Nosferatu Symphony of Horror was made in 1922 in Germany by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau. It is said to be the first horror in the history of the cinema and one of the greatest pieces of German expressionism. The script was developed in a form of loose adaptation of a well-known novel Dracula by Bram Stoker.
Just after the premiere, the widow of Stoker’s filed a lawsuit against illegal exploitation of her husband’s novel. The court ordered the producers to pay compensation and destroy all copies of the film. Nosferatu, however, survived! A few incomplete copies survived abroad, one from which is available today in the form of Public Domain. In 1995 the movie was put on the prestigious Vatican List of movies that popularize special religious moral or artistic values.
Classic silent screen movies were played only with a backup of a pianist, at times an orchestra. Even if the music was written specifically for a movie, it was not the one we know today as a soundtrack. Hence this shape of film music is not attractive enough for a wider audience. An average viewer is used to the film score which supports narration of the picture and immediately feels its absence.
New music for the new, reassembled version of the Nosferatu Symphony of Horror supports the picture in a way that has accustomed us to large, contemporary cinema. At any time, it perfectly corresponds with the image and strengthens the message of each scene. However, there is no classic soundtrack based on ambient sounds, actions and dialogues because the silent cinema does not use them. That is why epic music accompanies the picture throughout the entire duration of the film, unlike in today’s cinema only at selected moments.
The author of the music, Milan Rabij used a wide variety of sounds. From a sleepy, almost unreal piano, through a symphony orchestra and a huge number of various percussion instruments aided by programmable modular synthesizers. A piece of material was created that perfectly strengthens the film’s message, but it also functions perfectly as an autonomous musical work.