Forgotten music from the GPO

Published: 20 April 2009 at 15:46

Tribute to the celebrated force in documentary filmmaking

Classical music and cinema fans are in for a treat on 20 May as Anglia Ruskin University, in association with the Arts Picturehouse, an evening of live music and film.

During the 1930s the GPO (General Post Office) was a celebrated force in documentary filmmaking. Under the influential producer John Grierson, essential aspects of everyday life were made into films to boost public interest and to provide information about postal services. These films were widely acclaimed for the quality of their cinematography, content and cutting-edge soundtracks. Grierson hired young and relatively inexperienced composers who produced some strikingly innovative scores.

The special concert featuring Anglia Sinfonia and Choir, will be conducted by Miguel Mera, and feature live performances of Benjamin Britten’s music to accompany the films The King’s Stamp, Coal Face, and the famous Night Mail.

About the concert Miguel says:

“It’s a delight to be conducting these wonderfully inventive but forgotten scores by Benjamin Britten. The scores are so imaginative and vibrant and it is extremely rare to hear a live performance of this music accompanying such remarkable imagery. It is fantastic that we are able to collaborate with the Arts Picturehouse on this event which demonstrates how music and the moving image can be beautifully woven together.”

Miguel Mera joined Anglia Ruskin University in September 2008 as a Principal Lecturer in Music. Miguel is recognised as one of the most versatile and distinctive composers of music for film and television working today. He was born in the UK but is equally proud of his Spanish heritage. His family hails from Galicia (northwest Spain) where the spacious landscapes and rhythmic vitality of the regional language are clear influences on his music.

Miguel’s most recent film scoring project is the feature film Little Ashes, the story of the interweaving lives of the painter Salvador Dalí, poet Federico García Lorca and filmmaker Luis Buñuel. Starring Robert Pattinson, the film will be screened in selected theatres in the UK, Spain and USA from 8 May.