Steven Severin, not unlike some of his musical contemporaries has ventured on to compose music for films; along with Graeme Revell (SPK), Brian Williams (Lustmord), Psychic TV with their rhythmically brilliant Mouth of The Night, and Klive and Nigel Humberstone (In the Nursery) who scored Carl Theodor Dreyer‘s The Passion of Joan of Arc.
All of these artists have something in common, they excel in creating environments that suit the task at hand, the music is skillfully executed and perhaps most important of all…the soundtracks that these artists have created are engaging to the listener while being true to the subject matter.
This score for the largely-silent Vampyr is one of a series composed by Steven Severin over the years, though not all have been for films, from Jean Cocteau‘s surrealist masterpiece, Blood of a Poet, to the banned Nigel Wingrove short film Visions of Ecstasy, on to Maldoror and The Woman in The Dunes; the latter two were composed for dance companies.
Vampyr: Der Traum des Allan Grey / Vampire: The Dream of Allan Grey, although written by Christen Jul and Carl Theodor Dreyer, the film is based on elements from Carmilla, a novella by J. Sheridan Le Fanu, dating from eighteen-seventy-two, and therefore predates Bram Stoker‘s Dracula.
Alongside F.W. Murnau‘s Nosferatu, Fritz Lang‘s Metropolis, and Carl Theodor Dreyer‘s The Passion of Joan of Arc, although the subject matter and cinematography between these films differ greatly Vampyr is considered a gem of classic early cinema.
Musically Steven Severin has created a mood and environment that is sympathetic to the source material by taking a less-is-more approach; minor chords are used sparingly, soft industrial percussive elements accent the more romantic tones giving the tracks a contemporary edge to them, best exemplified on They Are Murdering Him.
Mr. Severin‘s soundtrack for Vampyr is all about establishing mood. He does this quite successfully by steering clear of using any horror movie clichés, no shrill chords, no big bangs to startle the listener, in effect what this score relies on is the actual film to dictate the sounds used. With a film as atmospheric and dreamy as Vampyr , this score reflects the film perfectly as the soundtrack and also is tantalizing enough to stand on its own as a piece of work to be considered apart from the film.
01) Through a Glass Darkly
02) Allan’s Theme
03) Upon my Death
04) Shadow’s Play
05) They are Murdering Him
07) Giselle’s Theme
08) Leoné Summoned
09) Leoné Smiles
11) Poison / Aftermath
13) Phantom’s Journey
14) The Apparition
15) The Mill