The Jack Curtis Dubowsky Ensemble is ready to entertain and spook on “Friday the 13” of March with an original score to the 1920 film The Golem played live at HM157 in Lincoln Heights. During our interview Dubowsky is entertaining, good humored, informative and intellectually intriguing.
When asked how the compositional process for this project compares with other projects in which he has participated, Dubowsky answers with depth and vigor, “The Golem is longer (100 minutes) and more conventionally narrative than a lot of our other projects. So it has a lot more ‘cues’ than say, Current Events (2013) or How I Got To Long Beach (2014). So it’s more structured. Because it’s silent but has few inter-titles, the music needs to indicate quite a bit. We also can do interesting things… the ‘secret word,’ ‘Aemaet’ or ‘Truth,’ can also be woven into the synagogue prayers, for example. Miriam has two love interests, but we have only one love theme; this simplifies things but also draws a connection between her two suitors, who are both sort of young, naïve, and not entirely all there.”
Dubowsky continues, “The compositional process for film is structurally consistent whether you’re doing an experimental film, like Jean Genet’s Chant D’Amour, or something traditionally narrative, like The Golem. The film needs to be broken down into ‘cues,’ or smaller sections of music; the film creates the structure for the composition”.
He adds, “But a difference with The Golem might be that because the music needs to indicate the narrative – to explain or confirm locations or characters and their motivations, for example – it might be a little more tailored to that purpose. Some of the projects we’ve done, the music could really expand on an avant-garde tip, with asynchronous rhythms, synthesized sound, and contemporary effects, and you’ll get some of those here as well, but we are really going to follow the film, so it plays properly to the audience.
The subject of “Friday the 13” comes up, as it is the date of the performance. Dubowsky declares that the special date helped inspire the project of creating an original score to The Golem. He explains, “We were looking at dates, and noticed that there was a Friday the 13 in March. So we thought, that’s a great date, let’s do that. Then the natural thing to do was, let’s do a public domain, silent horror film, to celebrate Friday the 13 […]. So The Golem seemed like a great film to do; it has depth and complexity, and people have heard of it, without being too familiar with it.”
Dubowsky predicts the outdoor experience will be “spooky” and “expressionist.” He advises, “Wear a crazy hat!”