News / Reviews

2016 in Review

For Stephen, 2016 began and ended with Stella Dallas. In January the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival commissioned him to compose a new score for the silent version of this classic story. Elizabeth-Jane Baldry, one of the UK’s leading harpists, joined him for the premiere in Bo’ness and subsequent shows in Bologna and at the Barbican. The year ended with their performance winning ‘best silent film screening with a small ensemble’ in Silent London’s annual poll.

During the year Stephen continued to travel extensively, playing at festivals in Europe, America and Asia. He composed ensemble scores for The Guns of Loos and Fritz Lang’s Destiny, which had highly acclaimed performances at the Pordenone and San Francisco silent film festivals respectively.

Two projects – one new and one revived – saw him working at opposite ends of the silent film music spectrum. July 1st marked the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, which led to him being invited on several occasions to perform the original 1916 ‘cue sheet’ score for the film of the same name. He also collaborated with the modern music group Minima, in a ‘rescore’ of Dreyer’s early sound film Vampyr. It is expected to have several further performances in 2017.

Stephen has recently recorded new music for three DVDs that will be released in 2017: Behind the Door, Varieté and The Battle of the Ancre. He also scored the silent short films included in two Britain on Film programmes from the Independent Cinema Office, currently touring the UK: Railways and Rural Life.

To usher in 2017, in the same Silent London poll mentioned earlier, Stephen was also named best solo accompanist for the third year in a row (this year sharing the honours with Elizabeth-Jane Baldry.)

Variety and Stella Dallas (performances at the Hippodrome Festival of Silent Film 2016)

“Stephen Horne is an artist who consistently raises the bar.”

Georgina Coburn (georginacoburnarts.co.uk)

THE SWALLOW AND THE TITMOUSE (PERFORMANCE WITH DIANA ROWAN AT THE 2015 SAN FRANCISCO SILENT FILM FESTIVAL)

“Stephen Horne on piano, accordion, and flute and Diana Rowan on harp provided a score that was as beautiful, natural, and perfect as the movie.”

Jason Wiener (Jason Watches Movies blog).

ALGOL (PERFORMANCE AT THE BARBICAN CINEMA)

“His performance was a blur of sensitive tonality as he switched between themes as easily as instruments: modern silent cinema’s most elegantly-innovative one-man band!”

Paul Joyce (ithankyouarthur.blogspot).

The Manxman (performance at the Empire Leicester Square / London Film Festival)

“It is very rare to hear a score for a silent film that you think of as definitive, but that really felt like the case… anything else will simply be redundant.”
Letter from Robin Baker (Head Curator, BFI National Archive).

“… we have Stephen Horne performing his lushly romantic score with the aid of a small band of musicians. Always deeply melodic… it’s good enough that I’d buy it as a piece of music in its own right, even without the pictures attached.”
(spank-the-monkey.typepad.com).

Prix de Beaute (performance at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival)

“Folks, to hear this man play the grand piano is like listening to angels sing! His score for the film was brilliant!”
Philip Castor (philsfilmadventures.blogspot).

San Francisco Silent Film Festival

“… the festival is anchored by exceptional musical accompaniment – a special bow to Stephen Horne, whose multi-instrumentalist talents were as inventive and tasteful as they were unerring in keeping pace with the material.”
Michael T. O’Toole (Film International).

Jenseits der Strasse (performance at the Pordenone silent film festival)

“… multi-instrumentalist Stephen Horne used flute, accordion, percussion and a small strung instrument like a zither, as well as piano, to move this sophisticated and often cynical audience from laughter to tears in the space of a few bars.”
Sam Edwards (stuff.co.nz/waikato-times).

San Francisco Silent Film Festival

“Stephen Horne displayed dazzling virtuosity in his accompaniment for a variety of films… creating orchestral effects with the piano soundboard and accompanying himself on flute and accordion!”
Leonard Maltin (www.leonardmaltin.com).

Il Fuoco (performance with Jill Tracy at the 2011 San Francisco Silent Film Festival)

“It’s like an Ennio Morricone score for a giallo: erotic, threatening, haunting… A perfect evocation of the drama playing out onscreen.”
Sean Axmaker (www.slantmagazine.com).

The First Born (performance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall / London Film Festival)

“It’s extraordinary how you forget that the music isn’t issuing from the picture and hasn’t always belonged to the film – a testament to the exceptional sensitivity and invention of Horne’s original score.”
Thirza Wakefield (Sight and Sound blog).

“The exquisite new score is the finishing touch in the rebirth of The First Born.”
Pamela Hutchinson (Silent London).

“… Stephen Horne whose musical support of The First Born… was nothing short of exhilarating.”
Paul Joyce (ithankyouarthur.blogspot).

“A brand new score… provided a rich, unusual compliment to the film’s many moments of romance and suspense.”
Michael Mand (permanentplastichelmet.com).

A Cottage on Dartmoor (various performances)

“Stephen Horne’s dazzling live piano accompaniment was one of the highest points in the history of Italy’s pioneering [Pordenone] silent film festival.”
Paolo Cherchi-Usai.

“Stephen Horne provides the accompaniment to this film on piano. His playing was magnificent and the score he came up with meshed perfectly with the movie. He was truly inspired with the theatre scene too.”
John Sinnott (DVDTalk.com).

“This year’s [Pordenone Silent] festival boasted what was, to my ears and eyes, one of the most felicitous marriages between film and musician I have yet witnessed: Stephen Horne’s work with Anthony Asquith’s masterpiece, A Cottage on Dartmoor.”
Jay Weissberg (sensesofcinema.com).

“Stephen Horne… played with fervor and expertise, no sheet music in front of him, his eyes fixed to the screen. Horne’s composition… seemed made for the movie, twisting and turning with hope and dread across stark landscapes to an ending you might not expect.”
Allison Brophy Champion (Culpeper Star-Exponent).

J’accuse! (performance at the Pordenone silent film festival)

“Stephen Horne managed something amazing by giving real poetry and subtlety to the whole film… the film was transformed by his playing.”
Christine Leteux.

“The film itself is powerful, but with Stephen Horne’s accompaniment it achieved the sublime.”
Rob Byrne.

The Nail in the Boot (performance at the Pordenone silent film festival)

“Talking of extraordinary things, Stephen Horne‘s music was a multi-instrumental tour de force.Some may have though that there was a… trio accompanying the film, but no, it was the one man.”
Luke McKernan (bioscopic.wordpress.com).

The Fall of the House of Usher (performance at the 2009 San Francisco Silent Film Festival)

“His work as a composer/accompanist for silent film is so exhilarating that… I would urge you to purchase tickets to hear him accompany any film whatsoever… there was no mistaking the fact that the visuals Epstein placed upon the screen had been dwarfed by the sheer magnificence of Stephen Horne’s musical score.”
George Heymont (myculturallandscape.blogspot.com).

Jujiro (performance at the 2008 San Francisco Silent Film Festival)

“Stephen Horne did an absolutely phenomenal job with the score… He started the film off playing the flute, and then added the piano in a little at a time. Yes, he was playing both the piano and a flute simultaneously, each with one hand… A bravura performance that was astonishing to experience.”
John Sinnott (DVDTalk.com).

“Pianist and Silent FIlm accompanist Stephen Horne just brought Kinugasa’s “Jujiro” (“Crossways”) to life with a stunning performance that brought out the film’s mesmerizing, experimental visual language and draining emotional content… There have been a lot of fine performances by orchestras, organists, quartets and pianists at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival this year, but this one (Horne’s third), I’ll never forget.”
Jeremy Mathews (thesamedame.com).