Foxtrot Delirium©Arthur Péquin

Foxtrot Delirium

Foxtrot Delirium : Martin Matalon Concert Film on The Oyster Princess, by Ernst Lubitsch

Martin Matalon creation

Live performances have the privilege of giving a new breadth of life to set spectacles of image without sound. Through his music, Martin Matalon – who worked on the film The Oyster Princess (Die Austernprinzessin) by Ernst Lubitsch – emphasizes the importance of humour in this quirky comedy. His score magnifies the film, whose directing is, in his own words, “of great finesse, suffused with creativity and lightness.”  

The undisputed master of the cinema-concert genre, Argentinian composer Martin Matalon wrote memorable scores for films by Bunuel and for Metropolis by Fritz Lang. With Foxtrot Delirium created on 20 January 2015 at the Scène nationale of Valence by Ars Nova, he invites us to discover a satirical and burlesque gem by Ernst Lubitsch, The Oyster Princess, a film from 1919. The composer favours its “highly musical tone, in the sense that all is rhythm. Ideas and situations swiftly follow one another, everything seems weightless, as if propelled by wit and lightness. Some scenes and décors are eminently choreographic.” This leads him to reflect along manifold “possible musical journeys.”

Martin Matalon’s score, written for twelve instrumentalists and a set of electronics, explores every possible connection between music and image. “Here, swiftness and weightlessness take pride of place as some sort of crystallisation of humour, which turned out to be a particularly interesting challenge,” the composer confided in us. His music is perfectly suited to the hectic pace of the film, where everything is highly mobile. With his score, he manages to create “vivacious interactions between instruments and images that give rise to a swirl of musical situations.” The composer’s taste for timbers and textures is further enhanced by the electronics which “have a rightful place, a structuring role in space that supplements and lengthens the instruments.”


The Film
The Oyster Princess (original title: Die Austernprinzessin)

Lubitsch’s overflowing imagination proposes a critique of American bourgeoisie in the early last century: Mister Quaker, a wealthy tycoon who struck it rich selling oysters, has a temperamental daughter, Ossi. She demands that an aristocrat husband be found for her. Matchmaking agent Seligsohn selects Prince Nucki, a depraved reveller. Curious about this potential wedlock, he sends his servant, Joseph, as scout, but Ossi mistakes the latter for the prince and sets her sights on him instead…


Martin Matalon

Ernst Lubitsch, film
Philippe Nahon, conductor

Ars Nova Instrumental Ensemble (12 musiciens)

Pierre-Simon Chevry, flute
Eric Lamberger, clarinet
Philippe Récard, bassoon
Patrice Petitdidier, horn
Fabrice Bourgerie, trumpet
Patrice Hic, trombone
Elisa Humanes et Isabelle Cornélis, percussions
Michel Maurer, piano  
Aïda Aragoneses Aguado, harp
Catherine Jacquet, violin
Isabelle Veyrier, cello

Xavier Bordelais, sound
Erwan Le Metayer, stage manager
Charles Bascou, computerized sound designer

Production Ars Nova Instrumental Ensemble

Coproduction GMEM, Centre National de Création Musicale of Marseille

Support to the writing of a new and original musical piece from the French State

Creation residency at the Lux, National Stage of Valence

The score of Foxtrot delirium is published by Gérard Billaudot Editeur

Courtesy of Wilhelm Friedrich Murnau Stiftung

Special thanks to DIVISA for their kind permission to use their Spanish subtitled version

With the support of the SPEDIDAM