Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed: Alternative soundtracks

Having no voice acting or sound effects, and resembling ballet more than anything else in its use of body language, Prinzen Achmed is undoubtedly a film in which music plays a major role. Combined with the timeless wonder its visuals, this has made it popular candidate for live musical accompaniment, usually of a newly commissioned score. There are now so many new scores and alternative arrangements of the original that I have made this page to list them all.

The list is by no means complete, accurate, or even well-organised, so if you feel you can improve it in any way, please don't hesitate to send me any information or suggestions that you may have.

Wolfgang Zeller (1926)

Premier: July 1926 • Location: ?, Paris • Arranged for: Orchestra
This is the "official" soundtrack, and is included on all official DVDs of the film in a 1999 stereo recording by the Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg.

Quartet arrangement (????)

Premier: ? • Location: ? • Arranged for: ?
This is only available, as far as I know, on the German arte EDITION/absolut MEDIEN DVD. Unlike the orchestral score, it has a 5.1 surround mix as well as Dolby Digital Stereo. Not having heard it, I do not know what connection, if any, it has with the orchestral score, nor who composed or arranged it. Any further information would be appreciated, so please contact me if you have some.

Gerhard Muller-Hornbach (1983)

Premier: ? • Location: ? • Arranged for: Orchestra

Pierre Oser (1991)

Premier: ? • Location: ? • Arranged for: Two pianos

Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade (1888)

Premier: ? • Location: ? • Arranged for: Orchestra
Obviously, this was composed long before the film was made, and not intended to be played alongside it. But in addition to being the main influence on Zeller's score, I remember reading somewhere in the vastness of the internet that at least one festival had this performed to accompany a (presumably speeded-up) projection of the film. Again, any confirmation of this would be appreciated.

Shawn Garmon (1999)

Premier: November 1999 • Location: Castro Theatre, San Francisco • Arranged for: Piano, oboe, violin and cello

The Ahl-i Nafs (2004)

Premier: October 2004 • Location: Brainwash Gallery, San Francisco • Arranged for: ?
Shown as a double feature with the the infamous Danish film Häxan (1922), both with music newly composed and performed by The Ahl-i Nafs.

Otociné (2005)

Premier: January 2005 • Location: REDCAT, Los Angeles • Arranged for: Saxophones, percussion, flutes, "objects," tabla, voice, computer, guitar and bass
A group formed specifically the creation and performance of new scores for silent films.

Silk Road Ensemble (2006)

Premier: October 2006 • Location: Rubin Museum of Art, New York City • Arranged for: ?
Also performed in Providence in February 2007.

Agnes Bashir and Elia Khoury (2006)

Premier: ? • Location: ? • Arranged for: ?
Jordanian-style score performed by the Nawazen-Elia Khoury Group and Chamber Ensemble.

The Analog Girl (2007)

Premier: March 2007 • Location: National Museum of Singapore • Arranged for: Computer, Game Boy, Kaos Pad, xylophone and others
Live music and narration by the one-woman Singaporean artist.

NLF3 (2007)

Premier: January 2007 • Location: Cité de la musique, Paris • Arranged for: Guitars, keyboards, theremin, beatbox, percussion, chaos pad

Miles and Karina (2008)

Premier: 28 September 2008 • Location: Saint Louis Art Museum • Arranged for: Accordion, glockenspiel, viola, guitars and others

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