NO TINKLING piano, no coloured lights as the cinema organ rises
into view, but a full cathedral organ to accompany the silent films
in Bradford, now part of the West Yorkshire & the
The assistant director of music at Bradford Cathedral, Jonathan
Eyre, had the idea one evening in the pub last year after a choral
evensong: why not show some of the old silent films, accompanied by
the organ, as a fund-raiser for the Organ Appeal?
The first film was the early Oliver Twist, and he has
since accompanied The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Nosferatu,
Phantom of the Opera,and Charlie Chaplin's City
Lights. He has had great support from the National Media
Museum, which has lent the equipment.
This season started with Metropolis, made in Germany in
1925, and at that time considered the most expensive film ever
released, andwill go on with Dr Jekyll and Mr
Hyde, and the Wizard of Oz.
Mr Eyre does not rehearse the music. He watches each film
several times, so that he knows the story, and then improvises
during the performances. The events are proving so popular that he
now has a considerable following. He recently had a chance to
accompany a film with a real Wurlitzer organ when he took
Oliver Twist (above) to the opening of the annual
Saltaire Festival, in the Victoria Hall, Saltaire.