), pp 93-105.

Light Cuts Through Dark Skies (2001) accompanies Joris Iven’s 1929 naturalistic fantasy over six sections which unfold as a constantly changing interplay of duos and trios whose underlying tenor offers a productive contrast with Eisler’s more literal score.
— Richard Whitehouse International Record Review, Jan 2013