British animator brings giant of Russian music back to life

A prominent British animator, Barry JC Purves, got so inspired by Russian classical music that he is now shooting a whole animated movie about famous composer Petr Tchaikovksy.

RT caught up with him at his Moscow study to find out how one small puppet could make a music giant come back to life.

The 13-minute cartoon is dedicated to Tchaikovksy’s personal life and work.

“It was a challenge to make a film about this beautiful music,” Purves told RT. “Tchaikovsky was a very complex man, but I like tormented characters. It makes for good drama.”

Still, staging a cartoon about a musical genius proved to be quite a challenge for the animator.

“Most of the music is piano music which we had played especially for us in the Moscow Conservatory,” Purves said. “But as the animator, I had to learn to play the piano myself. That was a lot of work.”

Among other things, Purves had to make an enormous effort to film a puppet playing the piano.

“I literally move him 25 times for a second of film,” Purves said. “When he’s playing a piano, it’s a nightmare. A good day’s work is maybe 11 seconds of the film.”

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