Hillard Ensemble and Harmonie Band

Special events at the festival!
Hillard Ensemble and Harmonie Band,
distinguished British artists will give musical accompaniment to the masterpieces of silent cinema:

27th July, 7:00 pm, Wrocław Opera 

The Blood of a Poet (Le Sang d`un poete),
directed by Jean Cocteau, France 1931
music composed and played by Harmonie Band and David James of Hilliard Ensemble
tickets: full-fare: PLN 60; reduced: PLN 35 – already available!

28th July, 7:00 pm, Wrocław Opera 

The Passion of Joan of Arc (La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc), directed by Carl Theodore Dreyer, France 1928
music composed and played by Hilliard Ensemble and Harmonie Band
World premiere!
tickets: full-fare: PLN 80; reduced: PLN 45 – already available!

Tickets for events


The program will be based on two film screenings accompanied by music and the Harmonie Band and Hilliard Ensemble's performance in Wrocław will include them too. The soundtrack composed by Paul Robinson for The Blood of a Poet by Jean Cocteau will combine counter-tenor ballads by medieval composer Guillaume Machaut with bold innovative instrumental parts. The other composition by Robinson – music for Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc will compile music of the epoch, in which the film is set (pieces by the 15 th-century French composers Dufay and Binchois) with sounds reflecting the cruelty the main character undergoes.




Hilliard Ensemble – an English group established in 1974, is probably the best-known chamber vocal group in the world. Their experience and output are impressive and they are unrivalled as far as old and modern music is concerned. Their distinctive style and technical perfection are moving, both when you are listening to medieval or renaissance compositions or modern pieces, written specifically for the group. The Hilliard Ensemble's albums sell equally well as those by pop stars or famous tenors. The renowned album Officium, the fruit of their cooperation with the legendary saxophone player, Jan Garbarek, was recognized as one of the greatest hits of the 1990s. More than two million copies of this album have been sold, which make it one of the ten best selling classical music albums ever. The group’s popularity was boosted also due to the creative Arvo Pärt music projects. The Hilliard Ensemble performs at the most important music festivals in all the continents, giving about 100 concerts a year. It gathers huge audiences everywhere. They collaborate permanently with major orchestras, including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra and Philadelphia Orchestra. The Hilliard Ensemble’s performances cannot be compared to ordinary concerts. The extraordinary and dynamic harmony of human voices reminds us that masterly singing can be not only an artistic experience, but spiritual as well.

Hilliard Ensemble:
David James – counter tenor
Rogers Covey-Crump – tenor
Steven Harrold – tenor
Gordon Jones – baritone



The Harmonie Band – a group of six multi-instrumentalists was established in 1985. It gained many fans worldwide, especially with its own originally arranged music compositions for classic silent films.

In 1991 the group became famous due to two projects: Music in our Time and Mixing It, in which the musicians used works of legendary modern music artists, including John Cage and Frank Zappa. In 1992 the Harmonie Band composed their own soundtrack for Carl Theodore Dreyer ‘s The Passion of Joan of Arc and since then they have concentrated on concerts accompanying classic films of the silent cinema era and on educating young people.

In 2007 the Harmonie Band plans a tour together with the legendary vocal group The Hilliard Ensemble. The musicians have known each other since 1995, when Paul Robinson - the leader of the Harmonie Band - was Hilliard's summer school’s official composer. One of the stops on this tour will be ERA New Horizons Festival in Wrocław.

The Harmonie Band:
Paul Robinson – Accordion/M1 Synth
Walter Fabeck – Piano
Julia Butterworth – Clerinet/Bass Clarinet/Sop sax
Dai Pritchard – Clarinet/ Bass Clt/ Sop sax
Kim Mackrell – Cello
Martin Pyne - Percussion



The Blood of a Poet (1930) is the surrealist debut of the scandalizing artist and writer Jeana Cocteau. The film, which became a milestone in the development of film language, describes a poet’s wandering through different planes of reality. You can take it as a kind of disturbing dream, a secret autobiography, as a record of the sufferings of an inspiration-seeking artist. The film is therefore a collection of ideas and images, where darkness, decay and death are set against visions of love and beauty. There are also many experimental tricks, bizarre and astounding – like going through a mirror, a girl levitating to a ceiling or statues coming to life. After the film’s premiere there was a real scandal - The Blood of a Poet was accused of being anti-Christian and could not be screened at all for a year. However, soon the film became noticed by sophisticated audiences and critics and now it is listed among the most distinguished pieces of surrealist film art and of French avant-garde.

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The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) is the last silent film by the Danish master Carl Theodore Dreyer and one of the best-known features in the history of cinema. It recalls the historical trial of Joan of Arc and the plot lasts one day - the day the virgin of Orleans died. As in an ancient tragedy, Dreyer keeps the classical unities of place, time and action and the form of tragic conflict to describe the heroine's dilemma. Joan has to choose between her belief in God and her own life and each decision means perdition – either death or damnation. The Passion of Joan of Arc is a symphony of close-ups, using the human face as a separate film language. Renée Maria Falconetti’s role is especially remarkable. This actress played only once in a film and yet she is a part of cinema history. At the time, this film was deemed extraordinarily innovative and its content was so controversial that it had to battle with censors throughout Europe.

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