"The movie hadn't even begun and I was enthralled. Hoffman was a showman to boot, leaning into his instrument like a NASCAR champion stuck to the edge of his bucket on some multi-G turn. Then the movie got going. The music remained fascinating in places, with a crazy mix of citations, everything from "Thus Spake Zarathustra" to "The Munsters." Dead serious. It all gelled perfectly with the action." -Joshua Axelrad, Zeek.net
The Golem is an early cinematic
masterpiece, a wholly original tale of a monster capable of eliciting
sheer terror and incomparable compassion. Based on the Jewish myth of
a soulless clay giant created to serve and protect the Jews of 16th century
Prague, director Paul Wegener creates a beautiful and poignant version
of the myth that also inspired Mary Shelleys chill-inducing Frankenstein.
Legends of the Golem have been whispered about for centuries what
became of the monster that only wanted to be human? THE GOLEM is directed
in the visual tradition of THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI, using expressionist
sets -- without a single right angle.
Whether youre familiar with the Golem or not, youve never seen or heard anything like this before: the classic silent German expressionist film set to live music by Daniel Hoffman, and performed by DAVKA, whose original music merges klezmer and Middle Eastern styles with jazz and classical idioms. Daniel's dark, comic score is the perfect dramatic accompaniment to the 1920 film featuring Daniel on violin, Moses Sedler on cello, Kevin Mummey on Middle-Eastern percussion, and Paul Hanson on bassoon.
In contrast to conventional
science fiction with its themes of science and technology gone berserk,
the Golem, with its Kabalistic and secret oral traditions, is about the
formidable responsibility we have for creation. "Golem legends are
in no way absurd but rather part of a doctrine that is worthy of attention:
that there is in each of us a particle of Divinity." -- Jorge Luis
Daniel was no stranger to the
golem when Toronto's Ashkenaz Festival of New Yiddish Culture asked him
to compose music for the movie IN 1998. He had written tunes about Rabbi
Yehuda Lavy (also known as Rabbi Loew) and his magic clay creation. His
``Golem'' score builds on those themes, as well as Jewish liturgical and
Israeli folk music. There are also spaces for improvisation and quotes
from disparate sources such as ``Thus Spake Zarathustra'' and ``The Munsters.''
"I'm throwing in a lot
of quotes from different sources, a lot of quotes of klezmer tunes, but
just little snippets," Hoffman said, "so unless you're a real
klezhead, you wouldn't recognize them. I'm definitely having a great time
with this score.
While the film offers a fascinating
re-creation of Jewish life in medieval Prague, in many ways its view of
the past says more about the particular time and place "The Golem"
was created. Hoffman's score addresses the various dissonance's contemporary
viewers might feel watching the film.