Adrian Utley (Portishead) and Will Gregory (Goldfrapp) have collaborated on a new score for Carl Theodor Dreyer's classic 1928 film 'The Passion Of Joan Of Arc.
Commissioned by Bristol's Colston Hall, the score was premiered at the Hall. Charles Hazlewood conducted an eclectic group, including Utley and Gregory, consisting of six electric guitars, eight voices, percussion, brass, keyboards and harp.
The music incorporates extended techniques for guitar and voices providing a powerful landscape for this incredibly innovative and moving film about the last days of Joan of Arc.
Long regarded as a towering masterpiece of silent cinema, the film chronicles Joan's trial, imprisonment, torture and execution. The story is told using her own words from trial transcripts discovered in 1924 shortly before her canonisation.
Dreyer shot much of the film in close up, allowing the faces of the actors to tell the story through their expressions, inspiring many future generations of film makers including Sergio Leone.
The original negative, was, for decades, feared lost in a fire until incredibly, in 1981, it was discovered in a cupboard in a Norwegian mental institution. This new print has been made available courtesy of Artificial Eye film distributors.
"...guitar harmonics and pitch-bending synthesiser sounds chase the expressive eyes of Joan, while the harp's gentle passages remind us she is human. The way the excellent ensemble take us to its finale, raising dynamics as well as the score's dissonance, ensures its horror continues in the mind long afterwards."
Jude Rogers, The Guardian