With the new score for multi-dulcimers
and voice. Composed and performed live by Geoff Smith.
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A wildly atmospheric soundtrack… *****
Germany 1926, Dir. Lotte Reiniger, 66 mins, PG cert.
The animated classic with live soundtrack composed and played on the hammered dulcimer by Geoff Smith.
Devised in 1926 by Lotte Reiniger, The Adventures of Prince Achmed was the first feature length animation in the history of the cinema. A ‘silhouette film’, the story was inspired by elements taken from the Tale of the 1001 Arabian Nights.
Following his critical success with Haxan last summer, composer and inventor Geoff Smith has written a new score to this classic film. Let your imagination run wild as you are taken on a mystical journey of magical flying horses, ogres and exciting battles in this staggering example of silhouette animation.
The Adventures of Prince Achmed is a captivating
and beautiful work of art. It is a magnificent
example of stop frame animation and consists
of three hundred thousand separate frames. It is
undoubtedly one of the shining gems in the history
of cinema and is widely acknowledged as a
masterpiece. It is the ‘haute couture’ of animation.
Lotte Reiniger was a pioneer who dedicated her
life to creating silhouettes. She made more than
eighty animation films.
The original prints of The Adventures of Prince
Achmed featured colour-tinted backgrounds.
Working from surviving nitrate prints, German and
British archivists restored the film and managed to
incorporate the original tinted backgrounds, which
in their dynamic interaction with the silhouette
characters are crucial to the aesthetic of the film.
Prints available just prior to the restoration had
only been in black and white.
Geoff Smith’s new score for The Adventures of
Prince Achmed has been inspired and led by
Lotte Reiniger’s genius. He has attempted to do
justice to her achievement. For the performance
of the soundtrack Geoff uses numerous prototype
Hammered dulcimers, one being the first ‘Fluid
dulcimer’ incorporating his revolutionary ‘microtonal
fluid tuning mechanism’ patent, without which
it would have been impossible to compose and
perform the soundtrack.
For further information regarding this invention and some of its historic implications please refer to the Guardian newspaper article ‘Composer reinvents the piano’.
Geoff Smith’s pioneering score for The Adventures
of Prince Achmed is a revelation in the composition
and performance of live music for animation.
He has dedicated himself to exploring the wider
spectrum of musical choices that his invention
offers, so that in the composition of the score it
has been possible to respond in more intimate,
expressive and expanded detail to this unique and
uplifting film. His immensely dynamic score illuminates and emphasises Lotte Reiniger’s aesthetic
obsession, consummate artistry and passionate
commitment to story telling; as Lotte Reiniger said:
‘I believe more in the truth of fairytales
than the truth in the newspapers’.
Suitable for all ages.
It’s a tribute to Smith that his music was
able to bring this wonderful movie to life.
The Financial Times
The Hammered dulcimer has been
waiting for someone like Geoff Smith to
Fiona Talkington, BBC Radio 3
The musical equivalent of splitting the
Click here to find out more about Geoff Smith
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