Today: February 28, 2024

Roger Sayer: The Interstellar Organist

Ten years ago, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar launched – and quickly became a modern classic. The cerebral sci-fi epic was critically acclaimed and showered in awards, and is still considered by many to be one of Nolan’s finest films. But perhaps one of its most distinctive and memorable assets is Hans Zimmer’s glorious score, renowned in music circles for its inventive use of the organ. On the score, the organ was performed by celebrated musician Roger Sayer on the Temple Church Organ in London. Now, ten years later, Roger is performing the score on ogans all over the world to celebrate the film’s continuing legacy.

But how did Roger get involved in the first place? “It was a random call after they were looking to record the organ part with a real player, rather than the sampled version they already had made”, he says. “There was this guy who knew the Temple Church Organ and its possibilities. So they came for the organ, and not me. I just happened to be Organist and Director of Music at the time!”. And so began Roger’s collaboration with Hans Zimmer, the celebrated 2-time Academy Award winning composer. 

Roger says working with the maestro was “fascinating”. “I was delighted by his flexibility and ear for sound. He knew exactly what he wanted. It was a happy collaboration.” The feeling was certainly mutual – Hans Zimmer said “Roger is, without exaggeration, an extraordinary artist, whose humanity shines in the impeccable artistry that flows from his hands…”.

Roger has performed the Interstellar score in recitals around the world, but some venues – and indeed, their organs – are more special than others. An upcoming concert in Bristol’s St Mary Redcliffe – once described by Queen Elizabeth I as ‘the goodliest, fairest and most famous parish church in England’ – is particularly worthy of note. “The organ at St Mary Redcliffe is one of the finest of its kind in the UK. It’s built by the same organ company as Temple Church organ. Both are remarkable for their beauty of sound, variety of tonal colours, and power in their ‘belly’. But I think the Redcliffe organ is better than the Temple organ. To perform this score on an organ of this quality and in those magnificent surroundings is a real privilege.” 

Roger’s performance will also see him reminiscing about his work with Zimmer and there will be a chance for audience members to ask questions about his process. This event promises fascinating insight into the magic of film scoring and the legacy of Interstellar.

Tickets for Interstellar 10 on 8 Feb 2024 at Bristol’s St Mary Redcliffe Church are available from eventbrite on a ‘Pay What You Can’ system.

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