The unusual concoction of silent films and electric guitar will be on full display on Dec. 10 when guitar virtuoso Paul Bielatowicz returns to Delaware to provide live soundtracks to silent films.
Bielatowicz is from the UK and has worked with many names from the world of progressive rock, including Carl Palmer (ELP, Asia), Steve Hackett (Genesis), Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater), Neal Morse and Les Paul.
On Dec. 10, Bielatowicz will be at Blend of Seven Winery located at 1400 Stratford Road, Delaware, where he will perform the works of composer Claude Debussy to serve as musical score for the silent films of George Méliès. Bielatowicz said the combination came about in an unusual way.
“I came across George Méliès’ films by accident while searching for something to watch on Netflix,” Bielatowicz said. “I spotted a quirky looking silent movie that the info said was from 1902. My knowledge of film wasn’t great, but I presumed this must be a typo, especially as the film was in color. The film turned out to be Méliès masterpiece ‘A Trip To The Moon,’ which sure enough is from 1902. It was only 15 minutes long but that was enough to start my obsession with Méliès. I read that Méliès was living and working in Paris at precisely the same time as one of my favorite composers, Claude Debussy.”
Bielatowicz wondered if the pair had ever met.
“There’s no record of them ever meeting, but the two must have been aware of each other’s work,” Bielatowicz said. “I started imagining what would have happened if they’d collaborated. Debussy’s music works incredibly well with Méliès films, so much so you might be forgiven for thinking the two were written for each other.”
Bielatowicz said he started performing live soundtracks a few years ago, and he’s excited to bring the show to Delaware because it has a lot on display.
“The concert will certainly be unique,” Bielatowicz said. “I’m hoping people won’t have experienced anything like it before. Just watching Méliès films is an experience in itself, but seeing them in a concert setting, re-imagined with a live accompaniment presents them more as works of modern art.”
Bielatowicz said he enjoys performing scores in front of an audience, and the experience is like an “artistic buffet.”
“Often at my silent movie shows people tell me that they weren’t sure where to look,” Bielatowicz said. “Should they watch me performing the music? Or watch the film? Or both? I like to think of the show as a sensory buffet or pick n mix, and everyone in the audience will experience it slightly differently, depending on where their focus lies throughout the evening. Also, let’s not forget that this particular artistic buffet is accompanied by the finest wine in Delaware!”
Bielatowicz said he’s performed in Delaware a number of times, and he’s enjoyed each visit.
“I love playing in Delaware,” Bielatowicz said. “What an amazing town! I love the friendliness of the people and strong community spirit that’s present everywhere. It’s always a joy to visit.”
A very limited number of tickets will be available at Blend of Seven Winery – $17 cash ($20 credit card and at the door); Pats Endangered Species Record Store, 11 W. Winter Street, Delaware – $17 cash only; and Delaware Music Academy, 27 W. William Street, Delaware, $17 cash only. Online sales through Eventbrite.com (fees apply). For more information, call Blend of Seven Winery at 740-417-4286 or Rolf Remlinger at 740-816-2685 (email [email protected]).
Remlinger, one of the event’s organizers, said the show is “unique, different and entertaining” and hopes Delaware residents attend the event.
“Paul presents the electric guitar as a serious orchestral instrument,” Remlinger said. “He’s like a classically trained pianist trapped inside a rock guitarist’s body. He has such a unique style to his virtuoso playing. All musicians should really check out his technique, especially guitarists.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.