Boston Pops’ “Nosferatu” screening, with eight composers and theremin

Posted on: November 4, 2015

“The night before Halloween, the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra accompanied the classic horror film ‘Nosferatu’ with a brand new score composed by eight students from the Berklee College of Music,” writes Hanaa J. Masalmeh in Tuesday’s (11/3) Harvard Crimson (Cambridge, Mass.). “While this screening of ‘Nosferatu’ revived the classic traditions of silent film, it also innovated upon the genre, using unorthodox instruments such as the theremin and a modular synthesizer.” Says one of the composers, Emily Joseph, “A lot of our scary effects come from extended techniques on all our instruments. We used horn flutters for the werewolf’s howls. We used string harmonics, and we tried to get a little bit of the ‘Psycho’ flavor into the music.” Theremin player Rob Schwinner says, “Theremin players are few and far between, so the composers can write the parts for it, but it’s not always sure if it’s going to work until you get a real theremin player there.… You have to … let the instrument speak…. What you do to make it creepier is you play with a faster vibrato … because the theremin really can be very pretty.”

Posted November 4, 2015

Pictured: On October 30, the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra and Berklee College of Music performed a live score along with a screening of “Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror.” Photo by Hilary Scott