Saturday, August 05, 2006

Silent Movie - film music by Gerhard Gruber

is an Austrian composer and piano player. As accompanist for silent movies he has become the leading authority in Austria since 1988.

He has performed for about 400 different films (Viennale 1999-2004, Tokyo 2006/ 2007, Cineconcerts Bordeaux 2005, Hobart/ Australia, Hamburg, Diagonale).

As a basic principle he appreciates improvisation for his work, which he regards as best way of a direct and always new dialogue between the events on the screen, the music and the audience.
So no performance resembles the others. Gerhard Gruber likes it to be enticed by the films again and again and to pass on these feelings to the audience.

Cit.: ´For me the feeling of being amidst the events of a film story has been undescribable exciting from the first moment and is unchanged until today. This guarantees the liveliness and vibrancy of each performance.
It is always the unity of film, music and audience. And thus each presentation is able to be a special experience.`

Ilse Aichinger about Gerhard Gruber

Interview with Gerhard Gruber
"Die Stadt ohne Juden"/ excerpts (piano: Gerhard Gruber/ violin: Adula Ibn Quadr/ percussion: Peter Rosmanith)




Alexander Horwath, director of the Austrian Filmmuseum, about Gerhard Grubers music for silent movies:

... Music for silent movies needs a genuine musical partner of the film. The Austrian composer and (improvisation) musician Gerhard Gruber is one of very much, very few representatives of the profession, who meets this only apparently modest, actually however highest requirement. He is the partner par excellence.

The particular situation of silent film music, in which one part is ‘dead’ (which means old and stored on celluloid) and the other part ‘living’ (alive and capable of acting), paradoxically demands a musician who is not satisfied with this situation (with his or her own ‘advantage’), who wants to make the ‘dead’ part just as much alive as he or she is.

Grubers form of modesty is likewise his greatness; because it needs size to subordinate oneself as creative and idea-rich musician to an “uncommon text”.

Silent movie music in the sense Grubers is neither an exaggeration of the film, nor the “digestible making” of an “old-fashionable” artifact, neither a vanity nor another simplification of the existing work. It is always a partnership suggestion; in a partnership, which becomes never boring as it is guaranteed. An “open relationship” including intimate bond of trust.

(in German)

Gerhard Gruber performing in Tokyo, JP - April 2006

"Gerhard Gruber made his first visit to Japan, and brought the legendary masterpiece films "Cafe Electric" and "Moon of Israel" vividly back to life by working together with Sawato Midori, the benshi who represents Japan! A dream collaboration work by two incredible artists!" (Matsuda Films, Tokyo)

18.April, 19Uhr ForeignCorrespondents'Club
of Japan - "Cafe Electric"

20.April, 19Uhr Azabu Kumin Centre - "Cafe Electric"

22.April, 13Uhr Setagaya Art Museum - "Die Sklavenkoenigin/ Moon of Israel" & "Cafe Electric"



Visitor voices Tokyo

The audience was dumb struck by Gruber's dynamic and delicate performance of his magic piano which blended so perfectly with Sawato's masterful benshi-narration. Six film critics and editors have stayed after the presentation to chat with G.Gruber and Midori Sawato. They unanimously praised the duo's high quality performance and the sponsorship of the Austrian embassy for this unique cultural project.

We didn't know what was silent film nor benshi until yesterday.
The story was interesting but because of Mr.Gruber's piano and
Ms. Sawato's narration, we experienced feelings beyond conventional films. We were flabbergasted. Thank you indeed.
Wish such presentation would be shown more to the younger generations.

Special Film Premiere at FCCJ. The chemistry of Sawato-san's seasoned, impersonated narration and Mr. Gruber's improvised piano accompaniment was just superb!!

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