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Cellist gives sound to silence

by: COURTESY PHOTO: WALTERS CULTURAL ARTS CENTER - To resonate with modern audiences, Freudmann uses jazz, blues and other familiar styles of music.Black-and-white silent films may seem like dinosaurs to a generation reared on Dolby sound and spectacular special effects.

But one of those dinosaurs is number 62 on the American Film Institute’s "funniest films of all time" list. And when it plays Saturday, April 6, at the Walters Cultural Arts Center, one of the best parts won’t even be the film — it will be the live musical accompaniment from internationally known cellist and composer Gideon Freudmann.

In theaters back in the 1920s, silent films were usually accompanied live by piano or organ. That would have held true for comedian Buster Keaton's 1924 "Sherlock Jr.,” a 45-minute story of a movie-theater projectionist and janitor — also studying to be a detective — who competes with a local sheik to win the heart of a pretty girl over a cheap box of chocolates.

The film has two distinctly different settings, Freudmann said — one in which “our hero” plays his “real” self (the insecure movie projectionist) and another in which he plays a debonair, ultra-confident detective. “Each calls for a distinctly different musical treatment,” he said.

current music. When scoring a film, he watches it several times, familiarizing himself with the various characters, dramatic sequence of events, and pacing of the film.

Then he develops themes that represent a particular character, setting or scenario. At exactly the right moment in the film, he’ll add a melody, chord progression or sound effect that heightens the comedy or drama.

Freudmann's first live silent-film performance was “Phantom of the Opera” for a college Halloween show in Massachusetts. It was a daunting undertaking, but fun and rewarding in the end, saidby: COURTESY PHOTO: WALTERS CULTURAL ARTS CENTER - A huge Buster Keaton fan, Gideon Freudmann says the actor is extremely expressive and has an amazing ability to say so much about the human condition with a simple look or gesture. The characters he plays are always good-hearted, tenacious and he always gets the girl. Freudmann, who still enjoys the challenge.

“Once the film starts I need to play nonstop until it's over,” he said. “It's a bit of an endurance test.”

"Sherlock Jr." begins at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Walters Cultural Arts Center, 527 E. Main St. in Hillsboro. Advance tickets are $10 for adults ($15 day of show); $5 for seniors 62 and over and children 6 to 18 ($7 day of show); and free for children under 6. For advance tickets, call 615-3485 or go to brownpapertickets.com.




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