Neil Brand – The Silent Pianist Speaks (image 1)

A thoroughly 'revisionist' history of silent film accompaniment... an hour of genuine entertainment as well as enlightenment.

Bill Dunlop, Edinburgh Guide

Screened as part of NZIFF 2009

Neil Brand – The Silent Pianist Speaks 

Directed by Neil Brand

British composer and performer Neil Brand discusses and demonstrates the art of improvised accompaniment to silent film. A funny, illuminating and entertainingly interactive show.

In English
60 minutes


Neil Brand composes music for cinema, theatre and UK TV. He scored – with theremin – the haunted house classic The Cat and the Canary. Actor, writer and teacher, he is also one of the finest exponents of improvised silent film accompaniment in the world. It's that particular talent that he discusses and demonstrates in this funny, illuminating and entertainingly interactive show which he originally devised for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It's a great primer on the ways music can direct our responses, but even seasoned musicians-for-film stand to learn something from the way Brand responds to a movie. The show culminates in a performance for footage he hasn't seen, with him talking through the scoring process as he plays and struggles to make some sense of the film. His enthusiastic, generous and laconically unpretentious introduction reveals an artistry that's much more extraordinary than he appears to realise. — BG