Monday, February 1, 2010

Opera Selections

This week's "Music for the Picture" column is once again a grab bag. It opens with a letter on using opera selections to accompany the films. The writer also makes a comment that most people in the audience seem unaware of the music, which prompts Sinn to argue that just because an audience seems not to paying attention to the music doesn't mean that the music is not affecting them, even deeply.

The remainder of the column is taken up with a plug for a collection of appropriate numbers for organ (Moving Picture World had been carrying an ad for the collection) and suggestions for music to three war films.

The following was crowded out of my last letter through lack of space: “Dear Sir: I always find your articles and department in general a great help in settling the question, ‘What shall I play for the picture.’ Even though I know for a certainty that three-fourths of the patrons of our theater are utterly oblivious to the music, for the other fourth, I feature every possible situation and climax in each picture as much for my own satisfaction as anything else.

“I agree with Miss Ditmar, in the February 1st number, in regard to opera selections; they are my especial hobby. I might suggest that in addition to those Miss Ditmar cites, the most of which I have used to advantage, the following are equally excellent: Little Boy Blue, Rose Maid, Spring Maid, The Firefly, The Love Cure, Oh, Oh, Delphine, Under Many Flags, Hanky Panky, Count of Luxembourg, He Cam From Milwaukee, Mlle. Modiste, Lady of the Slipper, and The Red Rose. Also the overtures, Pique Dame, Jolly Robbers, La Boheme,and Madame Butterfly. Fraternally, G. Warner Metcalfe, Grand Theater, Holyoke, Mass.”

Mr. Metcalfe says that though a majority of his audience may be oblivious to the music, he plays for the minority as well as for his own satisfaction. This is the right spirit. But very often a great part of the oblivious majority may sense the fitness of the musical accompaniment without being aware of it. Anyhow it is pretty generally understood that the music should never be so prominent as to detract from the picture, but should at all times be made subservient to it. For that reason many patrons may not always notice the music in particular unless there is something wrong with it. And, after all, a musician’s greatest satisfaction is found in his own approval of his work.

* * *

Organists, of whom the number employed in moving picture theaters is constantly increasing, will be delighted with the new book of organ music published by Meyer & Bro., 77 W. Washington Street, Chicago, Ill. I have examined this book and can vouch for the excellent quality of its musical contents and their adaptability to moving picture work.

* * *

The militant spirit seemed to predominate among the feature films viewed last week. Here are suggestions for music to three most excellent war pictures—every one a feature:

“The Woe of Battle” (Kalem).
  1. Heavy hurry (for battle), p. and f. until title: “General Green Makes Headquarters, etc.”
  2. “Flight of the Birds” (by Rice, pub. Walter Jacobs) until title: “You Are My Brother’s Murderer.”
  3. Short sentimental—one scene.
  4. Short march until title: “A Broken Heart.”
  5. Pathetic music for one scene.
  6. Long heavy, hurry (for battle) until hospital scene.
  7. Plaintive until title: “Love’s Last Farewell.”
  8. “The Vacant Chair,” very pathetic until close of picture.

“The Retreat From Moscow” (Pathe).
(Courtesy William E. King.)
Part First.
  1. “Russian National Hymn” until title: “Napoleon, To Inflame the Courage, etc.”
  2. “Marsellaise” (short) until change of scene.
  3. Hurry (for battle) until man is brought to general; then subdue until change of scene.
  4. Agitato p. and f. until title: “After the Battle.”
  5. “Reine de Sabe” (March by Gounod) once through, then:
  6. “Festmarsch from Tannheuser” [sic] until end of reel.

Second Part.
  1. Storm scene from “William Tell” (long) until officers come out of the Krimlin [sic].
  2. “Partant Pour la Syrie” (French song) until change.
  3. Agitato p. and f. until title: “The Incendiaries.”
  4. Solemn (for execution) until title: “Napoleon, Fearing the Russian Winter.”
  5. “Marsellaise” until title: “The Grand Army Pursued by the Russians.”
  6. “Partant Pour la Syrie” until title: “The Cossacks harass the Retreating Army.”
  7. Second movement “Halka” overture until peasants attack straggling soldiers.
  8. Short agitato until change of scene.
  9. “Partant Pour la Syrie” until title: “At Last Getting the Remnant of His Army.”
  10. “Marsellaise” until end of picture.
* * *

“Pauline Cushman, the Federal Spy” (Selig).
Part First.
  1. Third Movement of “Raymond Overture” pp. until title: “The Toast.”
  2. “It Is Better to Laugh Than Be Sighing” (from “La Traviata”) until title: “Here’s to Jeff Davis and the Southern Confederacy.”
  3. “Dixie” until change of scene.
  4. Introduction to “Pique Dame” overture pp. until title: “In the South.”
  5. “Bonnie Blue Flag” until title: “Pauline is Overheard.”
  6. Short agitato until back to camp scene, then:
  7. “Bonnie Blue Flag” again pp. until change of scene.
  8. Semi-mysterious (similar to No. 4; long) until “Holmes Informs Rosecrans.”
  9. “Military March” mf, and p. to action until she crawls out from under tent.
  10. Agitato p. and f. according to action until she discards drum and rides away.
  11. Hurry; begin p. and increase with action until she enters Union camp.
  12. “Yankee Doodle” until end of Part First.
Part Second.
  1. Short March until she is left alone in second scene.
  2. Mysterious through next three scenes until she takes officers arm and exits.
  3. Ling semi-mysterious with military suggestions; similar to second movement in “Halka” overture or “Lady Moon” song from Bohemian Girl played in march tempo until old negro left along in room.
  4. Mysterious semi-agitato until title, “The Confederate Ambush.”
  5. March, “Gate City” (Weldon); subdue while writing is seen; play until she is seen in cane brake.
  6. Agitato p. and f. At tinted scene change to:
  7. Hurry (for battle) p. and f. until title: “General Rosencrans Honors Pauline.”
  8. March, until end of picture.
Source: Clarence E. Sinn, “Music for the Picture,” Moving Picture World 5 April 1913, 56.