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Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera


Carl Davis
1997




Production Credits
Original music by Carl Davis for
The Phantom of the Opera, 1925
Produced by David Gill
Recorded October 1996
19 Tracks, Total Time 66:29
Performed by City of
Prague Philharmonic
Carl Davis - Conductor
Stanislav Srp - Leader
Silva Screen Records




Christine & The Phantom Sometimes I say [a silent film score] is like a concerto for film and orchestra. One always thinks of a silent film as black and white, but in some cases they were tinted. Some were Technicolor; Phantom of the Opera (1925) had fabulous Technicolor sequences. When they have more or less worked out what the cut will be, I get a video with a timecode. In film, like music, people only exist in time. Film music is about synchronisation, sometimes in counterpoint but basically in relationship with the visual content. The important thing is you’re able to measure.

Gounod's opera Faust is central to the plot of the film. A popular favorite at the Paris Opera from the 1870s, whole sequences of it appear in Phantom of the Opera such as the opening ballet sequence, Walpurgis Night, and Marguerite's "Jewel Song," in which the singer is actually singing the text of the aria. I took care to preserve the continuity of the opera, as if there is a performance going on even when the camera is backstage.

However, Faust is not used to define the characters. The Phanton's theme works in two ways; there is a revenge motif, a minor arpeggio heard on trumpets against a background of trilling strings, and there is his need for love, an arpeggio inverted to form a plantive melody. Christine, "the focus of the Phantom's desire," needed a melody of innocence to contrast with the tormented Phantom. The third Phantom theme is his lurking presence which pervades the opera house. The appearance of the Phantom at the Ball is scored by a ground bass and emerges as a saraband. The orchestration is completed by the organ. I saw the Phantom as a frustrated composer, he is frequently seen playing on an organ in his underground chambers.

--CARL DAVIS, from the liner notes


The Phantom of the Opera "Ultimate Edition," exhibits the restored version of the film with a splendid orchestral score by British composer Carl Davis (one of several silent movie restoration scores he composed and conducted for England's Channel 4 Silents series a few years back). Davis' new score gives the old film a heightened power and a rich musical depth, not unlike James Bernard's new score for Nosferatu (1922) released in the UK by Kino – both of those scores, by the way, were released on CD by Silva Screen in 1997).



A selection of Phantom of Opera related music.

Find Phantom of the Opera on eBay

A selection of Phantom of Opera books.



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