Lang’s film is epic and expressionist at the same time [...]. Matalon’s accompanying music, interpreted by Roth and the Ensemble Modern with remarkable accuracy and eloquence, is [...] expressive, extremely rhythmical and rhapsodic.

Jürgen Otten, Frankfurter Rundschau


Musik zum Stummfilmklassiker von Martin Matalón

The expressionist silent movie ›Metropolis‹, created by Fritz Lang in 1925/27, shows life in a large futuristic city with a pronounced class division between the upper and lower class; it is considered an icon of film history. First screened on January 10, 1927, the almost three-hour premiere version was rejected by reviewers and audience alike, so a shortened version was released in Germany a few months later. Approximately a quarter of the original material went missing. Since 1961 there have been repeated attempts to restore the original version; in the 2001 reconstruction, freeze frames and text commentary replaced material still missing. Thanks to a copy found in Buenos Aires in 2008, it was possible to fill the previous gaps. The restored version of the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation was screened at the Berlinale in Berlin on February 12, 2010 and, with support from the Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain, simultaneously at the Alte Oper Frankfurt.

The Argentinean composer Martin Matalon composed a new soundtrack for ›Metropolis‹ in 1995, commissioned by the IRCAM Centre Pompidou in Paris. The result is extremely colourful music that never denies its affinity for jazz, using the rhythmic structure of the film to create a contrapuntal interplay between images and sounds. After the reconstruction of the film’s original version, Matalon returned to ›Metropolis‹ once again and adapted his score for the 2010 film version. This reworking was commissioned by Ensemble Modern and was made possible by the Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain. It is a co-production with GRAME centre national de création musicale Lyon. (The electronic pre-recordings were created by IRCAM / GRAME: Christophe de Coudenhove, Atau Tanaka, Max Bruckert.)