This evening BBC World Service radio is broadcasting an item on the Pordenone music masterclasses as part of its On Screen film programme. Every year at the Giornate del Cinema Muto there are masterclasses held on the art of accompanying silent films, in which aspiring silent film musicians work all week with the established musicians who accompany the films during the festival, with audience. It has become one of the most popular features of the festival.
The World Service programme was recorded during the festival, and features Pordenone regulars Donald Sosin, John Sweeney, Gabriel Thibaudeau and Neil Brand. The programme is being broadcast today, Wednesday 14 November at (GMT) 09.30, 19.30 and 23.30 and tomorrow at 02.30. It will then remain available online for a week. The item is 20mins into the 27mins programme.
It’s an encouraging item about the general rise in the popularity of silent cinema of late, and its affirmative tone is in marked contrast to the snide attitude revealed by that recent Today broadcast. I particularly like John Sweeney contrasting silent cinema with sound, arguing that the latter offers no sense of surprise, but the latter’s liveness is like going to the theatre – “if you weren’t there, you missed it”.