Treasure), made in the 1920s, was Georg W Pabst's first
assignment as a film director. The film is done in late-expressionist
style. If you recall the sets for The Cabinet of Dr Caligari
you will know what to expect. There is visual distortion
of buildings and strange even sinister trompe l'oeil.
Pabst intended the film to be a parable of the times. Germany was enmeshed in inflation run rampant. Fortunes were laid waste overnight.
The plot has the hero Arno finding the treasure in the house
of the bell-founder not through magic but through calculation.
The film is of course a silent.
a full symphonic score from Deutsch. Astonishingly the score
survived the depredations of the 1940s and when German government
money permitted the restoration of the film Frank Strobel was
commissioned to revive the music as well. The as usual scholarly
and occasionally abstruse notes from CPO make the point that
the symphony is a concert work prepared by the composer and
intended to be freestanding. The composer also wrote music intended
to be played with the film. The two are not the same.
that Deutsch was a Schoenberg pupil the music here is resolutely
tonal. This is another case of a composer adopting an accessible
idiom departing from their accustomed 'concert voice'. Alwyn
and especially Frankel followed a similar pattern. While Searle
and even more so Lutyens were able to use their serial and dodecaphonic
techniques for both the film world (usually horror) and the
concert hall, these cases are very much the exception.
is in five movements. They are here termed Acts. The
first is a Mässig bewegt in which visions seems to cartwheel
and transform. The gamut is run, from grand waltzes to romantic
moonlight, from sumptuous fantasy to grotesquerie, from strangely
drifting anchorless woodwind to string ‘tendrils’ floating in
anarchic disconnection. Much use is made of an orchestral piano.
The effects are sometimes comparable with Korngold's manner
in Robin Hood and The Sea Hawk - try the start
of the second movement. Later the music becomes more doom-laden
and heavy with creepy foreboding.
strings of the orchestra are not the most opulent but the redemptive
power of the double basses and cellos can be heard at the start
of the fourth act. They play a grumbling and sharply accented
figure - a sort of pre-echo of the John Williams 'Jaws' theme.
The same figure, with its minatory rippling effect, reappears
in the finale (tr. 5). It coasts very close to the foreboding-heavy
orchestration of Bax's Second Symphony. This is again echoed
by piano, woodwind and sighing violins in the glimmering romantic
contentment at 2:20. Contentment won through adversity radiates from the final Delian pages.
was born in Vienna. He was a pupil of Schoenberg and became
the elder composer's assistant. He spent some time in Paris
in the 1920s, In 1933-35 he worked in Madrid for the Spanish
film industry. The war years were spent in service with the
French Foreign Legion. With the war over he returned to Paris
carrying the 12 tone message to new generations of music students.
I hope that there will also be recordings of Deutsch’s other
booklet for this issue includes ten stills from the film. I
do hope that there will soon be an opportunity to see this on
a case of an interesting and at times intriguingly inventive
score which rises to some impressive imaginative coups. Overall
though it does not linger in the mind but then neither does
Koechlin's Seven Stars Symphony.