Nathan der Weise – Silent Movie Manfred Noa (1922)
with Organ Improvisation
Wolfgang Seifen, organ
After World War II, it was long believed that Manfred Noa’s 1922 silent-movie adaption of the play Nathan the Wise had been lost. In 2006 a copy found in Moscow was painstakingly restored by the Munich Film Museum. The silent movie is the first ever screen adaptation of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing’s drama. Nathan is one of the main works of the Age of Enlightenment, a powerful plea in favour of tolerance, humanity and freedom of opinion. Set in the age of the crusades, it deals with the relations between the three monotheistic religions. Lessing includes the historical figure of Sultan Saladin, the Jewish merchant Nathan is a portrait of his friend, the renowned philosopher Moses Mendelssohn – when the play was published in 1779, this was considered breaching a taboo. Even in the 21st century Nathan the Wise has lost nothing of its burning currency. The silent movie will be shown at St. Jakob Stadtpfarrkirche Villach as part of the recital series Organ plus…
Wolfgang Seifen, one of the leading experts in organ improvisation, will accompany the film. The eminent organist and composer is a professor of organ improvisation at Berlin University of the Arts and titular organist of Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche in Berlin.