Numerous film scores pay tribute to Philip Glass’s creative talents, not least this evening’s black and white film, Dracula from 1931.
A gravelly continuous background sound unfortunately added to the continuous, repetitive music undertow, producing a canned sound from the splendid Kronos Quartet, with Philip Glass on keyboards and Michael Riesman keeping a steady pulse from his personal keyboard as participant and conductor.
Many spoken contributions were totally indistinct and blurry, adding to confusion with the somewhat disjointed tale of vampires, madness and eerie unexplained comings and goings. Surtitles would have been an enormous help, while it was never clear why Mr Enfield, the innocent visitor to Castle Dracula, eventually found himself in a sanatorium (accompanied by pizzicato light relief music as he slowly went crazy) with staring eyes and weird incantations. Dracula himself had many entries: unmoving, silent and other-worldly, haunting the heroine and taking just enough blood to stir the curiosity, but no real visual proof of the deed. Filming was imaginative and fascinating with massive sets, plenty of swirling mists, armadillos, rats, skeletal creeping hands, inevitable coffins and beautiful young ladies confusing the disjointed tale.
Glass’s music was minimally repetitive, mostly around the same key and subtly haunting the brain. Little expression or change of dynamics mesmerised listeners who admired the musicians for their dogged persistence and ability to keep on track in such mind-numbing circumstances.