Home Dialogue with Didier The latest pioneering work of Didier Thunus-He went through
Publish2020-02-10 19:22:17    Only Poster
Title:  Being hard
Registered date: 2017-03-04
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Post number:  110
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Below is the 1922 silent movie "NOSFERATU" re-scored by Didier Thunus in 2019. 86'09". you can open here (Morricone Fans website) or open YouTube to see original video uploaded by Didier Thunus, you are welcome to leave a message or comment there
He did the complicated work, which used to take dozens or even hundreds of people:The composer, Symphony Orchestra, Full Sound Department. He did it all by himself for more 5 months Let's all pay tribute to him
In order to introduce in detail the issues related to the re-score of the film, At my request, Didier wrote a brief article for this purpose on February 3, the first half of which is as follows:
"Nosferatu" (1922) is one of the earliest movies based on Bram Stoker’s vampire novel "Dracula" (1897), even though the name of the characters and parts of the storyline and of the locations were changed because the adaptation was not authorized. Nevertheless Stoker’s family’s attempts to destroy all existing copies made it difficult for it to have a strong following in its early years. It is only when surviving prints were re-discovered by scholars that the film grew in fame, and became one of the most celebrated movies of the German expressionism in the 1920s.
The features of Count Orlok the vampire are not exactly the ones that have been popularized by folklore and by later adaptations of Stoker’s book. His physical appearance is wiry and inelegant, however beguiling. His powers are many: telekinesis (he can close by himself the coffin in which he lies immobile doors open and close on their own…), telepathy (when he connects from the distance to Ellen or to Knock), transparency, levitation, the faculty to cross closed doors, and he has the ability to spread the plague through the swarm of rats that accompany him. Maybe ubiquity is another attribute of his, at least in his first appearance where he seems to be both the coach driver disappearing in the distance, and the host inside the castle. He sleeps in a coffin during the day because daylight would disintegrate him into dust. It is never clear what he does to his victims: he bites them apparently they fall asleep and forget about what happened, and then wake up relatively unharmed afterwards. It is different for Ellen and for the ship crew, who eventually die. But still they don’t seem to come back as vampires, unlike in traditional legends.
German composer Hans Erdmann produced an original score for the premiere of the movie, but it didn’t remain attached to the film for later screenings, due to the decoupling between image and sound at the time. Many composers have in the meantime proposed new scores, most notably James Bernard, regular composer for the Hammer production company, for a DVD release in 1997. The other artists came up with varied approaches, from improvisation to experimentation, to sound design.
I recently specialized in writing film music or assimilated, but like many beginners in the field I am a film composer without a film. If I did find ways to associate my music to the world of the fiction, by re-recording together with the Solisti e Orchestre del Cinema Italiano the score to the television series “L’isola” (2018), composed by Ennio Morricone, or by creating music for imaginary movies for the album “Cronaca di un falsario – Italian genre cinema 1967-1977” (2019), my wish is of course to apply my own music to real movies. When I wrote the piece which is now called “Bird of Death”, I immediately felt that it belonged to the universe of black-and-white horror movies.
So I decided to check the effect of applying it to the opening credits of the most illustrious of such old movies, Murnau’s “Nosferatu”. I was stunned by how well it worked. I proceeded in applying more previously composed music to other scenes, and it confirmed that there was really some kind of kinship between the images and the music. Trying the same on other movies never resulted in such a satisfactory result. So it became my new project: writing a new score to “Nosferatu”. I adapted the existing pieces to perfectly fit the scenes, and created the missing ones. This resulted in the present album and in a new version of the movie which I uploaded on Youtube.
The specificity of silent movies is that every second of it has to be scored, resulting in very long soundtracks (82 minutes in the present case). On the other hand, film scoring in general allows and even pleads for reusing ideas throughout the composition. The challenge here was to do both: propose the same ideas in different forms while not sounding too repetitive in the long run. It had to be a compromise between a unified film score and a compilation of varied and contrasting themes. In the end, my score contains up to 17 different themes, 3 of which being reused several times: “Bird of Death”, “Count Orlok’s Theme” and “That Precious Blood”. The movie (but not the album) also contains a repetition of two other pieces in exactly the same form: “Flowers for Ellen” and “The Land of the Phantoms”.
A distinctive trait of this score is the obsessiveness of several tracks (“Count Orlok’s Theme”, “Bird of Death”, “March of the Dead”, “The Mad Fugitive”…), repeating endlessly simple melodic cells, as if to express the unescapable horror of the scenes they illustrate, like a nightmare from which the protagonists cannot wake up. Even if there are a few atonal moments, the score is essentially melodic and thematic.
I always compose the music regardless of the precise timing of a scene, in order to be totally freed from technical constraints, and to only be influenced by its overall atmosphere. Then only will I modify the piece in order to suit the scene like a glove. Note that on the album, I have put some pieces in their initial structure, as opposed to the adapted one used in the movie, just because I felt they sounded better that way (like “Morning in the Castle” or “March of the Dead”).
Even if some pieces are fully orchestral (“The Journey”, “The Rats”) or piano-based (“Ellen’s Tears”, “The Medallion”), I also allowed myself to be anachronistic in many places, in order for my music to be a complete departure from the orchestral scores of Erdmann and Bernard. Therefore, rock drums, electric guitars or electronic sounds appear several times, as in “Count Orlok’s Theme” or “The Mad Fugitive”. Some sound effects have been added as well, such as the flapping sound evoking the flight of a bat in the second version of “Bird of Death” and in all versions of “That Precious Blood” (talking to the listener’s subconscious because the link between the vampire and the bat is not present in that specific movie), or the dark claustrophobic atmosphere in two versions of “That Precious Blood”. Ethnic accents are also brought in, such as the cimbalom in “The Journey” or in “Homeward Bound”, evoking the Balkans, the frantic flutes and the tribal percussions in “Count Orlok’s Theme”, as an echo to the vampire’s animalism and barbarism, or the woman voice in “Homeward Bound ”, a kind of desperate call for help from Ellen to Hutter.
The influences of Ennio Morricone on my work are inevitable, maybe less in this project though, which is far from the Maestro’s universe. Had he been asked to score this movie, it is very likely that he would have come up with a more arthouse approach, probably orchestral but essentially experimental, trying to respond to the expressionistic and heavily suggestive nature of Murnau’s film. My approach was more that of traditional film scoring, in the 1960s and 1970s sense of the term rather than in the modern one, but still very personal: I can’t think of another soundtrack that would resemble mine. I would say it is somewhere between Bernard Herrmann and Goblin, however still far away from the respective styles of those authorities in horror film music. Nevertheless I’m sure that the fans will recognize Morricone’s influence in many places. I see it in “Count Orlok’s Theme” or in the upbeat segments of “That Precious Blood”, and in the creepy way the harpsichord is used.
(The following is the explanation of each piece of music, you can listen them)
1. Bird of Death version 1 - Intro 1:31
The opening credits announce the tragedy that is awaiting the small city of Wi**org. The theme is a blending of orchestral and modern music, ominous and upsetting. Its title comes from the name that is given to Count Orlok in the inserts: the “deathbird”.
2. Flowers for Ellen 2:56
Hutter picks up flowers in his garden to offer to his wife. The music is peaceful but melancholic, because it is already perceived in the attitudes of the lovers that they can sense some upcoming trouble.
3. Count Orlok's Theme version 1 – The House 2:51
Knock, a real estate agent and Hutter’s boss, discovers a letter from some Count Orlok wishing to buy a property in Wi**org. He asks Hutter to go and meet the potential buyer in his castle in Transylvania. The haunting theme of Count Orlok appears for the first time, not yet fully developed.
4. Ellen's Tears 3:18
Upon hearing the news, Ellen is heartbroken. The music is now openly sad and ill-fated. (This piece was published by EverKent as “Giulia sulla barca” on its debut album “Bridge of Illusions”.)
5. Bird of Death version 2 – The Inn 4:19
The main theme returns as Hutter heads east and settles to spend the night in an inn. The bat flight sound effect appears to foretell the closeness of the vampireexpress that we are entering the vampire’s territory.
6. The Journey 3:46
Hutter and his escort cross mountains and bridges until his companions refuse to go any further, knowing what is awaiting the travellers beyond this point. The music is lively and energetic, to reflect Hutter’s state of mind, still oblivious of the danger.
7. The Land of the Phantoms 4:05
Hutter continues on his own, and is picked up by another stagecoach, driven by a weird individual. A feeling of fear now takes hold of him. He arrives at the castle and is welcomewelcomed by the shady silhouette of Count Orlok.
8. That Precious Blood version 1 – The Castle 2:38
Inside the castle, Hutter is very much disturbed by the atmosphere of the place and the attitude of his host. When he inadvertently injures his finger, Count Orlok reaches for the precious blood that starts running. This experimental piece of music conveys a sense of oppression and unbearable tension.
9. Morning in the Castle 4:30
Unaware of what has happened to him, Hutter wakes up alone in the castle. Traces of a bite in his neck are soon forgotten when he sees that a copious breakfast has been served for him. He later goes outside to write a letter to Ellen. The music is joyful and upbeat, reflecting Hutter’s regained confidence, and providing the audience with some relief after the increasing uneasiness provoked by the previous scenes.
10. The Medallion 3:18
However as soon as night falls, the evil thoughts come back, especially when Count Orlok shows unwholesome interest in a picture of Ellen on Hutter’s medallion. The piano is reminiscent of Ellen’s character, but this time the melody is uncertain and disheartened.
11. Count Orlok's Theme version 2 – The Bite 4:31
Hutter finds himself prisoner of Orlok, unable to escape the latter’s second assault. Miles away, Ellen feels the danger and alerts her caretakers. The Count’s theme now appears in its full redoubtable version.
12. That Precious Blood version 2 – The Coffins 2:54
The morning after, Hutter discovers the coffin in which Orlok sleeps. He finds a way to escape, terrorised and injured, as the Count himself embarks on a journey: coffins, including his own, are loaded on a carriage and later on a raft. The music is frantic and confused, echoing Hutter’s distressed state of mind.
13. The Recovery 4:37
Hutter has been picked up and brought to a hospital where he recovers from his wounds. The music takes the form of an adagio accompanying the tormented man in his healing.
14. The Mad Patient 2:41
Knock’s attitude prompted the doctors to intern him. He got hysteric and out of control, announcing the venue of his “master”. The music is quirky and offbeat, to illustrate the strange conduct of the mad man.
15. The Solitude of the Dunes 4:34
Ellen spends her time desperately waiting for Hutter alone on the beach. Her friends try to cheer her up as she receives a letter from her beloved, bringing some new light into her life. The music appears less tormented in order to underscore Ellen’s newrenewed hope.
16. Homeward Bound 3:27
Hutter has recovered and realized he has to hurry up in order to be back home before Orlok finds his wife. The latter has embarked on a boat, whereas the former starts a long journey on horseback. The first news reports about a plague epidemic are issued. The music conveys a sense of adventure doomed by inescapable danger and the imminence of a human tragedy.
17. The Rats 3:33
After decimating the whole crew of the ship, Orlok has arrived in Wi**org and searches for his new house. He is accompanied by rats that will start spreading through the city. Hutter manages to reach his house the same evening. The music tries to convey the joy of the reunion as well as the rising menace.
18. The Plague 4:03
Local authorities identify the risk of a plague epidemic and summon the citizens to lock themselves up inside their houses. The rhythmic and persisting music accompanies the investigations and then the announcements to the population.
19. Bird of Death version 3 – Theme from Nosferatu 3:31
However the victims start to appear. In spite of Hutter’s return, Ellen’s unease grows every day as she feels Count Orlok’s presence and the spell cast at her by him. The scene lets the “Bird of Death” theme develop in its entirety.
20. March of the Dead 4:16
The city is in the grip of the disease as the body count rises. The music turns into a slow and ominous march as coffins are being transported through the streets.
21. The Mad Fugitive 3:15
The population is looking for a scapegoat and chases Knock as he runs through the city after escaping. The whole city has gone crazy and the wild music underlines this collective madness.
22. That Precious Blood version 3 – The Doom 2:56
Ellen cannot hold it anymore and decides to offer herself to the vampire. She asks Hutter to fetch a doctor and sends a signal to Orlok. The “Precious Blood” theme returns as the Count sets to taste Ellen’s.
23. Count Orlok's Theme version 3 – Finale 4:36
Dominated by his impulses, Orlok is too busy to realize that the sun is rising. He goes up in smoke. Hutter and the doctor arrive too late: Ellen dies in her hu**and’s arms. The movie ends, revealing that these final events have put an end to the plague epidemic.

Click here to download all 23 OST 106M

If you want to communicate with Didier Thunus on any question (message, comment, question, etc.), you are welcome to leave a message in this column “Dialogue with Didier”
Last updated on 2020-02-22 19:35:26
Publish in2020-03-07 19:01:151Floor
Title:  Newcomer
Registered date: 2020-03-07
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I would just like to say, this work, it's really a masterpiece.
When I heard the first time the "bird of death", I got goose bumps.
At that moment, I listened to the music only to feel the style of the music itself first.
And I was drawn into a world with creepy and weird charm immediately, exactly the impression that a vampire shall bring to us :-) I’d like to compare this with the "morning in the castle" here. Both pieces are composed with repeated sections at the beginning, but they bring to the audience totally different feelings, one is so bloodcurdling while the other is so joyful, with several notes, simple yet effective.
My second favorite music in this album is the “plague” (not saying that the rest are not attractive to me, they do, but I have to select some examples to elaborate how I love these pieces). Always a fan to the music with strong rhythm. And in this music, the musician integrate creatively some sound effects (by human perhaps?) into the music, which makes it become a quite interesting piece.
Then I watch the movie with the new OST. They match the movie so well.
Though I know the musics are good, you can only tell how it suitable for the movie when you actually play them together. I need to highlight that some modern elements like electronic, rocks are used in the music. However, there’s no inharmonious at all. By contrast, electronic enhance the theme of creepy and weird of this movie, and rock brings the power to the music and so show the brave of the hero and heroine.
It’s really a successful try. Thanks so much the hard work of the musician so that I have the chance to enjoy his works and meantime get to know a very classical movie.
Publish in2020-03-08 21:57:572Floor
Title:  Being hard
Registered date: 2017-03-04
User Group: Admin
Post number:  110
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Rebeccaloi15,welcome to your latest comments.As you said: "It’s really a successful try. Thanks so much the hard work of the musician so that I have the chance to enjoy his works and meantime get to know a very classical movie. " Hope to have more friends to participate in the discussion and improve together
Publish in2020-03-10 04:41:253Floor
Title:  Newcomer
Registered date: 2017-03-11
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Thank you so much Rebeccaloi15 for your kind words. It is such a great feeling to be able to provide such emotions to people. The impressions you describe are indeed what I was trying to create.
There is no human intervention, it's only virtual instruments - although many of them are sampled, meaning that it is indeed a human being who played all the possible notes and articulations on the instrument, and these were then put in a library for use in any order, in any melody.
Thank you for having listened to my music and for having taken the time to write about it.
Wishing you all the best.

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