Organist to Recreate the Silent Movie Era Oct. 13

Oct. 2, 1997

by Richard Veit

As a general rule, silent movies were never really silent. A theater organist or pianist would improvise a musical score to accompany the action on screen.

That is what Tom Cotner will do for his audience on Tuesday, Oct. 13, as the American Guild of Organists and Baylor School of Music present the classic 1922 film "Nosferatu" (the original "Dracula" movie). This special screening will take place at 8 p.m. in Roxy Grove Hall.

Cotner, who has performed regularly at Oklahoma City's annual Halloween event "Symphony of Horrors," is a specialist in the genre of theater organ performance. Last year he played the organ accompaniment for Baylor's wildly successful showing of "Phantom of the Opera." A former student of Dr. Nita Akin of Wichita Falls, Cotner is the owner and operator of Cotner Pipe Organs of Martha, Okla.

"Nosferatu," the famous silent version of Bram Stoker's 1897 novel, was directed by F. W. Murnau and stars Max Schreck as vampire Graf Orlok. In critic Leonard Maltin's words, "This early film version of 'Dracula' is brilliantly eerie, full of imaginative touches that none of the later films quite recaptured. Schreck's vampire is also the ugliest in film history."

As for the music, Cotner will select from an infinite array of thematic possibilities-as only a true theater organist with hundreds of hours of improvisatory experience can do.

Tickets are priced at $5 and are on sale at the Bill Daniel Student Center box office on the Baylor campus. Tickets also are being sold by members of the American Guild of Organists. Proceeds will benefit student organ scholarships at Baylor University.

For more information on this special showing of "Nosferatu," call the Baylor School of Music at 710-3991.

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