Newbie to Sydney, ex-PR consultant, I enjoy my music a good cup of coffee a sunny day and love my books.
The magical and enchanting world of silent movies by George Melies, was brought alive on Sunday evening at Riverside Theatre Parramatta, with the sound of music.
The Australian Transparent Quartet with composer and musician Philip Johnson at the helm so seamlessly blended jazz music with the movies that it never seemed that they were silent to begin with. The Quartet comprises of musicians such as Daryl Pratt on vibraphone, Matt MacMahon on piano, and Cameron Undy on bass and the master Philip Johnson on soprano saxophone.
George Melies along with the Lumiere brothers were directors of the earliest motion pictures. Melies made over 500 movies taking imagination to a whole new level with cinema techniques that were unheard of in that era. The project showcased some of the most popular works including some of the hand tinted movies which came alive on screen with the brilliance of music.
The evening showcased 7 movies of George Méliès starting with the Pillar of Fire - (0:37), The Melomaniac - (2:29), The Mermaid - (3:21), The Damnation of Faust - (6:09), Trip To The Moon - (10:12), The Doctor's secret - (8:55), The Merry Frolics of Satan - (14:46) and Journey Across The Impossible - (16:40), some of which were rarely seen.
The quartet began the evening on a mellow note and with each movie, the tempo of the music increased reaching a crescendo with the movies The Merry Frolics of Satan and Journey Across the Impossible. The movies featured interesting techniques of film making and quartet produced sounds such as the sounds of the wind etc which added a new effect to the movie. It was amazing to see the piano, bass and the vibraphone all take individual roles and also come together in harmony along with the saxophones guided by Philip Johnson to create classical, contemporary and jazz music.
The George Méliès Project achieves what it set out to. At no point does the music take away your attention from the movie or never is there a dull moment. The brilliance of music blends to create a smooth transition in the world of mermaids, optical illusions and the adventures of magical theatre leaving the audiences charmed, the kids absolutely loving it.
The George Méliès project first opened at Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theatre in New York City in 1997. Since then Philip Johnson and his quartet has had successful shows in Australia, Europe and the United States, with the Australian premier held at the Sydney Opera House in 2010.