Horror fans are in for a fright at Town Hall this Halloween, Wednesday 31 October, when creepy 1920 silent movie Der Golem – the story of a clay giant brought to life by the dark arts of a mysterious rabbi – receives a special screening.
Supernatural special effects, creepy set design and the zombie-like clay giant will all be brought to life on the big screen, whilst renowned organist Nigel Ogden improvises a spine-chilling accompaniment on Town Hall’s mighty organ. We asked Nigel how he prepares himself for a performance that is essentially made-up on the spot…
Providing an improvised accompaniment to a silent film is, for me, an exciting but challenging experience! The whole point about improvisation is that, basically, you’re making the music up as you go along – therefore, you just hope that, on the day of the performance, your bio-rhythms are behaving themselves and you are feeling musically creative! Of course, having a huge pipe organ such as the instrument in Birmingham Town Hall at your disposal helps considerably as it is capable of providing such a wide variety of tone colours ranging from extremely quiet to very loud which is invaluable when matching the varying moods of the film.
My own method of preparing for such an occasion is to wait until about two weeks before the event. At this point, I will watch the film through a couple of times over two or three days. Then, during the following week, I will watch it every day, running through musical ideas in my head but I never actually play anything on a keyboard until the day of the performance.
This, I hope, keeps everything pretty spontaneous and gets the musical part of my brain working at full capacity.
– Nigel Ogden, organist
Town Hall is set for a ghoulish makeover in order to get audiences in the mood for the screening, and hopefully it won’t just be the building that’s decked in spooky attire! Audience members are invited to pull their best capes, witches hats and devil horns out of the cupboard to be in with the chance of winning a bottle of champagne and Â£50 in THSH gift vouchers.