The Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra will take up residency at El Lenador starting on Monday. Each week, the group will play its original score of a silent film (or three shorts in week two). Admission is free, but the Orchestra is in dire need of a new van, so donations are highly appreciated. The movies/music start at 11 p.m -- the complete lineup is:
September 5th F. W. Murnau's The Last Laugh
September 12th Buster Keaton's The High Sign, The Goat, and One Week
September 19th Sergei Eisenstein's Strike
September 26th Buster Keaton's Go West
Rats & People has been extremely judicious in performing most of these works, which is part of the reason each of its shows feels like such an occasion. Go West, the residency's finale, hasn't been performed in St. Louis in years.
For illumination on overall goal of these film scores, we defer to the Orchestra's official release on the subject:
Employing a perspective that films of the Silent Era are not dusty museum pieces but rather vital and urgently relevant works of art, the R&P MPO's compositional ethic avoids the styles that dominated early film accompaniment -- often the popular tunes of the time -- in observance of the hundred years or so of popular music that have since shaped the contemporary ear. The hope is that the realization of this compositional ethic will build toward an ultimate goal: to draw greater and more diverse audiences to the singularly strange and beautiful medium of silent film.