Music for silent films

Music for silent films

















Thomas Köner has been creating creating music for silent films since 1994, which he performs himself or with a small ensemble. His music for Murnau’s Faust for example was commissioned by the Auditorium du Louvre in Paris and was premiered there in 2013 as part of the supporting program of the De l’Allemagne 1800 – 1939 exhibition.

During the 1990’s Köner worked as sound designer for a postproduction studio. For his compositions he combines these strategies with elements of contemporary chamber music and pop-avantgarde. “Sound and image have a different expiry date”, says Köner, “music seems outmoded to us much quicker. A chanson from the 1920’s compared to a today’s production appears almost antique, in contrast to the images of a Fritz Lang or F.W. Murnau, which are still exciting today”.

Thomas Köner believes that “each generation has the right and the duty to recreate the music time and again.” His work is not about forcing his sounds onto a nearly 100 year old masterpiece like Murnau’s Faust, on the contrary, to make the classics become relevant to a 21st century audience: “ the music should give the images space – space, where the original power of the images is not constrained, where the pictures can breathe.”






commissioned for DVD release:

La coquille et le clergyman (Germaine Dulac, F, 1927)

Light Cone, Paris Experimental DVD edition 2009


commissioned by the Auditorium du Louvre, Paris:

Nosferatu (F.W. Murnau, D, 1922)

Jiraya, heros sacre (S Makino, Jap., 1921)

Faust (F. W. Murnau, D, 1926)

La Vie et la Passion de Jesus-Christ (L. Nonguet, F, 1907)

Der Golem (P. Wegener, D)

90 South (Frank Hurley, GB, 1914-17)

Our Sun in Action (Evans/Dunn, US, 1956)

La Perse (Geo Keller, F, 1938)

Les Voyages de Miss Isobel Hutchinson (GB, 1935)

Dante nella vita e nei tempi suoi (Domenico Gaido, I, 1922)

Le Couronnement du roi Pierre Ier de Serbie (1904)

Masken und Stelzentänze der Gbande, Liberia (D, 1929,)

Le Couronnement de Nicolas II (F, 1896,)

Arrivée de la dépouille du roi de Grècè à Athènes (F, Gaumont, 1912)


commissioned by the Musée d’Orsay, Paris:

– Der Müde Tod (Destiny) (Fritz Lang 1921)

– Coeur fidèle (Jean Epstein 1923)

– Femme de nulle part (Louis Delluc, 1922)

– La mère (Vsevolod Poudovkine, 1926)

– L’oeil de verre (Lili Brik, V. Jemtchoujny, 1930)

– The Son of the Sheik (G. Fitzmaurice, 1926)

– L’Atlantide (Jacques Feyder, 1921)

– Hara-Kiri (Marie-Louise Iribe, 1928)


commissioned by La Casa Encendida, Madrid:

– Nanook of the North ( R. Flaherty 1922 )


commissioned by Bienal de Performance, Santiago de Chile :

-El Husar de la Muerte (P. Sienna, 1925)


commissioned by the Centre Pompidou, Paris:

-Symphonie de la foret vierge / Urwaldsymphonie (Bauer-Adamara, 1931)

– La chute de la Maison Usher (Jean Epstein & Luis Bunuel, F, 1928)


Music for silent films

Music for silent films