Film

 

shifting mechanism (cropped) (stage) 2  1994 Dance on the Beat WCMD 1 (orchestral) cropped dark 2  Ibi and viol (concerts) cropped with text  James Hall (vocal)2  Film and text

 

Salomé

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For further information on the background to the music and rhythmic studies, click here

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Composed for 4 percussion
Percussion 1: Cymbal (and stand); Sistra; Small Triangle; Chikitas; Small Woodlblock; Djembe; Small Floor Totm-tom; Tibetan singing bowl
Percussion 2: Cymbal (and stand); Sistra; Large Triangle; Large Maracas; Castanets; Bongos; Large Floor Tom-tom; Tibetan singing bowl
Percussion 3: Large Tam-tam; Tambourine; Claves; 4 Concert Tom-toms; Orchestral Bass Drum
Percussion 4: Large Tam-tam; Tambourine; Cabasa; 2 Cowbells; Congas; Orchestral Bass Drum

Duration: 73 minutes

Salomé website

Description
Salomé, starring the Russian-born actress Alla Nazimova, is a rarely seen artwork of film history adapted from the controversial Oscar Wilde play with an abundance of sumptuously fantastic visuals.Made in 1923, Salomé loosely follows the biblical story of King Herod and his desire for his young stepdaughter. It is Salomé’s desire for Jokanaan (John the Baptist) that causes her to dance before Herod….Inspired by the sounds of traditional Arabian ensembles, Charlie Barber’s score is performed by four percussionists against a backdrop of pre-recorded vocal settings of psalms sung in Latin and Hebrew.

First performance at New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth on 10 October 2009
with percussionists Nick Baron, James Hulme, Alun Hathaway, Dave Danford

Press
“Nazimova and her art director, Natacha Rambova, emulated the Aubrey Beardsley illustrations in the first edition of the play, and the result is highly stylised and ornately camp. Eighty-six years on, Barber’s new music for the restored film fosters a new appreciation of the work’s arthouse values.

Inspired by traditional Arabic percussion ensemble, Barber uses a vast range of instruments, including the metal-framed Egyptian sistrum and the African Djembe drum. Modern scaffolding towers house four percussionists either side of a projection screen, whose complex rhythmic pulses combine with recorded tracks of Psalm settings, sung in Hebrew and Latin, to create an evocative soundscape that mirrors Rambova’s exotic costumes and Salomé’s erotic allure. Barber’s score complements the melodrama without competing with it: Salomé’s necrophiliac kiss is veiled by a silk drape and, similarly, the most striking moments are those when Barber’s textures are at their most sparing. It says much that the hour and a quarter flies by in half the time.”
Rian Evans, The Guardian, 3 November 2009

“Charlie Barber’s incredible new score for the 1923 film version of Wilde’s Salomé continually hammers home the decadence and violence of its theme…The music is often relentless, its interludes of calm steamy and prescient.”
Nigel Jarrett, South Wales Argus, 4 November 2009

“This is a luxuriant hour and a quarter, watching a 1923 film that, to a modern eye, is fascinating and quite remarkable with the added interest of contemporary music. Composer Charlie Barber’s new score for this 89-year-old masterpiece performed by the ensemble Sound Affairs sounds so perfect for the task that it is difficult to now imagine the film without it. The score for the now legendary silent film Salomé starring Alla Nazimova – who near bankrupted herself by financing what proved just too challenging for its own period – is a decadent mixture of Arabic-inspired ensemble music and voices that are spiritual, mystical and evoke Oriental allure…Even now the film, so masterfully accompanied by Barber’s score, is deeply unsettling and oozes a perverse sexuality and immorality that tempts with a hypnotic power that stimulates and repels in equally measure.”
Mike Smith, WalesOnline, 5 April 2012

Seen and Heard International review

Lichfield Live review

Manchester Pride interview

10.10.09      PORTSMOUTH New Theatre Royal
14.10.09      MALVERN Forum Theatre
17.10.09      LONDON  Drill Hall
19.10.09      MILTON KEYNES  The Stables
21.10.09      PONTARDAWE  Arts Centre
22.10.09      PWLLHELI  Neuadd Dwyfor
23.10.09      HOLYHEAD  Ucheldre Centre
27.10.09      BROMSGROVE Artrix
28.10.09      LIVERPOOL   Unity Theatre
29.10.09      CHESTER Christ Church
30.10.09      BRISTOL  St Georges
03.11.09      NEWPORT  The Riverfront
07.11.09      CARMARTHEN  Lyric Theatre
12.11.09      SPALDING  South Holland Centre
13.11.09      HALESWORTH  The Cut
14.11.09      COLCHESTER  Lakeside Theatre
28.10.11      TEWKESBURY  Roses Theatre
29.10.11      MANCHESTER  Royal Northern College of Music
24.01.12      MOLD  Clwyd Theatr Cymru
25.01.12      MOLD  Clwyd Theatr Cymru
26.01.12      ABERGAVENNY Borough Theatre
27.01.12      CARDIGAN  Theatr Mwldan
09.02.12      LONDON  Purcell Room, Southbank Centre
16.02.12      LANCASTER  Nuffield Theatre
01.03.12      SWANSEA  Taliesin Arts Centre
03.03.12      BRAY Mermaid Arts Centre, Ireland
05.03.12      KILKENNY  Watergate Theatre, Ireland
07.03.12      SLIGO  Hawks Well Theatre, Ireland
08.03.12      NEWBRIDGE  Riverbank, Ireland
11.03.12      TRALEE  Siamsa Tire, Ireland
03.04.12      CARDIFF  Sherman Cymru
06.07.12      CHELTENHAM  Music Festival
09.07.12      LICHFIELD  Festival
21.07.12      BUXTON  Festival

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The Fall of the House of Usher

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music for Jean Epstein’s 1928 classic silent horror movie

picc; 2 fl; 2 ob; 3 cl; b cl; 2 a sax; t sax; b sax; 2 bsn; cbsn
3 tpt; 4 hn; 2 tbn; b tbn; 2 euph; tba
timp; 3 percussion
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duration: c. 70 minutes

Commissioned by Ty Cerdd

The Fall of the House of Usher website

Description
The Fall of the House of Usher (France 1928) is probably Jean Epstein’s best-known work in which the quality of the photography evokes comparison with the greatest masterpieces of the German cinema.For this new interpretation, Charlie Barber’s score takes as its starting point musical sketches by Debussy for an uncompleted opera – adding a further twist to the foreboding atmosphere of this classic of early cinema. 

First performance at Lyric Theatre, Carmarthen on 13 April 2012 by the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Wales and conducted by Sean O’Neill

13.04.12      CARMARTHEN Lyric Theatre
14.04.12      NEWPORT The Riverfront
15.04.12      NEATH Gwyn Hall

Rehearsals with National Youth Wind Orchestra of Wales, April 2012

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Version for soprano saxophone and string quartet

duration: c. 40 minutes

First performed by the ensemble Entr’acte at Chapter Cinema 1, Cardiff on 26 January 2002
with Simon Stewart (soprano saxophone), Jonathan Burnett (violin), Nicolas Ramirez (violin), Rachel Robson (viola), Sharon McKinley (cello)

Press
“When you watch silent movies with the right live music, you realise that it wasn’t simpy the novelty of moving pictures that brought people into the cinema in their millions. There was real drama and life in these works. Barber works with quintet Entr’acte to feed off the film’s manic obsessions and ratchet up the emotions…Images and music combine to riveting effect.”
John Harrison, The Western Mail, 31 January 2002

26.01.02         CARDIFF Chapter Cinema
01.02.02         HARLECH Theatr Ardudwy
02.02.02         FISHGUARD Theatr Gwaun
05.02.02         LAMPETER University
08.02.02         ABERGAVENNY Drama Centre

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Blood of a Poet

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Composed for four players:
ob, b cl,  vln, perc (marimba, bongos)

Duration: 50 minutes

Description
Jean Cocteau’s Le sang d’un poète (Blood of a Poet) (1930) explores the technical capabilities of film to magically transcend time, to capture creativity and to suspend physical laws. One of the true classics of the cinema and a key work of Surrealism, Cocteau’s first film is an aesthetic tour de force consisting of a series of episodes and imaginary events. The strange and disturbing images and trick photography represent Cocteau’s unique view of “the poet’s inner self”. Cocteau’s combination of visual poetry and theatrical camp makes this a rich, fascinating and enigmatic film. 

First performance at Chapter Cinema, Cardiff on 28 October 2006
with Nick Williams (oboe), Alison Lambert (bass clarinet), Aibhe Smythe (violin), Hugh Wilkinson (percussion)

28.10.06      CARDIFF  Chapter Cinema
01.11.06      CRANBROOK  Queens Hall
03.11.06      AMMANFORD  Miners Theatre
04.11.06      LEICESTER  Pheonix Arts
05.11.06      NORWICH  Arts Centre
07.11.06      LLANTWIT  St Donats Arts Centre
09.11.06      ABERYSTWYTH  Drwm, National Library of Wales
10.11.06      HOLYHEAD  Ucheldre Centre
15.11.06      PORTSMOUTH  New Theatre Royal
16.11.06      SWANSEA  Dylan Thomas Theatre
17.11.06      MOLD  Clwyd Theatr Cymru
18.11.06      SHEFFIELD  Showroom
19.11.06      BASINGSTOKE  Central Studio
02.12.06      LONDON  Barbican Cinema

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Moulin Rouge

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composed for four players:
vln, b cl, perc (marimba & bongos), DJ

duration: c. 70 minutes

Description
Made in 1928, Moulin Rouge is the story of an eternal love triangle set in the world of entertainment. Though described as “Britain’s first Superfilm”, the overall  impression is far from British. Directed by Ewald André Dupont and featuring Russian actress Olga Tschechowa, the elaborate sets and rich shadowy lighting in particular recall the contemporary German cinema.Charlie Barber’s new score – performed by four musicians and DJ – is influenced by both traditional Parisian cabaret and contemporary urban culture.

First performance at Chapter Cinema, Cardiff on 6 November 2004
with Thoby Davis (violin), Steve Moss (bass clarinet), Matthew West (percussion), DJ Jaffa

06.11.04         CARDIFF Chapter Cinema
13.11.04         HOLYHEAD Ucheldre Centre
15.11.04         EDINBURGH Filmhouse
16.11.04         GLASGOW Film Theatre
19.11.04         TREORCHY Park & Dare
20.11.04         BIRMINGHAM Midlands Arts Centre
21.11.04         NOTTINGHAM Broadway Cinema
23.11.04         PONTARDAWE Arts Centre
24.11.04         ABERYSTWYTH National Library 
25.11.04         HARLECH Theatr Ardudwy
26.11.04         COLWYN BAY Theatr Colwyn
27.11.04         SHEFFIELD Showroom
28.11.04         LONDON The Space
01.12.04         BRISTOL Cube Cinema

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Stage/Theatre Michelangelo
Orchestra Afrodisiac
Concert Salomé
Vocal Boulevard
Film BreakBeats
Blood of a Poet
Moulin Rouge
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