• Joby Talbot
  • The Dying Swan (2002)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Silent film

  • pf.vn.vc
  • 49 min

Programme Note

'The Dying Swan', a score to a 1916 Russian silent film made by Yevgeny Bauer, was commissioned by the British Film Institute in 2002. One of the unsung heroes of film pioneering, Bauer's place in the history of cinema has only come to light since the 1980s after the discovery of films that had been gathering dust since his death in 1917. Not the first silent film Talbot has scored for (Hitcock's early classic 'The Lodger' was performed in Edinburgh and London in 1999; the following year in Paris), 'The Dying Swan' is intriguing because its heroine is a mute. She turns to ballet dancing after loosing out in love. She dances the famous Dying Swan (the images match Saint-Saëns' music so perfectly that Talbot retains the music, although not in the Suite) and, in so doing, fascinates an aristocratic dabbler in the arts who wants to catch the essence of death on canvas. He invites her to be an artist's model, and all is going well until her lover finds her again. She is overjoyed but, going for her final sitting, the painter is angry that her pallor of death has turned to tears of joy, and he murders her.

Nick Breckenfield 2002


The Dying Swan (suite), for piano trio: 1
The Dying Swan (suite), for piano trio: 2
The Dying Swan (suite), for piano trio: 3


  • New works for live ensemble to film
    • New works for live ensemble to film
    • Since the invention of machines that projected images onto screen in the early 1800’s, filmmakers such as Alfred Hitchcock, Dziga Vertov, Charles Chaplin and many others created silent moving pictures for presentation on theatre screens, in this golden era of cinema between 1894-1929. The genre has inspired composers from George Antheil to Joby Talbot to write new scores to accompany these silent masterpieces in the concert hall.