Rodney Sauer, piano; Britt Swenson, violin; David Short, cello; Brian Collins, clarinet; Dawn Kramer, trumpet
The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, a chamber quintet from Louisville Colorado, has a world-wide reputation for recreating the art of silent film music as it was played in movie theaters of the day. They compiled and performed their first film score in 1994, and since then have scored over 140 silent films for performances and recordings. Their large, full sound belies their small size (piano, violin, cello, clarinet, and trumpet), due to the talent of the arrangers of this repertoire of music and the chamber music experience of their musicians. Mont Alto’s 2017 album, Entreaty, was chosen as the “Album of the Week” for June 11, 2018, by KDFC Classical Radio in San Francisco.
The vast, forgotten repertoire of “photoplay music” was once the most commonly heard music in the world, but disappeared with the advent of sound films. The composers in this genre treated it seriously, as a new venue for classical composition. The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra has attended the San Francisco Silent Film Festival annually since 2007, but this will be their first San Francisco appearance in concert as a chamber ensemble. In this concert, Mont Alto will focus on the artistry, emotion, and breadth of the repertoire, and introduce long-neglected composers (including Henry Hadley, the first conductor of the San Francisco Symphony).