1928 film The Wind marked the end of an era. It was the last silent major motion picture from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the last effort by the great director Victor Sjöström, and the final silent film starring the brilliant Lillian Gish. She plays a young woman cast out from her sheltered Virginia home into the dust bowl of the Texan prairie, where an act of savagery – and the unrelenting northerly wind – pushes her mind beyond its limits.
The Wind is silent cinema at its most shockingly, primally potent, and is considered to be among the greatest ever made. At the RNCM on 25 February, it’s getting a newly commissioned soundtrack, courtesy of Scottish composer and artist Erland Cooper. Cooper’s score employs the live voice – the powerful sound of the 18 women of the Chorus of Opera North – enhanced by his own recordings and real-time processing of their performance.
Hailing from the archipelago of Orkney, the composer and multi-instrumentalist explores the natural world of landscape, memory, people and place. His sensitivity to the relationship between landscape and psychology has been a constant over the course of a diverse and collaborative career that’s taken in everything from folk and prog to field recordings and contemporary classical music. In a similar vein, director Victor Sjöström has a penchant for using the setting and landscape of his films to psychological effect, making The Wind the perfect choice for Cooper.
Cooper’s score breathes new life into the empty plains, sandstorms and intensely charged terrain, drawing out the drama, the physicality of place and the haunting poeticism of this forgotten masterpiece.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Opera North Projects in association with RNCM, are available now via the button below.
Part of the RNCM’s Spring Season.