The Pioneers of Movie Music
A SPECTACULAR 74-MINUTE SALUTE TO AMERICA’S FIRST FILM COMPOSERS
A ‘MUST-HAVE’ FOR ALL CLASSIC MOVIE AND HOLLYWOOD BUFFS!
INCLUDES A 52-PAGE ILLUSTRATED BOOKLET
THE PIONEERS OF MOVIE MUSIC: SOUNDS OF THE AMERICAN SILENT CINEMA
(New World Records 80761-2):
Performed by the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra (19-piece version), Rick Benjamin conductor.
A PIONEERING DISC IS READY FOR ITS CLOSE-UP, MR. DEMILLE (headline)
“…masterful character pieces full of melodic intrigue.”
– Limelight magazine (Australia)
“What a wonderful surprise this album is. The music is grandiose and expressive….
A wonderful and important collection….”
– Audiophile Audition
The motion picture is without doubt one of the most powerful art and entertainment forms in human history. And few would argue with the fact that a vital element of every film is its music: indeed, many hit movies owe a large part of their success to their musical “scores.”
Since the advent of sound films (i.e. “talking pictures”) in the late 1920s, movie music was usually preserved on the films themselves, and can still be readily experienced in screenings and via DVDs and the Internet. On the other hand, the authentic soundscape of the so-called “silent era” is hardly available at all. Yet the amazing fact is that the nearly the entire “language” of film music as we know it today developed during the silent film era; there was — and still exists in the form of written scores — a vast and beautiful repertoire of film music created by talented composers during the 1910s and ’20s. But until now, virtually none of this important and fascinating music has been available on recordings.
Into this surprising historical void comes this album, which presents for the first time the original scores of America’s pioneer film composers, including William Axt, Maurice Baron, Irénée Bergé, Gaston Borch, M.L. Lake, Erno Rapée, Hugo Riesenfeld, Victor L. Schertzinger, J.S. Zamecnik, and 8 others. The 28 pieces are sequenced so as to lead listeners into creating their own imaginary “daydream movie” as the CD is played.
This album also includes a fascinating 52-page booklet exploring the world of silent film music: the widespread use of cinema orchestras, the methods for scoring (“setting”) the films (“photoplays”), period performance techniques, and the influence of brilliant music loving exhibitors like the great Roxy (Samuel L. Rothafel). Detailed biographies of the composers are also included, most for the first time anywhere. The rare original film orchestrations recorded have been selected from the Capitol Theater’s 1,000–title collection of c. 1912 to 1928 cinema scores, played by one of the world’s leading silent film accompanists — the Paragon (Ragtime) Orchestra, conducted by Rick Benjamin.
Produced by multi-Grammy Award winning “Classical Producer of the Year” Judith Sherman, THE PIONEERS OF MOVIE MUSIC is a spectacular salute to the men and music that have added so much of the magic to the silver screen.
OF RELATED INTEREST:
Paragon’s special silent film DVD editions