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Nosferatu 1922


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I'm looking for a keyboard score to play on a scary sounding church organ for a live screening of the 1922 horror film Nosferatu. Having difficulty tracking down/sourcing an orchestral score reduction - any version fine as long as it works for a live screening. Can anyone help/advise please?  Many thanks

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I've played for this film many times but I'm not sure that what you're after exists.  Few silent films without orchestral scores had written down piano/organ scores as they would usually be improvised.  If improvising wasn't possible, there were 'stock books' published for cinema use of generic funny/romantic/scary music you could select (though I've never seen one).   Or they would play selections from actual pieces of music - I've actually seen a performance on YouTube where someone accompanied Nosferatu with Reger op 127 (his longest piece) and various other massive Reger pieces - and it worked surprisingly well!   Sorry that's not very helpful - I think what I'm saying is that rather than use your time chasing a possibly non-existent reduction, you might be better off putting something together from existing music (not necessarily Reger of course).

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2 hours ago, DariusB said:

 If improvising wasn't possible, there were 'stock books' published for cinema use of generic funny/romantic/scary music you could select (though I've never seen one). 

This is fascinating!

Both of my grandmothers were pianists/organists. My maternal grandmother was, I think, one of the first women to hold the FRCO. She, rather, looked down her nose at my paternal grandmother who played the piano/organ, I can't discover which, for the silent movies. Despite 'just' being a 'theatre/cinema' player my paternal grandmother must have been quite formidable because she was employed, so I'm told, at the Alhambra in Bradford which, I think, was an important theatre/cinema in the North of England, in those days. Improvisation was her 'thing' and my maternal grandmother disapproved telling me that I should 'play what was on the copy' rather than making it up if I couldn't play it!! She saw no value in improvisation!! As those who know me will attest, I have been 'fudging' keyboard music I can't play for many years!!! I was lucky, I learnt skills from both of my grandmothers!!!

I inherited vast amounts of music from both of these ladies and I wonder if, upstairs in the huge loft I have here, amidst the boxes and boxes of unopened stuff, there are any of the books that Darius mentions. If I'm feeling brave I'll attack these over the next few days and see what I can find. It could be an interesting experience.

 

 

 

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That is really interesting.  It would definitely be worth a look, though it may be that if she was an improviser she wouldn't have needed the books. The attitude that doing this kind of thing was a bit embarrassing seems to have been common.  I have heard (does anyone know if this is really true) that more than one Cathedral organist in the 1920s used to make extra cash by improvising in cinemas, but they always used an assumed name!

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21 hours ago, DariusB said:

I have heard (does anyone know if this is really true) that more than one Cathedral organist in the 1920s used to make extra cash by improvising in cinemas, but they always used an assumed name!

I wonder if one of the names you are looking for is George Thomas Pattman FRCO. He was assistant at Peterbrough under Haydn Keeton and then, variously, at Scarbrough, Hessle, Bridlington Priory (where my maternal grandmother knew him) and St. Mary's Cathedral in Glasgow. He left Glasgow around 1916 and ordered, from Harrison & Harrison a large touring organ with which he toured musical halls and cinemas. He was organist of the Winter Gardens in Blackpool in 1924/5 and, during WWII was, for a short time, organist of a church in Edgware. I remember my maternal grandmother talking about Pattman who died in 1961. She lived until 1992 and died at the age of 102. 

 

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Touring organ! Ah ha! Thank you for the prompt S_L. Some time ago, for reasons unknown even to me, I was trying to find evidence of a touring organ which I'd read about, and which had eventually found its way to New Zealand, I thought Dunedin. But I could find nothing. This comment rekindled that thought, and within a few minutes I'd found it. What was originally "The Bathurst Mammoth Cathedral Organ" built by HN&B is indeed now in Dunedin Town Hall, known as Norma, and apparently in good order for a centenarian, although probably less mobile than before. Even if well known to everyone on the forum except me, it was still fun finding and reading about it.

Dunedin Town Hall Organ "Norma" (cityofdunedin.com)

Norma's 100th 'Birthday Bash' to be a blast | Otago Daily Times Online News (odt.co.nz)

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On 19/07/2021 at 17:03, DariusB said:

I have heard (does anyone know if this is really true) that more than one Cathedral organist in the 1920s used to make extra cash by improvising in cinemas, but they always used an assumed name

Norman Cocker, as already mentioned, but using his own name in a cinema at Altrincham if my memory serves. Rather more surprising, and the source is our own Musing Muso, Osborne Peasegood, sub-organist of Westminster Abbey played at a cinema in Acton.  If any further corroboration needed, MM will have to supply it.

A not wholly unrelated anecdote.  I once met Douglas Reeve on an association visit to the dual-purpose Christie/ HN&B organ at The Dome, Brighton.  Before demonstrating a non-stop one hour programme played from memory, he regaled us with various reminiscences.  As a teenage cinema organist he had gone to Canterbury Cathedral and rather timorously asked to see the organ.  On meeting the organist Dr C C Palmer he ventured that he was also an organist.  Dr Palmer enquired where, and when a cinema organ was mentioned the Doctor expostulated “the prostitution of art”!  In spite of that put-down Douglas Reeve told the story with great humour.

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Just a little more on G.T. Pattman. He ordered, in 1916, a four manual, twenty seven stop, 'travelling organ'. The fourth manual was a piano. It cost him £3000. The specification is on NPOR. NPORView N04178 I can't find a picture of it though!

The organ found its way into Durham School Chapel where it was rebuilt, in 1941 and 1987 by Harrison & Harrison and in 2007 by Henry Willis. 

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1 hour ago, S_L said:

Just a little more on G.T. Pattman. He ordered, in 1916, a four manual, twenty seven stop, 'travelling organ'. The fourth manual was a piano. It cost him £3000. The specification is on NPOR. NPORView N04178 I can't find a picture of it though!

The organ found its way into Durham School Chapel where it was rebuilt, in 1941 and 1987 by Harrison & Harrison and in 2007 by Henry Willis. 

What's the 'one pipe' 32' Bombarde?  Is it something like the polyphone at Bridlington Priory where one pipe plays a whole octave of notes?

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9 hours ago, DariusB said:

What's the 'one pipe' 32' Bombarde?  Is it something like the polyphone at Bridlington Priory where one pipe plays a whole octave of notes?

Darius. I have absolutely no idea! But that would be a solution - although it does say 'one pipe'!

But on the subject of the POLYPHONE. I wonder if anyone has any diagrams/drawings/measurements of this - or can explain how it works. We are trying to get hold of one to measure it/take it apart etc. - but, so far, without success!.

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Hi

Going back a few posts, I have seen (and played from) a book of short pieces to accompany silent films.  The Flukes had one in the late lamented Reed Organ Museum in Saltaire.  The book usually lived on the "Orgapian" - a combined upright piano & reed organ designed and marketed for cinema use in the silent film days.  I've played a couple of extracts from the book when doing demonstration recitals at the museum a few years back.  The pieces were all short - no more than one page, and virtually sight-readable.  I've never seen another such collection, but I guess they were common at the time.

The Orgapian is now in a new museum that's being set up in the East Midlands, and I'm looking forward to re-acquainting myself with the beast (and other instruments in the collection).  I think only 2 of these beast still exist.

Every Blessing

Tony

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13 hours ago, S_L said:

But on the subject of the POLYPHONE. I wonder if anyone has any diagrams/drawings/measurements of this - or can explain how it works. We are trying to get hold of one to measure it/take it apart etc. - but, so far, without success!.

I've seen the Bridlington one, but am none the wiser for that.  As Nicholsons rebuilt it I daresay they know how it works so I will ask them - and tell you if I find out anything interesting.

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11 hours ago, DariusB said:

I've seen the Bridlington one, but am none the wiser for that.  As Nicholsons rebuilt it I daresay they know how it works so I will ask them - and tell you if I find out anything interesting.

I'm grateful for that. Thank you, Darius.

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9 hours ago, S_L said:

I'm grateful for that. Thank you, Darius.

There's a chap, I think his name is Tim Trenchard, who might have the specs and can build them. He was looking after the Downside organ so plenty of experience there. 

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12 hours ago, DariusB said:

I've seen the Bridlington one, but am none the wiser for that.  As Nicholsons rebuilt it I daresay they know how it works so I will ask them - and tell you if I find out anything interesting.

I cannot resist also mentioning the 32ft Sub-Bass, a polyphone, in the presently sadly silent Forster & Andrews/John Compton organ of Hull Minster.

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On 20/07/2021 at 19:29, S_L said:

Just a little more on G.T. Pattman. He ordered, in 1916, a four manual, twenty seven stop, 'travelling organ'. The fourth manual was a piano. It cost him £3000. The specification is on NPOR. NPORView N04178 I can't find a picture of it though!

There are a couple of photos and a description in Elvin's 'The Harrison Story'.

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