February 23, 1999 Library of Congress Presents World Premiere of New Elmer Bernstein Score
"The Last Laugh" and "La Boheme" Will Be Screened
Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
On March 4, 5 and 11, music and cinema fans can enjoy a three-evening filmfest featuring rarely screened classics of the silent era, presented in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress at 8 p.m. Films will be shown with live accompaniment, featuring chamber ensembles conducted by Gillian Anderson, director of Grand Music Cinema and Cine Musica Viva, and Dean Drummond, composer and conductor and artistic director of Newband.
Presented under the auspices of the Library's Music and Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound divisions, the series features the world premiere of a new score by veteran film composer Elmer Bernstein written for a short early classic of the silent era, "The 400 Tricks of the Devil" (Melis, 1907).
Tickets are required for the series and may be obtained through TicketMaster outlets or by calling: (301) 808-6900, (410) 752-1200, or (202) 432-SEAT. Patrons outside the Washington metropolitan area may call (800) 551-SEAT. All Library of Congress concert events are presented free of charge to the public, but there is a $2 handling charge for each ticket purchased from TicketMaster outlets. Tickets obtained by calling TicketMaster will carry an additional charge.
Wednesday, March 4, at 8 p.m. Gillian Anderson's Grand Music Cinema transports you to a time when the new medium of film plus live music equalled a unique and compelling art. The Library will screen a 1926 MGM version of "La Bohme," starring Lillian Gish as Mimi and John Gilbert as Rodolfo, with the original musical accompaniment by William Axt and David Mendoza, reorchestrated and reconstructed by Ms. Anderson and Joseph Paratore.
Ms. Anderson's program also offers a visually sumptuous, hand-painted French gem from the earliest days of the cinema: "The 400 Tricks of the Devil: The Adventures of a Professor, A Fantasy-Film." Composer Elmer Bernstein has created a new violin-and-piano work, commissioned by the Library's McKim Fund, as accompaniment for the 12-minute film. Admired for creating sophisticated scores for more than 180 films over a distinguished 48-year career, including "The Age of Innocence," "The Ten Commandments," and "The Magnificent Seven," Mr. Bernstein will be present at the Library for the premiere of the Library commission on March 4.
Conductor and musicologist Gillian Anderson has reconstructed and restored the original orchestral scores for more than 20 of the great silent classics, performing them throughout the United States, Europe, and South America. Her 1997-98 performances include appearances at the Louvre, the National Gallery of Art, and the New York Film Festival. Ms. Anderson's reconstruction and performance of Nosferatu (Murnau, 1922) with the Brandenburg Philharmonic, is available on BMG Classics, and a newly released Carmen (DeMille, 1915) recorded with the London Philharmonic, is available on the VAI label.
Thursday, March 5, at 8 p.m. Musicologist Susana Salgado, the Library's consultant for Iberian and Latin American music, brings together violinist Jos Miguel Cueto, pianist Nancy Roldn and bandonen player Ral Jaurena -- with tango dancers Tino and Susana -- for a night devoted to the history of the tango, as documented in the Music Division's archives, including its unique Ayestaran Collection of Uruguyan Music.
Tango fans will see brief clips from such films as "El da que me quieras" ("The Day You Love Me"), "Cuesta abajo" ("Downward Slope"), "Tango Bar" and "El tango en Broadway." Following Ms. Salgado's lecture, which will be presented in English, the performance will feature dance numbers that illustrate the musical roots of tango, with pieces by Gerardo Matos-Rodriguez, Pintin Castellanos and Astor Piazzolla -- plus a medley of movie music by Carlos Gardel.
Musicologist Susana Salgado, since 1994 the Library's consultant for Iberian and Latin music, has spent the past 30 years researching opera in Latin America and studying Iberian and Latin American music. Formerly a professor of Uruguayan Music in the Department of Musicology at the University of Montevideo, she is the author of four books. She is currently working on another, Opera and Music at the Teatro Solis of Montevideo. She has also contributed numerous articles to scholarly publications and journals.
Wednesday, March 11, at 8 p.m. Composer Dean Drummond conducts Newband -- juxtaposing conventional instruments with unique Harry Partch inventions such as cloud chamber bowls and the chromelodeon -- in his new score for the controversial 1924 German expressionist classic "Der Letzte Mann," known to English-speaking audiences as "The Last Laugh." Directed by F.W. Murnau, with a screenplay by Carl Mayer and photography by Karl Freund, the film features Emil Jannings in one of his greatest roles: an aging doorman at the cosmopolitan Atlantic Hotel. Mr. Drummond's new violin and keyboard composition, Mars Face, will be premiered as a curtain-raiser for the evening.
Dean Drummond is a composer, conductor, multi- instrumentalist, inventor, co-director of Newband and director of the Harry Partch instrument collection. His numerous compositions feature newly invented instruments, synthesizers, new techniques for winds and strings, and large percussion ensembles. His music has been performed throughout the world and is recorded on the Mode, Music and Arts, and Talujon labels. Since 1990, he has produced and conducted several major Harry Partch productions and recorded music by Partch, John Cage, Thelonious Monk, and others. His music has won fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the national Endowment for the Arts, and commissions from the Library of Congress, the Koussevitzky Foundation, Meet the Composer, the Mary Flagler Cary Trust, and the New York State Council on the Arts.
The three March programs continue the Library's yearlong "Music and Cinema" series. It began in October 1997 with the Library of Congress Jazz on Film series, curated by Larry Appelbaum of the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, with a series of programs devoted to the work of documentary filmmaker Nathan Kroll.
Patrons interested in attending concerts for which tickets are no longer available are encouraged to try for a standby ticket on concert nights; the Library's concert producers note that there are often unclaimed seats.