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  • SHSI Editors
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    Message 1 of 1 , May 9, 2016

      Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

      Begin forwarded message:

      On Saturday, May 7, 2016, 03:07, Donald Sosin <dsosin@...> wrote:

      Hi, I’m a friend and colleague of Russell Merritt, whom you may know through the international Sherlock community…I’m writing to Sherlock fans around the world to let you know about a project that needs your help. If you know of anyone who might be interested, I would be very grateful if you would forward this. Thanks so much!

      Last year the San Francisco Silent Film Festival commissioned me to create a score for the American repremiere of William Gillette’s Sherlock Holmes (1916) for four of us San Fran regulars to perform in May 2015. I wrote themes for all the characters and made a very detailed cue sheet of every action in the two-hour film, and the sold-out performance at the Castro Theatre was a rousing success. The film, as you know, was recent discovered by the Cinematheque Française and loving restored by Rob Byrne, president of the SFSFF. But until now the film  has never been accompanied by a symphony orchestra. That is what Odessa would like me to do: turn the few pages of notes and themes into a full-fledged orchestral score. The film really deserves no less. I feel very privileged to have been given the opportunity. I have read Sherlock and discussed him with my friends and family since my high school days in the early 1960’s, and this is a thrilling invitation.

      I have already exchanged emails and had a Skype call with the festival director and program director, speaking in English, French and my pidgin Russian. They are lovely young people who work very hard to make this a cultural showpiece in Ukraine. The festival brings a great amount of people and economic vitality to the city. Last year 100  films were screened from 30 countries, 120,000 people attended, including 800 accredited press. The open air silent film screenings are held right on the Odessa steps, which seat 15,000, and are free to the public. Past screenings have featured Potemkin (of course), Metropolis,  and City Lights.  Festival passes are a nominal $30. and the American Embassy in Kiev has expressed interest in covering our hotel, and plane fare from Bologna, where we’ll be just before th rehearsals and performance on July 16. The festival has offered a satisfactory fee to cover the time I will spend composing a piano reduction of the score. Then it must be orchestrated for 40-60 players.

      Orchestrating 115 minutes of music, more than twice the length of most feature film scores, is a massive task. I have asked my longtime friend and colleague Peter Breiner do the work, as he is much faster and more experienced with writing for large orchestras than I. In February he did wonderful orchestrations for my score for Chaplin’s The Pawnshop, which premiered at Brown University’s touring Cinema Ritrovato program on March 15 along with two other Chaplin scores of mine.  Peter has arranged, produced, or played on 180 CDs on the Naxos label of everything under the sun, from his famous Beatles concerti in Baroque style, to his own classical and jazz material, to huge orchestrations of Tschaikowsky, Moussorgsky and Janacek.  He has conducted his charts with the Royal Philharmonic, the New Zealand Symphony, and many others. He is also one of the kindest, most talented, dedicated and grossly underpaid musicians I know. You can hear his work at peterbreiner.com

      We first met in Bratislava in 1983 through another dear longtime friend, composer William Perry, and we became best friends over the years, writing when we could, and talking after he moved to Toronto. I helped him with his green card papers when he decided to move to New York, where he has lived for the past nine years. He has arranged and conducted other scores of mine just for fun. This time I want him to be appropriately compensated for his brilliant work.  I may do some of the arranging myself, but already have committed to orchestrate The High Sign for Bologna in late June, so my time is rather limited. I don’t want to let this opportunity slip away.

      Peter has agreed to do this gigantic job for $20,000,  which is extremely reasonable. There is a worldwide audience for this film, but not many people have seen it; there have only been a few screenings in the US and Europe.

      Sherlock will be the first feature film—silent or sound—for which I will have a full orchestral score. Aside from possible further performance opportunities, which I will certainly explore, having this amount of orchestral music would be a huge step up in my career, and would be a powerful calling card to attract contemporary filmmakers and producers who always want to hear a finished product when looking for composers.

      Please give this some thought and share any ideas you might have about how to realize this goal. I have started writing the music and am giving it to Peter as soon as each cue is done. We will finish by mid-June when rehearsals are to start in Odessa. Please visit the Indiegogo campaign above to see clips from the film, hear some of the music, and contribute anything you can. I am so grateful to all of you who are supporting this endeavor.

      Many thanks for all your support, and have a wonderful spring!

      Best wishes,

      SHERLOCK HOLMES (1916)  https://vimeo.com/137523542      password elementary     US premiere at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival May 2015   

      Donald Sosin
      Lakeville CT

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