Line drawing

Line drawing
Drawn by the talented Luke Braddock

Friday, 27 April 2012


I can hear music,
I can hear music,
The sound of the city baby seems to disappear,
I can hear music,
Sweet sweet music,
Whenever you touch me baby,
Whenever you're near.
Although here in SUWO, it's the music that touches us... and is near... us...
SO, there was not a SUWO rehearsal last night, which, as you can imagine, had many of us crying into our pillows and declaring our lives officially over and devoid of all meaning. However, we had barely managed to tug our bedtime upholstery towards us and ready our tear ducts before finding out that the reason why rehearsal was off this week was because of Metropolis.

When not busy being a really fun word to say, "Metropolis" is a 1927 German expressionist science-fiction film written by Fritz Lang and Thea Von Harbou, and directed by Lang. It cost ridiculous amounts of money to make and was met with mixed reviews upon release. Due to its being 150 minutes long and containing footage that might give a very prudish person pause, large chunks of the film were cut out after its initial release, subsequently being lost to the mists of time. Many attempts were made to restore the film, until in 2008 a print of the original cut was found in a museum in Argentina. One rather arduous restoration process later, and the film was shown on screens in Berlin and Frankfurt on 12th February 2010. Praise be to Wikipedia for providing this background information, and here's a link to the article should you wish to read more:

So, like other films at the time, Metropolis is supposed to be watched with a chap sitting at a piano providing the sound that equipment at the time was unable to capture. Evidently "chap sitting at a piano" was not grandiose enough for these people, so composer Gottfried Huppertz was recruited to write an original score for a full orchestra - a score that takes a total of 150 minutes to play, and has to be timed perfectly, lest the orchestra fall behind the movie while it's being shown. Not exactly the easiest of tasks. But for former SUWO president, up-and-coming conductor and wearer of shiny waistcoats extraordinaire George Morton, and various past and present obscenely musically talented students of the University of Sheffield, this task was a mere bag o' tell. "150 straight minutes of playing, in the dark, to a movie?" they seemed to say, "Please, present us with a challenge!"

And so, after what I will assume was much rehearsal behind the scenes, these talented individuals came together as one and performed this Mount Everest of a score last night. And it was spectacular. From the banging and clanging of machines by the percussion to the sweeping romantic interludes by the flutes and oboes to the quite hilarious (I thought) interlude of the French national anthem by the trumpets, the orchestra took this movie, and this score, and made it their own. The applause at the end was loud, thunderous, and slightly painful for those doing the applauding by the end. But sore arms were a small price to pay for what we had just seen.

For obvious reasons all involving either copyright or the inherent impoliteness of operating phone during a performance, I have no clips to share with you all this week, and nor do I know if any footage of the performance has been taken by someone slightly more official than me. If so I shall be sure to link to it in future, and if not, I shall close by saying that this was an amazing show, and one that I will certainly be remembering for a good while.

Until next week, adios!

No comments:

Post a Comment