David Briggs is among the most important British exponents of the art of improvisation to have lived, his legendary skill not only delighting audiences the world over but inspiring the rising generation of organists to pursue the art seriously.
The ability to sustain improvisation for anything up to two hours for a film accompaniment is something else again. In fact, live musical accompaniment was the norm in the early days of cinema, and the tradition never died out completely, but David Briggs is unique in the extent to which he has made a go of it in our times. Thanks to him, events such as tonight’s have become very popular, not least because they are something a bit different, and also because they are definitely not just for organ aficionados.
The 1925 silent film version of The Phantom of the Opera, directed by Rupert Julian, is a classic adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s novel Le Fantôme de l’Opéra.