The Ancient Law (Das Alte Gesetz) a cine-concert: a screening of the foundational 1923 silent film, with a live original score by Alicia and pianist/composer and silent film music legend Donald Sosin.
THE ANCIENT LAW is a landmark in Weimar cinema and an outstanding example of the creative contribution of Jewish filmmakers in 1920s Germany. It is the story of a rabbi’s son who leaves his shtetl home in Galicia and makes his way to Vienna, where an archduchess at the imperial court falls in love with him. . The movie draws a complex portrait of the tension between tradition and modernity.
The discovery of the censor’s certificate with the text of the original intertitles was the impetus for this new restoration of THE ANCIENT LAW, available through Flicker Alley films.
Alicia Svigals, violinist/composer and a founder of the Grammy-winning Klezmatics, is the world’s foremost klezmer fiddler. Alicia almost singlehandedly revived the tradition of klezmer fiddling, which had been on the brink of extinction until she recorded her debut album Fidl in the 1990’s. In February 2018, Svigals and jazz pianist Uli Geissendoerfer released her newest album, Beregovski Suite, a fantasy on klezmer melodies culled from the archive of early 20th century Soviet Jewish ethnomusicologist Moshe Beregovski.Svigals is also a composer who works in many genres. She was an NEA MacDowell Fellow in 2014, an honor for first-time fellows of “extraordinary talent.” She is the recipient of the Foundation for Jewish Culture’s 2013 New Jewish Culture Network commission for her new live score to the 1918 Pola Negri silent film The Yellow Ticket, which she tours internationally with pianist Marilyn Lerner, and was commissioned to create an expanded version of the score for the Seattle Symphony’s clarinetist Laura DeLuca, premiering in May 2014. She was fellow at LABA: a Laboratory of New Jewish Culture in 2014, where she studied Jewish texts with a multidisciplinary group of fellows and wrote a song cycle for soprano, violin and accordion drawn from that experience. In June 2018, Flicker Alley released her score to the 1923 silent film Das Alte Gesetz, co-written with pianist Donald Sosin, which they are touring internationally.
Donald Sosin (pianist and composer) has performed his silent film music at Lincoln Center, MoMA, the Kennedy Center, and major film festivals in the US and abroad. He records for Criterion, Kino, Milestone and TCM. He has played his scores for Jewish-themed silent films at the New York Jewish Film Festival. His one-act opera for families, Esther, was performed at the National Yiddish Book Center. Other Jewish music includes a short children’s opera, A Parakeet Named Dreidel, Yiddish folk song arrangements, and Three Psalms, premiered in 2009 by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra.