Nosferatu (1922) w/ live accompaniment


Nosferatu (1922) poster

Saturday, October 29 9:00 PM


Facebook event


Inspired by numerous requests from fans over the years and popular Halloween tour last October, Austin’s Invincible Czars bring their new score for the 1922 German silent film Nosferatu (F.W. Murnau) this winter to the mountain states, northwest and the southwest.

Nosferatu is one of the most revered films in the history of cinema. Regarded not only as the world’s first vampire movie, it is also considered the first important horror film–but it was almost erased from the history books when the estate of Bram Stoker sued the filmmakers for copyright infringement and most of the prints of the movie were destroyed.

Nosferatu tells the story of Hutter and Ellen, a couple from the village Wisborg.  Hutter travels to Transylvania to sell a piece of property in Wisborg to Count Orlok.  Hutter stays in Orlok’s castle only to learn that the Count is a vampire.  Orlok purchases a house next to Hutter’s, locks Hutter in the castle and travels to Wisborg.  On the way, he manages to possess Hutter’s employer and Ellen and strike the village with an outbreak of the plague.  Hutter rushes home to stop him before it’s too late.

This project marks the 7th effort for a band that’s increasingly becoming known for its well-crafted original silent film scores.  The Center for Contemporary Art in Santa Fe, known for hosting acclaimed silent film accompanists from around the nation, called the Czars’ soundtrack for the 1929 Lillian Gish silent classic The Wind “as good as any we’ve seen.” In March 2015, the band were artists-in-residence at Texas A&M University, where they gave three lecture-recitals on music for film and silent film that culminated in a live performance of their score for The Wind. They’ve also performed silent film scores at the Kimball Museum, Sam Houston State University, Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, University of Houston, and several outdoor music and film events.


The Invincible Czars’ Nosferatu incorporates violin, glockenspiel, organ, flute, bass clarinet, vocals, music box, loops, electric guitar, bass, singing bowl, tambourine and other hand percussion–all of which is a sight to behold when performed live by only four players!

The band always incorporates music from the classical realm into their scores, and this time they’ve chosen Bela Bartok’s Roumanian Folk Dances in a nod to the fictional Count Orlock’s home turf. The highlight of their arrangements is a haunting version of Roumanian Dance IV featuring an otherworldly vocal performance by the band’s wind mistress Leila Henley.

The band recorded a CD EP featuring selections from their score which includes Bartok’s Romanian Folk Dances.



The band began in 2002 playing rock shows in nightclubs in Austin but has come to operate more like an arts ensemble than a rock group with its rotating cast of instrumentalists, seasonal material/series and even printed sheet music.

The band was part of a wave of acts that began creating new soundtracks for silent films at the original Alamo Drafthouse in the 00s.  Unlike their peers, The Czars kept adding movies to their catalog, creating custom artwork and wardrobe and taking their shows farther and farther from home each year.  They aim to give modern day movie goers a musical context through which they can better appreciate the importance and artistry of silent era films while respecting the time in which the movies were made.

The Invincible Czars draw as much influence from film and classical composers like Bernard Hermann, Danny Elfman, and Ennio Morricone as they do from rock bands like Mr. Bungle, Ween, Sonic Youth and The Dead Kennedys. They’ve created several albums worth of original music, scored seven silent films and re-made works by Tchaikovsky (The Nutcracker Suite, 1812 Overture), Mussorgsky (A Night on Bald Mountain,  Pictures at an Exhibition),  Satie and Debussy.  They even czar-ified Iron Maiden’s album The Number of the Beast.


They are Austin’s Emperors of Eclecticism.



About the author - Serving the Circle since 2006.
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