Battleship Potemkin

Chris Jarrett performs live to Eisenstein's classic silent movie (1925).
Chris Jarrett performs live to Eisenstein's classic silent movie (1925).

Chris Jarrett has composed a piano score to Sergei Eisenstein's famous silent movie. The theme of this film - often considered one of the most ingenious productions in all of film history - is the people's rebellion in the Russia of 1905.

Chris Jarrett's completely personal, partially improvised, partially composed score underlines Sergei Eisenstein's anti-militaristic message. His music is much more than an accompaniment; it is a personal comment, taking a stand for the politically oppressed and mistreated.

   

Basically, Eisenstein followed the historical truth of the mutiny on the Potemkin of 1905. After a series of defeats during the Russian-Japanese War, the pressure of the officers on the crews of the Black Sea Navy is intensified. The crew of the "Prince Potemkin of Tauria" grows more and more nervous, and Bolshewiki leaders plan a rebellion. On the 14th of June, a group of sailors refuses to eat the rotten meat set before them. As the sailors are to be executed, the mutiny begins. The officers are taken captive and the ship enters the port of Odessa, to bury a leader of the rebellion. The striking workers of Odessa show solidarity with the rebellious shipmates, with the hope of freeing themselves from the yoke of the Tsars.

Battleship Potemkin is considered the greatest masterpiece of the silent movie era.

Battleship Potemkin

Watch two scenes on YouTube.

"The composition followed Eisenstein's suggestive montage from beginning to end. At the same time, Jarrett succeeded in curbing the sentimentality and Christmas story-like good guy vs. bad guy morale of some of the scenes. A perfect film score, and first class piano-playing - both technically and emotionally."
TAZ, Berlin