Pipeworks Festival 2019
WEDNESDAY 19 JUNE
Nosferatu with organ score improvised by Rónán Murray
9pm | Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
The 2019 Festival opens at twilight and in Gothic surroundings with a late-evening screening of the 1922 silent film Nosferatu, F. W. Murnau’s celebrated expressionist retelling of the Dracula story. The musical accompaniment to this masterpiece of silent cinema will be created in the moment by Rónán Murray on the cathedral’s mighty 1902 Willis organ.
Tickets €15 / €10 concessions
Please note that we cannot take card payments at the door.
St Patrick's Close
A native of Dublin, Rónán Murray was born into a musical family and is a third generation organist and pianist. Having studied organ under Peter Sweeney at the DIT Conservatory of Music, he was awarded associateships of The Royal College of Organists and Trinity College London. Rónán is titular organist of St. Joseph's church, Glasthule, where he presides over one of the country's finest instruments. Past performances include engagements in such venues as St. Sulpice, Paris, Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, St. John's Cathedral, Newfoundland, and Lodz Cathedral, Poland. 2015 saw Rónán performing in Galway Cathedral as part of their summer recital series. Rónán is very active as a freelance organist, pianist and accompanist, and composes music ranging from organ and choral pieces to contemporary songs. He also works in musical theatre. With an especial love for improvisation, he plays music in almost any genre and has in recent years created improvised scores to accompany silent movies, including the Murnau classic "Nosferatu”, which have proven especially popular with audiences, opening up the organ to many new listeners. In November 2018, Rónán was invited to play the organ for the inauguration of the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, in Dublin Castle. Rónán has advised on organ building projects, notably the recent restorative work and tonal expansion of the organ in Glasthule church carried out by Trevor Crowe, and tonal additions to the Kenneth Jones organ in Blackrock College chapel, also carried out by Trevor Crowe.
The greatest horror film of all! A long time ago in middle Europe, a decrepit, forbidding castle stood. Casting an ominous shadow over the townspeople who dare not look upon it, the unholy dwelling is home to one Count Orlok (Max Schreck), an undead night creature with a taste for human blood. Showcasing the extremely eerie Schreck, “Nosferatu” is the first screen adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic novel “Dracula,” stylistically directed by the legendary F.W. Murnau.
Once called “the greatest poet the screen has ever known” by French film theorist and director Alexandre Astruc, German director F.W. Murnau did more than any of his contemporaries to liberate the cinema from theatrical and literary conventions, achieving a seamless narrative fluency by freeing the camera to discover varied perspectives in the medium’s fledgling stages. Criticized for facile, underdeveloped characters, Murnau was more a painter than a novelist, his art more concerned with mood and rhythm than whether his characters were dimensional. He was a master chiaroscurist, brilliantly orchestrating a world moving between lightness and shadows, exemplified by the great “Nosferatu” (1922), an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and his most famous film. Though nine of his 21 films were lost to the sands of time, Murnau was still able to cast a great shadow over cinema history, rejecting the rigid expressionism prevailing in Germany. Rather than obsessing over angles for a fixed camera, he made his camera soar, particularly in “The Last Laugh” (1924), arguably his most fully realized picture. Murnau gained international prominence because of that film and his equally innovative adaptation of “Faust” (1926), which prompted a move to Hollywood. There he directed the great “Sunrise” (1927), deemed the most beautiful movie ever made. Having won the first Academy Award for Best Picture, Murnau seemed assured of long success in Hollywood. But his untimely death in 1931 just prior to his biggest box office success, “Tabu” (1931), cut short his promise. Still, Murnau’s innovative skill with the moving camera helped write the language of modern cinema.