The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921):
Silent movie with organ improvisation

Zorada Temmingh (organ)

Tuesday 25 June 2024, 19:00
Venue: Dutch Reformed Church

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is Zorada’s third silent movie with improvised organ soundtrack. It follows in the footsteps of The Hunch-back of Notre Dame and Phantom of the Opera which she has both performed at BIF. She is the first South African artist to perform in this genre.

The film (from 1921) is based on the book of the Spanish author Ibáñez. It was the first film made about the First World War, and afforded the male lead actor, Valentino, star status.

The Four Horsemen of Revelations, Conquest (or Pestilence), War, Famine and Death appear at crucial moments in the film as symbol of the devastation war brings to mankind. This theme is still relevant to the world we live in today.

The Story
Two wealthy Argentine sisters marry a German and a Frenchman respectively, unaware of the animosity World War I would bring between the two sides. The German sons quickly climb the success ladder in the army, while the French spoilt brat, Julio, a tango instructor, launches into an affair with the married Marguerite. When the family intrigues reach a climax, war breaks loose and separates the two families into two opposing camps. Bit by bit everybody loses everything dear to them. The climax of the film happens when the French and German cousins confront each other on the battlefield.

The Music
Zorada’s soundtrack is both narrator and character. She clothes every visual nuance with meaning through the music. She created an original leitmotiv for each character, developing and intertwining the themes as the characters appear in different situations. In a sense the music becomes a commentator of the film.

The themes of Julio and Marguerite, the love theme, the war theme, the reconciliation theme, are all melodies you will not forget easily. And the tangos with their sensual Spanish flair will keep listeners enthralled! Snippets of popular songs of the time will also be recognised. The colour, pitch and volume range of the organ is exploited to the full to do justice to the gripping emotion in the film.