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Press release

  • 14 April 2005
  • Sussex composer premieres new score for cinema classic Battleship Potemkin

    Still from cinema classic Battleship Potemkin

    Still from cinema classic Battleship Potemkin

    One of the most influential films in cinema history has been given a spectacular new musical treatment by a University of Sussex composer.

    Dr Ed Hughes' live surround-sound score for Sergei Eisenstein's 1925 masterpiece, Battleship Potemkin, will be premièred at the 2005 Brighton Festival on Saturday, May 14, at the British Engineerium in Hove.

    Performed by The New Music Players, comprising of eight of the UK's finest chamber musicians, the new score marks the 100th anniversary of the events depicted in the film - the October Revolution of 1905. One of the scenes, the massacre by the military on the steps in Odessa, remains one of the most powerful images of political violence ever portrayed in a film.

    In the past 80 years, Battleship Potemkin has had a number of musical scorings - from the original orchestral score by the German composer Edmund Meisel, through a collage of Shostakovich symphonies, to the more recent electro-pop treatment by the Pet Shop Boys. 

    Dr Hughes' aim was to explore how Eisenstein might have approached Battleship Potemkin had he had access to today's live audio-visual performance technology, and had been working outside oppressive censorship.


    He says: "The film has a very bold storyline matched by a freshness of approach to filmmaking, which lends itself to music. Its sense of modernity and its originality invites the use of contemporary musical resources."

    Dr Hughes is a prolific composer of orchestral, chamber and vocal music and has a particular interest in creating new scores for classic films. His previous projects include Joris Ivens Rain (1929), I Was Born, But... (1932) by the Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu and Pacific 231 (Mitry, 1949).


    His first opera, The Birds, based on Aristophanes' satire on the search for Utopia, opens at The City of London Festival on June 29, 2005 and will then tour to Oxford Playhouse, Buxton Opera House and Salamanca Festival, Spain. It will be presented by The Opera Group in association with Internationally acclaimed vocal ensemble I Fagiolini.

    Last year the première of Hughes' composition, Memory of Colour, his response to a textile installation by the Japanese artist Teruyoshi Yoshida, was among the highlights of the Brighton Festival. It was subsequently performed at the Sydney Festival in the Sydney Opera House in January 2005.


    Notes for editors 

    Battleship Potemkin is sold out at the Brighton Festival but will also be presented with Ed Hughes' score at the Cheltenham Festival on 12 July.


    For more information, contact Faith Wilson Faith Wilson Arts Publicity Fulcrum, Tel 0207 401 6694 Fax: 0207 401 6757 Mobile: 0794 113 7453 e-mail:


    University of Sussex press office: Jacqui Bealing or Maggie Clune, Tel: 01273 678888




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