Stummfilm & Neue Musik: Damon Thomas Lee
Dirigent & Moderator Ulrich Wagner
Friday · Nov 4, 2022 · 9:00 p.m.
Studio, das Badische Staatstheater
Hermann-Levi-Platz 1 · 76137 Karlsruhe
La petite marchande d’allumettes (1928) Jean Renoir
In its original form, The Little Matchstick Girl has a compiled score, featuring works by Felix Mendelssohn, Johann Strauss and Richard Wagner, edited to fit the film. However, my score is through-composed, with various themes and motives connecting a larger musical form to the dramatic arc of the film. In terms of the story, it is a bleak one, a kind of straight-line descent. I looked to highlight some of the lighter moments.
My re-score borrows heavily from different film-music traditions. I am very much influenced by the film scores of Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu, whose concept of music placement is very special, spacious and unhurried. For instance, in the war-scene from Kurosawa’s Ran (1985), Takemitsu purposefully paces the music more slowly than the rate of the visual action, and the film becomes briefly silent. In fact, the chord from that scene rings throughout my score for this film, a minor triad + major-seventh (G-Bb-D-F#) acting as a kind of unstable tonic chord.
I blocked many scenes in the style of Ennio Morricone, who had a great sense of creating sync-points in the middle of scenes where there are emotional changes or perspectival shifts. By way of tempo, meter, and musical phrase, the music can be mapped very precisely around chosen moments, cuts or actions. In order to be able to perform this music live with the film, we created streamers (thanks to Emanuel Wolf for coding them into the film file!) which give a visual indication for starting points and tempi for each of the film’s 16 short movements.