Friday, March 14, 2008 site launched!

This week I launched, finally. I've had this idea for several months but have finally had the down time to build the site and record scores for it. The site is a place where people can purchase and download MP3's of piano or organ scores by me for silent films they have on DVD. There is a site like this for satirical commentary tracks for contemporary films done by Mike Nelson, of MST3K fame called Rifftrax.

I'm offering music tracks [so far] for Keaton's Sherlock, Jr. and for the Swanson/Valentino Beyond the Rocks, whose DVD releases contain notoriously difficult-to-enjoy scores. Also as an incentive for people to get their feet wet I'm offering for FREE three scores I recorded for the Laughsmith Arbuckle DVD set but which were not included; there is one of mine on the Arbuckle DVD itself as an 'alternate score', and so now people can download the others I recorded for Paul G.

In the pipeline is disc one of the Langdon DVD set, and I'm considering a few others that people have suggested. Mostly the requests I get are for DVD's with tracks people don't like, but my own choices will be to offer alternate tracks so people can hear something different if they like, whether it's just hearing another accompanist's piano track (mine) or getting to hear a theatre organ (most DVD's have piano or small orch).

Click on the logo to go to the website:
I've also re-launched my MySpace page, in case that helps bring traffic to the site (although I find MySpace to be a waste of time, so far...).

And here are some photos of the 4/83 Möller pipe organ I played at the Church of St. Paul's for the Feb 29th show of Ben Hur:

See you at the silents!


Thursday, March 06, 2008

Chaplin's "Adventurer" for concert band

Well, March is here -- and while my sched of performances is a tad lighter, I'm plenty busy with recording and re-arranging.

A high school in Connecticut contacted me a couple months ago about doing a silent film program with one of my orchestral scores...but the school has a band and no orchestra (not too unusual for a high school). I'm in the process of re-arranging my orchestral score for Chaplin's The Adventurer for concert band, and it will be performed in June at the school. I was found by the school's social studies teacher, who was interested in giving the students a chance to fully experience what silent film was.

I'm busy recording and HTML-ing for a hush-hush project -- will divulge details hopefully by end of March if not sooner, depending on when the site is ready to launch.

This Sunday the Silent Clowns series will show Keaton's Seven Chances -- and as far as I know we will be getting a nice little write-up with a photo in tomorrow's NY Times. Will clip, scan and post it here when it happens (or never know in this kwazy business).

Tuesday I will be playing and talking at an NYU silent film class taught by Antonia Lant. Antonia came to one of my SCFS shows some years back, and I've been playing for her class once a year ever since. Contacted the Columbia Film Dept about doing this, and was told (as I'd been told before a year or two ago) that there is no money in the budget for this sort of thing. I find it interesting that there is money at universities outside NYC -- Vassar, Bard, Simon's Rock, Wesleyan, et al., where I've played a few times -- and yet colleges like Columbia, Queens College, CUNY etc have no $ or enough interest to find it. NYU is probably the lowest-paying gig I do all year...but it's my alma mater and the place where I got my start so I've a soft spot for helping them out.

Last week, I was asked to be one of the accompanists at this year's Cinefest in Syracuse, NY when one of their regular accompanists unexpectedly became unavailable. Unfortunately I will be away someplace else for a weekend of R&R with my family, parents and sister and her family. Too bad, as friends and colleagues have been asking me to at least attend the Cinefest convention for the last couple of years. Oh well. Maybe next year...

My summer schedule is starting to materialize already. Have at least 3 shows lined up for August, and am looking forward to hearing about the silents planned for MoMA's annual To Save and Project film preservation fest, which runs in June sometime.

See you at the silents!

Ben Model
silent film accompanist