Director F.W. Murneau’s Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans will be front and center this Sunday at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, as this 1927 silent film classic will be accompanied by a brand new score from Emmy winning composer Jeff Beal (House of Cards, The Biggest Little Farm). Grant Gershon, the Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, will serve as the conductor for Sunday’s highly anticipated world premiere.
Along with its striking visual compositions, Sunrise’s universal story of a man (George O’Brien) driven torn between his wife (Janet Gaynor) and a liberated woman in the city (Margaret Livingston) continues to strike a chord with modern day audiences. Beal, who describes himself as a “process person,” meticulously delved into the feature’s themes as he crafted the score.
“The idea of togetherness in a couple is so incredibly beautiful, but sort of baked into the seeds of that whole equation are the possibilities for it to go awry,” said Beal who previously collaborated with the Los Angeles Master Chorale on his work The Salvage Men. “I think everybody that has been in a relationship sees that unbelievable power of that love and friendship, but also that possibility for darkness. I think that was something that I was really fascinated with; the way in which romance and sexuality were really explored the best that they could through these three characters. And the way in which we sort of wrestle today with those same sides of ourselves and try to heal and express them.”
Click on the media bar to hear Beal talk about the “waking dream” aspect of Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans:
Grant Gershon’s leadership over 200 Master Chorale performances is, for lack of a better word, impressive. He illustrates that the unusual “amount of space” within Sunrise’s narrative as well as the feature’s timelessness serves as the perfect vehicle for Beal’s score as well as creating music that is driven by the “human voice.” “This classic film, the Disney Concert Hall, the Master Chorale and of course this incredible music of Jeff Beal,” added Gershon. “It’s a really compelling combination and people are finding it very intriguing. What we really hope is that from this concert event at Disney Hall that this piece with this score will have a new life and that more people will discover this film and really feel this connection between the 21st Century and early 20th Century.”
Click on the media bar to hear Gershon talk about having the Los Angeles Master Chorale being “open to discovery” as they rehearse for the upcoming performance:
Tickets for Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (December 26, 7pm at the Walt Disney Concert Hall), are available at https://lamasterchorale.org/sunrise.