My Favourite Scores – 1927


  • Metropolis
  • Gottfried Huppertz
  • Capriccio / 2011 / 77:08

By my reckoning, almost 2 hours of music was composed by Huppertz for this silent film. At the time an original score to be played by large orchestra “live” was commonplace. Huppertz composed a score full of themes and motifs, giving the main characters (e.g., Freder, Maria, Rotwang, etc) their own thematic material that is heard again and again throughout the score. There’s also a lot of what could be described as “descriptive music”, particularly ostinato patterns, that mimic the gigantic machinery that powers Metropolis, as well as organ blasts for the shift changeover hooter. Huppertz also includes various different musical styles in the score including a contemporary jazz style as well as including familiar tunes and he also makes good use of the “Dies Irae”.

The score was re-recorded for a 2001 DVD release of the film with Berndt Heller conducting the Rundfunksinfonieorchester Saarbrücken. As the movie had been extensively restored with the inclusion of a lot of recently discovered scenes, this represented a marriage of image and music as close to what was originally intended. I spent ages ripping the music off the DVD so I could listen to it away from the images (at the time there was no release of Huppertz’s score on CD). In 2010 the film was again restored and the score was again re-recorded, this time by the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Frank Strobel. On this occasion however, almost 80 minutes of music from this latter recording was released by Capriccio for us to enjoy away from the image.

The quality and variety of Huppertz’s score is as good as any score John Williams would compose for a Steven Speilberg blockbuster and should be in everyone’s collection.

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Comments

  1. I’m still slowly warming up to this score.

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