Hämmerklavier XVI

Moritz Eggert

prepared piano

In 2003 I was commissioned by the Stuttgart “ECLAT” contemporary music festival to create live music for a short film by the experimental German filmmaker Jochen Kuhn. I selected one of his less typical films, Der Höllenfranz (Hellish Franz), as this was the only film that didn’t have a narrator’s voiceover.

Hellish Franz pretends to be an old-fashioned black and white silent film, even though it was filmed in the 80’s. The whole approach is that of “cheap” filmmaking and ludi-crous acting, reminiscent of old melodramas. The resulting film is, of course, very tongue-in-cheek but also mysterious in a way, as there are many details which have a Twilight-Zone-ish appeal, or get noticed only after a 4th or 5th viewing.

I completely replaced the original music with a performance which was inspired mostly by the “audience participation” phenomenon of the Rocky Horror Picture Show and the old art of “noise making” for silent films, which consisted of “mickey-mousing” the sounds with replacement sounds before the invention of the audio track.

The music is as strictly organised and abstracted as the film itself, using a pre-defined array of gestures and sounds that corresponds to certain objects and visuals in the film. For foreign performances the pianist also has to translate aloud the few text titles in the film.

Moritz Eggert, 2006 [ii-07]