The Wordless Music Orchestra, the New York-based in-house ensemble of the Wordless Music Series, who collaborate with artists across many genres. Since their inception in 2006, they have performed with acts as varied as Arvo Pärt, Tyondai Braxton, John Cale, and William Basinski. “At the moment,” New Yorker music critic Alex Ross wrote, “there is no more inventive music series in New York.”
A live performance of the score to “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” the celebrated 2012 film directed by Benh Zeitlin and composed by Dan Romer. “Originally the film, because it was an independent, fairly low-budget production, a lot of the music you hear in the score was essentially small groups of musicians — four, six, eight people — who are miked very closely and whose instruments are being made to sound like a much bigger orchestra through studio manipulation,” Wordless founder and producer Ronan Givony told ARTINFO in a phone conversation. “For these performances, it’s the first time the music is allowed to breathe and develop with a much larger ensemble.”
The group will perform to a new cut of the film with only dialogue and sound effects, so the orchestra is not playing over itself. But the music will not be a carbon copy of the original. “A lot of the original film was essentially improvised. They were not really written out or notated in the way a more conventional composer might,” Givony said. “So it’s certainly a piece of music that existed, but the form it will take for the shows will be a new thing and will be a pleasant surprise for a lot of people.”
Thursday, August 8, at 8 p.m. (UPDATE: Due to possible severe weather conditions, the performance has been postponed until Sunday, August 11.)
Prospect Park, as part of Celebrate Brooklyn, a summer-long festival that offers free, outdoor cultural events. The program was created in 1979 to bolster the then staggering performing arts scene in Brooklyn. Now, they need no help, as the events regularly attract thousands of people.
“The film obviously stands on its own. It’s a classic movie and it’s something people will be watching for a long time,” Givony said. “Typically, when an audience sees an orchestra or band accompany a film, it’s almost always movies from the ’20s and the ’30s, and it’s always the same suspects — Buster Keaton, “The Passion of Joan d’Arc,” “The Man with the Movie Camera,” all that.
“We love those movies too, but the impetus of this project was to work with something contemporary, let’s work with a young director, and a young composer. It’s inevitably going to be a different thing hearing a soundtrack embedded in a movie versus a 20-piece band. Musically, and cinematically, and being able to watch it in public, outdoors — we were really knocked out at the invitation to do it.”