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Classical Music (2002) - The Sound of Silents


  • article: The Sound of Silents
  • author(s): Richard Fawkes
  • journal: Classical Music (14/Sep/2002)
  • issue: pages 12-13
  • journal ISSN: 0961-2696
  • publisher: Rhinegold Publishing Ltd
  • keywords: British Film Institute, Budgets, Commissioned Works, Composers, Contemporary Music, Film Music, Improvisation, Music and Other Literary/Performing/Visual Arts, Pianists, Piano Music, Scores, Silent Films, Solo Instrument Music, Joby Talbot, Alfred Hitchcock



The British Film Institute is the organization charged with preserving and promoting the nation's film and television heritage. Since the first 35 years of cinema were silent, they have a large number of important and interesting silent films few people have seen. The time-honored way of screening silent films has always been to the accompaniment of improvised piano playing, but many of these works have no existing scores and no budget for music. The BFI began looking for contemporary composers whom they could commission to compose new scores for old films. Joby Talbot was commissioned to write a 90-minute score for Alfred Hitchcock's classic "The Lodger."