Music : Neil Campbell
Film: Shaun Taft
Reviewer: Cathy Crabb
The Public Reviews Rating:
With a backdrop of emotive ghostly images in a film by Shaun Taft- including moonlit graveyards and haunted houses- classical guitarist Neil Campbell plays his critically acclaimed Ghost Stories- a night opera alongside soprano Anne Taft’s haunting accompaniment.
The composition which was written and recorded by Neil and now co-produced by Bill Elm’s Associates, is touring atmospheric settings conducive to the eerie and dramatic score. The grand Baronial Hall at Chetham’s School of Music is the perfect setting for this atmospheric ghostly piece -with its Hogwarts feel perfect for a Halloween evening.
Due to the low lighting on the stage their shadows creep up the walls and the tone is very sombre. Ann Taft looks close to tears throughout her performance. Campbell is an amazing guitarist and the journey has a metaphysical feel- you become involved in the film, music and surroundings and immersed in the moment. So deft is Campbell that often it seems as though it would be impossible for one person alone to play so much at once. Taft is also as accomplished; her elevated pitches snake through the room and fill the huge ceiling.
The journey is a night opera and most of the images are of the night time- it is almost as if you are a ghost, floating around in the moonlit trees or embarking on stairs in an empty house- everything covered by dust sheets. But as the dawn approaches- the music changes from almost despair to brightness and hope. In this way, the previous night journey could be one of a mind on a tortuous path- perhaps in grief, or maybe just a worry that passes by the dawn of a new day. The images for this section are daisies bowing in a breeze and fiery sunrises in contrast to the bleak black and white of the night before. But the new day- reflective in the music- is short lived and soon the night approaches again.
It is an incredible piece, an unusual experience and totally fitting for this time of year.