Andrew Downing’s ensemble Melodeon is dedicated to the accompaniment of early 20th-century silent films through original live music. The group has been a performing entity since 2004 when Andrew was commissioned to write a score for the 1929 version of Phantom of the Opera starring Lon Chaney for the Jackson Triggs Winery in the Niagara region of Ontario. Since that first performance, the group has performed Andrew’s scores for such films as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Shock, Maciste in Hell, Impossible Voyage, Alice in Wonderland, and an updated version of Phantom of the Opera with Vancouver’s Bach Choir. The group’s instrumentation of violin, cello, double bass, clarinet, bassoon, guitar, organ, trumpet and trombone with a revolving cast of players mixed with the combination of written and improvised material provides deep colours and sonic possibilities to accompany the imagery of the silent films.
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