The score to Fritz Lang's classic science fiction film Metropolis was different from that of almost any other silent film. Rather than consisting of either semi-formulaic representations of conventional types of action (the usual procedure) or original music for large individual scenes (the more ambitious type), it was composed during shooting, with composer Gottfried Huppertz working closely with Lang and screenwriter Thea von Harbou. Better preserved than the film from the start, it matched the action so intricately that it has been used to determine the precise editing of scenes in the film's successive rounds of restoration, and German conductor Frank Strobel, conducting the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra here, was heavily involved in that process and probably knows the music as well as anyone else alive. At times the music seems to represent the point of view of one specific character in a scene, and few silent film scores indeed do that. In short, for Metropolis geeks, and there are plenty of them, this album will be a natural purchase. The surprise is that, especially for those who have seen the film once or twice, it's also appealing for those who generally enjoy film music. The contrast between a stripped-down Futurist idiom and sheer melodramatic excess not only matches the film's story, but makes for a score that's fun on its own terms, and Strobel and the Berlin musicians enter into the project's overheated, over-the-top aesthetic. Recommended for anyone with the slightest interest in Metropolis.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim