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Vampyr was based on two stories from J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s collection In a Glass Darkly. It was Carl Th. Dreyer’s first production after his Passion of Joan of Arc in 1928 – and his first sound film. Originally conceived as a silent film, the film uses many elements of the silent era such as title cards to explain and narrate the story. Vampyr offers a sensual immediacy that few, if any, works of cinema can claim to match. Dreyer leads the viewer, as though guided in a trance, through a realm akin to a waking-dream.
This new score is a collaboration between Minima and the internationally renowned silent film pianist Stephen Horne.
Minima are a four-piece group who have specialised in silent film accompaniment since 2006. Their instrumentation includes cello, double bass, classical and electric guitars, mandolin, autoharp, dulcimer, synthesizer, drum kit and assorted percussion.
Stephen Horne has long been considered one of the leading silent film accompanists. Based at London’s BFI Southbank, he plays at all the major UK venues such as the Barbican Centre and the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Principally a pianist, he incorporates flute, accordion and keyboards into his performances.
Vampyr is a film of superimposed worlds: the score crosses musical boundaries, moving between Classical and modern, and between acoustic and electronic, featuring unusual effect treatments to a number of the instruments. The film bridges the eras of silent and sound films, with the story itself positioned in a zone somewhere between reality and the supernatural.