The Silent London 2011 Poll: nominations please

Greta Garbo plays piano
Greta Garbo plays piano

It’s not over yet, but 2011 has been a stonking year for silent film with live music in the UK. We’ve had orchestras, skiffle bands, sitars, string quartets and even piano accompaniment, alongside some wonderful films. As is now traditional (almost) I want  to celebrate this by asking you for your highlights of the year.

What were the standout silent film and live music shows for you in 2011? The Passion of Joan of Arc with Adrian Utley and Will Gregory’s rock score, or Voices of Light? The BBC Symphony Orchestra playing Neil Brand’s wonderful score for Underground? Stephen Horne’s London Film Festival Archive Gala performance of The First Born? Perhaps you preferred the Dodge Brother’s skiffle soundtrack for Beggars of Life or The Ghost That Never Returns. Maybe you were lucky enough to catch a live performance of Simon Fisher Turner’s experimental music for The Great White Silence, or one of many shows from last year’s winners, Minima. And let’s not forget John Garden’s tour of The Lost World or the Elysian Quartet’s reconstructed score for The Old and the New. There are, of course, far too many to mention here – you may have heard an organ score in a cathedral or museum that you liked, or a piano accompaniment in the BFI that was particularly memorable.

What I’d like to do is to collect your nominations for your favourite show in the UK this year and then I’ll be running a poll on the website in a fortnight’s time. It’s kind of like The X Factor, but not much. So, please, nominate your favourite shows in the comments below, or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter. I can’t wait to find out what you’ve chosen!


Nominations close at noon on Sunday 18 December and the poll should go live on Monday morning.

27 thoughts on “The Silent London 2011 Poll: nominations please”

  1. You’ve already mentioned it, but for me it has to be The Passion of Joan of Arc. One of the best cinema experiences of my life, let alone of the year.

      1. D’oh! Sorry, I didn’t realise there’d been two. It was the Utley-Gregory one at the QEH.

  2. Utley-Gregory Joan of Arc at Ally Pally & QEH… Dodge Brothers’ Beggars of LIfe or The First Born w Stephen Horne?! Mania at the Barbican…Pandora at Prince Charles? Can’t chose!! Joan’s the best film but First Born + Horne was such a surprise.

  3. I have a nomination for worst… but that would be rude. If Yat-Kha’s visas had been sorted out then Storm Over Asia would have tipped it (even with the recorded score from them was wonderful). I thought I Was Born But… was delightfully played at the Barbican as part of the silent film festival, and Underground was magnificent. Oh, and The Wind at the BFI, really powerful electronic score there.

  4. I was really pleased by Wonderful London of course, partly because I love London, but also for the rather jaunty tone of them. However, Beggars of Life was rather special for both the score and for the film itself, which I’d never seen before and was excellent.

  5. I nominate Neil Brand’s full orchestral score for UNDERGROUND. Not only the best this year, but the best live accompaniment I’ve ever heard.

  6. I only went to one live silent film showing this year and it was at the RFH’s screening for THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. So Carl Davis music gets my vote.

  7. I’m also going to go for The Passion of Joan of Arc, but I’ve seen it many times – this year, though, in Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin, accompanied by David Briggs’ extraordinary score played on the cathedral’s organ, was something very special. Only about twenty people attended but I’m willing to bet none of us will ever forget it.

  8. Beggars of Life and The Dodge Brothers please…Made me want to hop the Bakerloo Line home with a big bottle of moonshine with Brooksie in tow..Yee-ha !

  9. Lola’s interpretation of The Wind would have been highly acclaimed by Gish, Marion, and Sjostrom as indeed it was by the sell out audience at the BFI in 2011.
    A remarkable performance.

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