Laurel and Hardy celebration in Horsham

Stane Street Sinfonietta welcome composer and TV presenter Neil Brand for a celebration of the great comedy duo Laurel and Hardy in Horsham.

Neil Brand by Zinc Media
Neil Brand by Zinc Media

Performances will be at St Mary’s Church on Saturday, May 22 at 4pm, 6pm and 8pm.

Using clips, anecdotes and a piano, Neil will explore their early lives and careers before he’s joined by the orchestra and conductor Steve Dummer for a screening of the 1928 classic short You’re Darn Tootin’, playing Neil’s original score.

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“Stan and Ollie play two musicians struggling in both in employment and ability and following the predictable mayhem, it culminates in one of the great comedy fight scenes complete with shin kicking and trouser ripping!” Steve says.

Neil Brand has been a silent film accompanist for over 30 years, regularly in London at the Barbican and BFI National Film Theatres, throughout the UK and at film festivals around the world.

“But he is probably best known as a TV presenter on BBC4 with his hugely successful series Sound of Cinema, The Music that Made the Movies (2013), Sound of Song (2015), Sound of Musicals (2017) Sound of Movie Musicals (2018) and most recently the acclaimed Sound of TV (2020).

“He is also a highly acclaimed composer and dramatist having written scores for a number of silent films in collaboration with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and a visiting professor of the Royal Academy of Music.”

Stane Street Sinfonietta was started in 2018 by conductor Steve to bring together the best professional musicians who live in or have connections to Sussex and who regularly work with many of the top orchestras, bands and ensembles in the country on stage, for film and for television.

With the help of the team at St Mary’s, Horsham, they were able to stage a series of concerts in the autumn, “an oasis of pleasure in an otherwise barren period for live performances,” Steve says.

Now that the next stage of lockdown easing allows indoor concerts to resume, they are delighted to be back playing again.

“This is going to be the first live event that most of us have been involved in for months.

“And it’s going to be a real treat to have Neil join us for it,” Steve said.

“As anyone who has watched his TV programmes will know, he’s one of the greatest ambassadors for film music and his knowledge of the genre and understanding of how music can be best used for silent films is unsurpassable.

“His score for You’re Darn Tootin’ is a masterclass in how to capture the ever-changing moods of a comedy and having the fantastic Stane Street Sinfonietta musicians playing it live to the screening makes it a very special event.”

To allow for socially-distanced seating, there are three performances at 4pm, 6pm and 8pm with each concert limited to an audience of 75.

The performances, lasting just over an hour, continue to follow Government safety guidelines with hand sanitisers on entry and a requirement for audience members to wear facemasks.

Tickets are £15 and £5 for under 18s and are only available in advance.

For more details including information about Covid- 19 safeguarding, how to buy tickets and about Stane Street Sinfonietta visit the orchestra’s website