Silent masterpiece The Passion of Joan of Arc gets period choral music treatment

In a perfect pairing of cinema and music, Early Music Vancouver is bringing together the Orlando Consort and Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1928 silent film classic La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc.

On Jan 31, at Christ Chruch Cathedral, the Consort will provide live choral music that was composed and performed during Joan of Arc’s lifetime. The Consort has tailored the music to enhance Dreyer’s acclaimed drama. Find out more about this unique event below.

Condemned unseen in France on its release, vilified by the Catholic authorities and even banned outright in England, La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc (1928), is widely recognized as a masterpiece. Dreyer tells his story mostly in close-ups. Apparently, he was never satisified with any of the music that accompanied the film over the years.

Formed in 1988, the Orlando Consort is one of Europe’s most expert and consistently challenging groups when it comes to performing repertoire from 1050-1550. Their work successfully combines captivating entertainment and fresh scholarly insight; the unique imagination and originality of their programming together with their superb vocal skills has marked the Consort as the outstanding leaders of their field.

In his programme notes, Orlando Consort founder Daniel Greig writes: “All of the music you will hear comes from the early years of the fifteenth century, the period of Joan’s brief life, though whether Joan herself would ever have heard it is an unanswerable question. Charles VII, her king, was so short of money that he could no longer afford his own travelling choir (given such circumstances it is hardly surprising that so many French-born composers took up offers of employment in Italy), whereas Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, was patron to Dufay and Binchois, and the Regent of France, the Duke of Bedford, was patron to the English composer John Dunstable. It seems likely that Joan would have encountered at least some of the repertoire. An assiduous attendee of Mass, her travels took her to many large towns and cities, like Orléans, Troyes and Blois, all of which had choral foundations of one sort of another.” The five-piece choir sings a capella.

The Orlando Consort presents a capella choral music to accompany The Passion of Joan of Arc, the 1928 silent film masterpiece.

In a four-star review in the Guardian, Tim Ashley called a 2016 performance “an exceptional achievement that reminds us just how potent the combination of silent film and live music can be.”

Film in Concert: The Passion of Joan of Arc feat. The Orlando Consort

When: Fri Jany 31, 2020  at 7:30 p.m (pre-concert talk at 6:45 p.m.)

Where: Christ Church Cathedral (690 Burrard St.)

Tickets: starting at $22.50 at

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