Brighton: Symphony of a City Ed Hughes

Brighton: Symphony of a City cover
46 mins

Orchestra Orchestra (Double winds) Music for Film

2 Flute, 1 Oboe, 1 Oboe (=Cor anglais), 1 B-flat Clarinet, 1 B-flat Clarinet (=Bass Clarinet in B-flat), 2 Bassoon, 1 Alto Saxophone, 2 Horn in F, 2 Trumpet in B-flat, 2 Trombone, 1 Percussion, 1 Timpani, 1 Drum Kit, 1 Piano, 3 Electric Guitar, 1 Electric Bass, 2 Violins, 1 Viola, 2 Violoncellos, 1 Double bass

Purchasing options

Conducting score ISMN 57036-711-5 £39.95
Parts ISMN 57036-712-2 ––– Available for hire
Study score ISMN 57036-713-9 £34.95


Programme note

Commissioned by Brighton Festival 2016.

Film director: Lizzie Thynne

Editor: Phil Reynolds

Composer: Ed Hughes

Brighton: Symphony of a City was conceived in collaboration with the film maker Lizzie Thynne. The project was inspired by the city symphony films of the 1920s and 1930s. Through a silent film with live music the aim was a visual and musical portrait of the city of Brighton. It was commissioned for the 50th anniversary of the Brighton Festival and premiered in the Brighton Dome with the Orchestra of Sound and Light, conducted by the composer, on 11 May 2016.  The film creates a dynamic portrait of Brighton today, and in its dawn to dusk and then night approach consciously references Walter Ruttmann’s great rhythmic and poetic film ‘Berlin: Symphony of a Great City’ (1927). The music conveys colour and contrasts, echoing those of the modern urban environment, but constantly aware of seascape. As writer and musicologist Mervyn Cooke observes, gently pulsating cross rhythms and subtle dislocations of the metre, combined with long-breathed dynamic ebbs and flows and vividly contrasting orchestral colours, wonderfully capture not only the broad sweep of the city itself, but also (as with Vigo’s Nice) the alluring expanse of the open sea beyond its shore.

Unlike Ruttmann’s film, Thynne also draws on archival silent moving images from Screen Archive South East, creating unexpected, informative and poignant juxtapositions. Towards the close of the film the images employ montage and the music and picture seem to fuse into a state of symphony as their separate languages merge.

Orchestra of Sound and Light cond. Ed Hughes, Brighton Dome Concert Hall, Brighton Festival, 11th May 2016
  • 1 Jun 2018 | 9:00pm |

    Unitarian Chapel, New Road, Brighton 


    Brighton Sinfonietta

    Ed Hughes (conductor)

  • 7 Oct 2016 | 7:30pm |

    Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, University of Sussex


    Orchestra of Sound and LIght, conductor Ed Hughes

  • 11 May 2016 | 7:30pm |

    Brighton Dome Concert Hall


    Orchestra of Sound and Light, cond. Ed Hughes