Sunday, March 25, 2007

DeMille's "King of Kings", Keaton, and "Pandora's Box"

Photo at the right is the beautiful console of the organ at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle, which I had the great fortune to play in accompaniment to DeMille's 1927 epic King of Kings on Fri March 23. The organ is a 4/83 Moller, and was restored in 2000. A magnificent instrument in a glorious space (8-second reverb!). The Paulisten horn stop was reserved for the big earthquake. I enjoyed using the Nave ranks in conjunction or counterpoint to the rest of the ranks -- a nice "3-D" surround effect. We had a big crowd, a couple hundred people, who really enjoyed the film and were really moved by it. There's nothing like running this picture in a church during lenten season with the score played on a big pipe organ for maximum emotional impact.

And where was I two days earlier? At the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, NY (Long Island) playing for the new 35mm print of G.W. Pabst's Pandora's Box starring Louise Brooks. They had a great turnout for this show -- especially for suburban Long Island on a weeknight. A real enthustastic crowd, as it always is at the CAC. Next up is Harold Lloyd's Safety Last on April 17 and then in May we'll do Ozu's I Was Born, But... which I remembered fondly from playing for it at MoMA in 2000.

Today at the Silent Clowns it was Buster Keaton's masterpiece The General. A lot of new faces in the audience, and a bunch of kids we'd not seen before as well as some of our under-12 stalwarts and their parents.

Will be on the radio again this Friday, to help promote Kino Video's Reel Baseball DVD set, and will post a link to the segment after it airs.

Have now figured out a way to make the Miditzer a little more portable. Will be using it for 4 William S. Hart films last weekend of April at AMMI/MOMI (the Museum of the Moving Image) where I have yet another Immigrant show on Friday. Am mulling over whether or not to bring it in to MoMA in 2 weeks when I am slated to play for Jubilo with Will Rogers. It's a Friday night show (which means a mix of cinephiles and "Target Free Fridays" patrons), and might be a nice opportunity give the audience a taste of the theatre organ.

Have also now gotten my marching orders for MoMA's annual film preservation fest To Save and Project. Will be using the Miditzer on several of these (basically the films made 1920 onward), and their Steinway grand for the others. Will be adding these dates to my performance schedule on silentfilmmusic.com later this week.

This Tuesday will find me behind my Yamaha digital keyboard at NYU (my alma mater) playing for a slew of avant garde silents at Antonia Lant's film history class. Thirteen shows in one month. *whew*

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