Backbeat: Goth Night At L.A.'s Walt Disney Concert Hall
Backbeat: Goth Night At L.A.'s Walt Disney Concert Hall

Caligari
Silent film organist Clark Wilson rehearses for a Halloween screening of the silent horror classic "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

Caligari
An audience member dresses in costume as a dinosaur at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Creepy, suspenseful, and truly goth music took over the Walt Disney Concert Hall Sunday night during a screening of the 1919 German Expressionist silent film classic "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari," accompanied by a live pipe organ score.

"The organ's the only instrument that you can literally shake the building with," noted silent film organist Clark Wilson, who gave Billboard.biz a sample of his "scary combo of chords and volume" before the show.

Wilson is one of a handful of professionals dedicated to accompanying surviving films from the silent era, performing music that historically took the pipe organ from church "marrying and burying" ceremonies into movie theaters. He created the music for "Dr. Caligari," whose original score has been lost, using a cue sheet and musically narrating the action on stage at the organ console, while watching the movie as it played onscreen for the audience.

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The Disney's Hall's unique and awesome ceiling-high pipe organ, designed by architect Frank Gehry and organ builder Manuel Rosales, has 6,134 pipes, the largest 32 feet tall. It has 61-note keys, 32 pedals and 300 memory levels for the organist's pre-set combinations. Wilson, who started his career playing organ in a pizza parlor, and has been scoring films since 1980, refers to pipe organs as "the first synthesizers."

The screening of "Dr. Caligari" was the eighth annual Halloween silent film with live music event at the Disney Hall. Members of the audience came in costumes, including one man who was spotted in a straight jacket and white fright wig, dressed as the gruesome Dr. Caligari himself.

Caligari
Silent film organist Clark Wilson gives Billboard.biz a sample of his "scary combo of chords and volume" before the Halloween screening at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Caligari
Audience members dress in costume at the Walt Disney Concert Hall for the "Dr. Caligari" screening.

Caligari
Organist Clark Wilson poses for Billboard.biz before the Halloween screening at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

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