The Hands of Orlac (Orlac's Hände)

[silent film, Robert Wiene, 1924]

live-music: Prefarkt by IzP [2007]


duration: 99'


[first performed: dec 5th 2007, Essen / Germany]



A surgeon attempts to transplant two hands; the patient is the pianist Orlac, who is seriously injured. The operation should symbolize hope for him, however his new hands are the hands of an executed murderer.



Orlac’s oppressed condition, which concentrates over the course of the entire film, and his body, which increasingly nears the brink of having a heart attack, form the emotional tissue of the film music. Compositional decisions were influenced by the idea of the ways in which a surgeon might work on a damaged body.

Music for amplified accordion, electric bass, keyboard, live electronics, acoustically “preserved” metal chimes, and prerecorded sound.

film music's review (in German)



[translated by Eric Flesher / USA]


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