REFLEKTOR2


ORIGINAL MUSIC INSPIRED BY JAZZ, SILENT FILM AND EUROPEAN FOLK

KOPINSKI AND ILIFFE REFLECT UPON THE VISUAL WORLD AND SENSATIONS OF TIME WITH SEMI-COMPOSED IMPROVISATIONS OF JAZZ EXPRESSION AND CONTEMPORARY CLASSICAL POISE.

THEY HAVE A PARTICULAR INTEREST IN HISTORY, PLACE AND FILM OF EARLY 20TH CENTURY EUROPE AND THE IMAGE AND SOUNDS OF POLAND


Co-founders of cult-like contemporary jazz group PINSKI ZOO, they toured Europe, Poland and New York and together have recorded 14 albums and have a large repertoire of live scores to silent film. Their long musical partnership brings real depth, empathy and surprise to the music.

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REFLEKTOR2 -Live Music to Silent Film

JAN KOPINSKI AND STEVE ILIFFE PERFORM ORIGINAL COMPOSITIONS LIVE TO SILENT FILM AND VIDEO MIXES

Jan and Steve's sax and keys duo emerged from an earlier offshoot of GHOST MUSIC, performing an original repertoire of both improvised and formal compositions by both musicians, with a mixture of jazz and contemporary music.They have developed their interests in film and perform to film, including 'Nosferatu', 'Safety Last', 'BERLIN: Symphony of a Great City', 'Speedy', 'Chess Fever','The Seashell and the Clergyman'.

REFLEKTOR is now a flexible group, from duos to septets, and forms the core of Jan's music to film projects, in particular, EARTH and MIRRORS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Repertoire:
  • Speedy (dir. Wilde 1928 71 mins USA)

  • OneWeek (dir.Keaton/Cline 1920 19mins USA)

  • The High Sign (dir.Keaton/Cline 1921 21mins USA)


EARTH (ZEMLYA)

Director: ALEXANDER DOVZHENKO,(Ukraine) 1930 USSR 87 mins


Jan Kopinski's Live Soundtrack to Earth features a quartet of sax keyboards viola and narrator accompanying the 80 minute Ukranian 1930 silent film classic EARTH (ZEMLYA) by Dovzhenko , with a specially commissioned score from Jan. The film becomes enhanced by the narrative in Ukrainian and English and its dramatic feel moves from screen through the music and sense of theatre.
Earth is a beautiful film to compose music for, with its pace and suspension of time. There is also an irony in the historical and political realities of the period, in contrast to the obvious messages about Kulaks and Bolsheviks. Who actually becomes victor or victim is transcended by the sensitive portrayal of people's relationships to themselves and the land.


Still from Zemlya

"For me Zemlya transcends the obvious political messages with a beautifully intimate portrait of individual humanity in a fascinating and authentic setting. The music aims to enhance those touchingly personal feelings, family emotion, loss and hope that linger throughout the film. The near mystical landscapes and old beliefs contrasted with the solid reality of daily struggle give it a peculiar pathos. This is at the core of the music and the melody and textures seek to reflect it throughout the performance." - JK

 


JAN KOPINSKI's REFLEKTOR -
JAN KOPINSKI-saxophones STEVE ILIFFE-piano JANINA KOPINSKA-viola OKSANATYMINSKA - narration

"Kopinski has a sensitivity to visuals as reflected in other scores he's performed for silent movies. And by using his own family in the band Kopinski evokes the intimate, inexplicable bonds of family life that are integral to Dovzhenko's silent film" - Jazzwise

 


A CD recording of the soundtrack is available - featuring JAN on saxes, Janina Kopinska viola, Steve Iliffe grand piano, Stefan Kopinski bass

(click image for further details)


"The visual poetry and moving emotional content of the film's potrayal of a Ukrainian community living through what was the Soviet collectivisation project, is perfectly conveyed by Kopinski's multi-textured saxophone sound, which runs the emotional gamut from rhapsodic, almost Lloyd-like, warbling to gutsy passion.".......
Chris Parker - Jazz at Ronnie Scott's

 

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Jan Kopinski also available



BERLIN: Symphony of a Great City(Berlin, die Sinfonie einer Grosstadt)

Director: Walter Ruttmann. 1927.Germany 75mins

A dawn to dusk portrait of 1920s Berlin,combining documentary, abstract and lyrical imagery. With Karl Freund's masterly camerawork and the film's assured editing, BERLIN was hugely successful on its release, and that rarity - a film both popular and avant-garde.

The music for 'Berlin: Symphony of a Great City' follows the film's five acts with the classic genre of the daily diary of a city, established at this time by directors such as Rutmann and Vertov. Following the pace and dazzle of the editing, the music responds to the human curiosity and the wonder of how we find ourselves in this chaotic world. With a mixture of scored and improvised music Kopinski and Iliffe's REFLEKTOR moves from the rhythmic to the abstract with grace and danger.genre, BERLIN... contains moments of poetry that have seldom been equalled.The lyrical tone is set from the start with the opening shots of a dawntrain journey towards the city.

 

REFLEKTOR 2 - JAN KOPINSKI saxophones STEVE ILIFFE keyboards



NOSFERATU (Nosferatu:Ein Symphonie des Grauens)

Director: F.W.Murnau. 1922.Germany 88mins

Murnau's absolute classic and unequalled vision of the now mythical Dracula of Bram Stoker's novel. 'Nosferatu' is derived from the Greek meaning 'plague-carrier' or 'disease-ridden'. The often copied story of a bourgeois husband travelling to better himself by selling property to the exotic wilds of Transylvania, only to meet the horrors of the eerie count and of his own mind. murnau's film was also a collaboration with the enigmatic Albin Grau, who designed sets and costumes and himself was interested in the occult and was a driving force behind the film, whilst Director of photography Fritz Arno Wagner was a top cameraman from UFA and screenwriter Galeen also led the film owners (the short-lived Prana Films) to be sued by Bram Stoker's widow.This mysterious film with great expressionist stylisms is a true masterpiece of not only motion art but of allegories and metaphors of the time.Germany of 1922 suffered a volatile and extreme social climate.

Jan and Steve have worked on this version of a live soundtrack carefully and with great thought. It is perhaps one of the most popular silent films on the circuit and their scoring seeks to find resonances not only with the overt expressionism of the imagery, but to reflect the beeauty and bleakness of the Carpathian locations.This is a direct link for REFLEKTOR from jan's GHOST MUSIC work through to Earth and Berlin and peculiarly suits their improvising style.

REFLEKTOR 2 - JAN KOPINSKI saxophones STEVE ILIFFE keyboards


 

DER GOLEM (Wie er in die welt kam)

Directors PAUL WEGENER/ CARL BOESE 1920 Germany 88 mins

With its heady mixture of creeping expressionist sets, esoteric symbolism and occult themes, Wegener’s landmark film brought to the screen the Jewish legend of “Der Golem, a human like creature brought to life through the Medieval arts of Cabbalism. The mystical tale evolved from a Polish-Jewish folk story from 1600 and was later developed by German Romanticists.

Wegener’s interpretation has Rabbi Löw using cabbalistic ritual to summon the demon Asrtaroth to breathe life into a clay Golem in order to protect the Jews from the impending expulsion by The Holy Roman Emperor. The Golem saves the Jews but is uncontrollable and runs amok. Wegener’s period depiction of Jewish life in the Prague ghetto, its subjigation and persecution by the ruling Christian Emperor offers strange paradoxes, moral dilemmas, controversial depictions and sensational imagery. The setting is fantastic – created at Ufa’s Templehof studio - 16th century Prague is a maze of twisted cobblestone streets, contorted dwellings and towers lurching to the skies. Der Golem was clearly influential: cinematographer Karl Freund would later work on Metropolis(1927) and Dracula(1931). There are also direct references in the later more famous Frankenstein. But Wegener’s film combined more elements of melodrama, mysticism, fantasy and psychodrama.

REFLEKTOR 2 - JAN KOPINSKI saxophones STEVE ILIFFE keyboards


 

METROPOLIS

Director FRITZ LANG 1926 Germany 124 mins

Fritz Lang’s Metropolis was a huge film in every sense - momentous in scale and vision, it is only recently being restored to its near original running length. The film is a constant source of inspiration for filmmakers and its influence can be seen in films such as Blade Runner, Star Wars, 2001: a Space Oddysey to name a few. It set the tone for cinematic invention and visions of dystopian visions and the redemption that may lead to a utopian future.

Based on the novel by Thea Von Harbour, (Lang's wife), Metropolis is a silent film wonder, with its Orwellian, nightmarish visions of an upper world cruelly exploiting the masses of the lower world, until the conflict erupts amid scenes of revolution and fantasy whilst a robotic figure is brought to life in Rotwang's laboratory. The evangelical heroine Maria, is captured and her humannesss impressed upon the robot creation of the evil scientist. The result is a fantastic image of eroticism and menace with some truly wonderful physical acting from Brigitte Helm.Riots in the streets , huge sets, dizzying spells of mechanical invention and quasi-religious fervour permeate this remarkable film.
An absolute joy and addictive film to write music for - Reflektor perform with sweeps of melody and rhythm in a response to the film's tempo.

REFLEKTOR 2 - JAN KOPINSKI saxophones STEVE ILIFFE keyboards


 

THE SEASHELL AND THE CLERGYMAN

Director GERMAINE DULAC, 1927 France 28 mins

REFLEKTOR 2 - JAN KOPINSKI saxophones STEVE ILIFFE keyboards

Loosely based on a script by Antonin Artaud, famous for the influential Theatre of Cruelty, Dulac's film combines dream-like episodes and refererences to the subconscious, which usually places her film within the surrealist domain. It's a bizarre film full of odd symbolism and cryptic scenes that leave you puzzled and attracted at the same time.

The normal time frames and action/consequence are abandoned in favour of extended scenes that seem to refer to the state of mind of the central figure. The clergyman himself, an odd little cleric with thin body and child-like appearance, is subjected to his own fantasies and sexual desires - not quite what a cleric is supposed to do! There are 'bad dream' moments throughout the film as the cleric wrestles with his mind and the figures he is drawn to, and Dulac manages to capture that uncertainty and shifting sensation of dream. The British Board of Film Censors banned it - not, it seems, for its occasional sexual connotations, but because it was so cryptic that it was" meaningless".

REFLEKTOR 2 - JAN KOPINSKI saxophones STEVE ILIFFE keyboards


 

CHESS FEVER

Co-Directors PUDOKIN & SHPIKOVSKY, 1925 USSR 27 mins

After the Soviet embraced Chess as a Bolshevik state sport worthy of its seal of approval by virtue of its materialistic dependency upon logic, and thus classless (!), Moscow staged its first International tournament with 'celebrity' competitors in 1925. Chess Fever delves into this sport which was supposedly gripping society but deals with it in almost absurd way, with a main character reminscent of Harold LLoyd. His love for his fiancee is almost destroyed by his manic obsession with the game and the ensuing action leads both to contemplate suicide.

 

 

 

REFLEKTOR 2 - JAN KOPINSKI saxophones STEVE ILIFFE keyboards


 

SPEEDY

Director: Ted Wilde. 1928.USA 71mins

Another great classic - this time from arguably the best and most sophisticated comedian of them all, Harold LLoyd. As with Berlin (see above) cityscapes provide us with fantastic pictures in time, where New York is revealed in its 20's heyday - Manhattan ,Coney Island, Wall Street and the Yankees stadium.

LLoyd's last silent film features him as Harold "Speedy" Swift, a baseball-mad live wire who has a knack of continually losing his job. On Coney Island with his sweetheart Jane, Harold helps out her grandfather who is being bullied into selling up the last 24 hour horse-drawn trolley route to big buisness railway tycoons who will stop at nothing to get their way. Speedy takes the reins, and mad chases , daring rides and an unplanned almighty crash at Brooklyn Bridge follow.

In contrast to their interest in the intensity of the East European and German films, like Earth and Nosferatu, the daredevil comedy and pace of Harold LLoyds film is also a bit of a mad ride for REFLEKTOR. An intriguing side to these daring films is the futuristic sense of speed and tempo, which has a musical shape, against those brave new cities..

REFLEKTOR 2 - JAN KOPINSKI saxophones STEVE ILIFFE keyboards


 

SAFETY LAST

Director: F.C.Newmeyer & S. Taylor 1923 USA, 78 mins

The iconic silent daredevil comedy - Harold Lloyd turns your knees to jelly as he claws his way up the side of a 12 storey skyscraper to collect a £1000 prize and win the heart of his girl.
Small town boy comes to the city to make his fortune -he doesn't quite manage that, but sends home the impression that he has - in fact he's a salesman in The De Vore department store,(on location in LA).So impressed are his folks that his girlfriend is persuaded to join him. To keep up the pretense of having the dollars, the Boy takes up the challenge to create a fantastic publicity stunt for the cash prize. Why not? His stuntman friend can do the climb. Not quite.The police are after his friend and he is forced to make the ascent himself. The climax of the clock sequence is absolutely stunning even - no cgi here. But he makes the top, gets the cash and the girl.

Of the three great silent comedy stars, LLoyd made more films than Keaton and Chaplin combined, doing his own stunts and still influencing those in this century (eg Jackie Chan)

Street scenes and detail are impeccable as usual, the job here for REFLEKTOR is to keep calm as he teeters on the side of the building !!!

REFLEKTOR 2 - JAN KOPINSKI saxophones STEVE ILIFFE keyboards


 

ONE WEEK

Director: Buster Keaton/Ed Cline. 1920 .USA 19mins


The maestro of ingenuously devised stunts that are simply jaw dropping, shows our dead-pan faced hero and his new bride trying to erect a pre-fab house delivered in boxes, in a week!! Hampered by a resentful suitor, the results are spectacularly askew, and show Keaton at his best. This was the first film he released under his own production and is simply a stunning comedy short.

 

 

 

REFLEKTOR 2 - JAN KOPINSKI saxophones STEVE ILIFFE keyboards


 

THE HIGH SIGN

Director: Buster Keaton/Ed Cline. 1921 .USA 21mins

Buster arrives in town and sees a an opportunity to earn some money as a marksman. Of course he's no sure shot, but he is a genius at outwitting both cop and robber, when he falls in with the Blinking Buzzards bent on dastardly deeds. With a madcap chase filmed through a cut-away view of the house he turns the tables on the baddies and gets the girl.

 

 

 

 

 

REFLEKTOR 2 - JAN KOPINSKI saxophones STEVE ILIFFE keyboards


 

A PROPOS DE NICE

Director: Jean Vigo. 1930 .France 25mins

Vigo mixes social documentary and surrealistic touches to create a jarring world which at first seems travelogue or a variant of if the 'city' film of the period. But the images jar and juxtapose not only in exotic fashion but in a way that contrasts the social inequalities and injustice of the Cote D'Azur, culminating in a carnival. The bored and indulgent lifestyle of the wealthy contrasts with the seedier and more vibrant images of the less well-off to create a disturbing and at times erotic style.

 

 

 

 

REFLEKTOR 2 - JAN KOPINSKI saxophones STEVE ILIFFE keyboards


GIVING THEM FITS

Director: Hal Roach. 1915.USA 10mins

Before his more well remembered later full length daredevil films, Harold Lloyd made several shorts in partnership with Roach in their studio, Rolin. His character , Lonesome Luke, is more in the slapstick vein- Harold LLoyd became more popular than Chaplin - he is your ever-enthusuastic dynamo who falls for the girls, whilst working in a shoe store, and he has great difficulty keeping his mind on the job.

REFLEKTOR 2 - JAN KOPINSKI saxophones STEVE ILIFFE keyboards


Music to Media -

 

click to go to Tony's website

The music reflects a constantly revolving, evolving view of the ground and sky.Released on video for Inta productions for Year of the Artist 2000.

 

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