Here at MAHMA, and on national concert tours, much interest has been garnered in the rejuvenation and musical scoring of rare vintage silent-era films, which for so long have been sitting lifeless in a vault hidden from view of the modern public. These valiant pieces of American film history, some as early as 1909, now have been brought to the attention of our public through live presentations of the films, paired with present-day musical scoring, breathing life into an era once forgotten...
Montgomery Arts House Composer-in-Residence, Maria Newman, has scored a major library of these rare and classic silent films.
Scott Hosfeld leads the Malibu Coast Silent Film Orchestra in vibrant and inviting performances of our not-so-silent films, bringing audiences not just concerts, EXPERIENCES!
Our Silent Movies are Not-So-Silent
As both a part of the regular Winter Season Kairos Musical Soirees, and the Annual Summer Season Malibu Coast Music Festival, classic feature length silent films and rare silent film shorts are screened regularly, always with world-class performances of original music live to the film.
Guests will recognize musical programs dedicated to these silent film screenings under the MAHMA in-house title of:
"A Night at the Not-So-Silent Movies." Be sure to further peruse all Kairos Musical Soiree chamber music scheduling, as well as the Malibu Coast Chamber Orchestra concert scheduling, as many rare vintage silent short films are paired in concert with other genres of musical programming, sure to provide concertgoers with: Not Just Concerts, EXPERIENCES!
Library of Silent Films Scored by Maria Newman
In 1997, American Composer Maria Newman was approached by Timeline Films President, Hugh Munro Neely, then Director of the Mary Pickford Library, to score the 1919 Mary Pickford silent classic film, Daddy Long Legs. A highly noted film historian and documentarian, Mr. Neely was interested in the music of Maria Newman for its distinctive voice, ceaseless energy, thematic and melodic continuity, and rich imagery, feeling that it would lend itself well to the breathing of new life back into silent classics of our great American film history.
Firstly a composer of concert music, Newman was reticent to take on this initial task. Sensitive to Newman's bold aesthetics in her own field of music and music-making, Neely assured the composer that her musical voice would be utilized as a collaborative force in the restoration (and subsequent DVD release of the film), rather than as a subordinate, giving Newman the freedom to write to the film as though it were indeed a commission for the concert stage.
Seeing the project possibilities in a new light, Newman eagerly rose to this task, savoring the idea that the vintage silents could be viewed in a highly modern, operatic fashion. The composer was able to give herself artistic permission for the characters, storyline and thematic development, both musical and literary, to take on an equal partnership, with both the visual and musical forces working in tandem in a way that had not really been explored in the past.
Newman was further taken with the notion that, just as poetry could be construed very differently by various readers, then so could the emotions, motivations and feelings of the characters in silent film. The music would not need to be wallpaper, nor live inside a box. Rather it would liberated to make a statement, an interpretation, one living composer's vision of what was put to film nearly 100 years earlier.
Newman felt this opportunity to be great gift, and is to this day, honored to have the continued privilege to compose music for the art of silent film. The Malibu Coast Silent Film Orchestra regularly performs Newman's fearless and vivid silent film works for delighted audiences throughout the United States, most of whom have never experienced silent films in the past.
Library of Vintage Silent Films Scored by Maria Newman
Daddy Long Legs (1919) Mary Pickford (as Judy Abbott) (Running Time: 85 minutes) For Piano Quintet and Percussion -or- Full Chamber Orchestra Commissioned by Timeline Films Released by Milestone Films
The Heart O' the Hills (1919) Mary Pickford (as Mavis Hawn) (Running Time: 87 minutes) Directed by Marshall Neilan for First Nationl Attractions For String Quartet and Percussion -or- String Orchestra, Piano and Percussion Commissioned by Timeline Films Released by Milestone Films
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1917) Mary Pickford (as Rebecca Randall) (Running Time: 78 minutes) Directed by Marshall Neilan For Flute, Two Violins, Viola, Cello, Piano and Percussion Commissioned by the Mary Pickford Institute and Grand Performances, Los Angeles
The Love Light (1921) Mary Pickford (as Angela) (Running Time: 89 minutes) Directed by Frances Marion Produced by United Artists For Piano Quartet Commissioned by Timeline Films Released by Milestone Films
Quality Street (1927) Marion Davies Conrad Nagel (Running Time: 110 minutes) Produced by Marion Davies For Flute, Harp, Piano Quintet and Percussion Commissioned by the Annenberg Foundation Special Thanks to Robert Board
Tom Sawyer (1917) Jack Pickford (as Tom) (Running Time: 45 minutes) For Flute, Violin and Percussion -or- String Quartet Commissioned by the Library of Moving Images
Cinderella (1914) Mary Pickford (as Cinderella) Owen Moore (as Prince Charming) (Running Time: 52 minutes) Directed by James Kirkwood Famous Players Film Co. For Chamber Orchestra -or- Piano Quintet and Percussion Commissioned by the Omaha Conservatory of Music Mr. Wu (1927) Lon Chaney (as Mr. Wu) (Running Time: 92 minutes) Produced by MGM For Piano Quartet and Percussion -or- Chamber Orchestra Commissioned by Turner Classic Movies
The Gibson Goddess (1909) Marion Leonard (as the Gibson Goddess) Mary Pickford (as an extra) (Running Time: 9 minutes) For Violin, Viola and Piano -or- Cello Quintet -or- String Orchestra -or- Chamber Orchestra Commissioned by the Omaha Conservatory of Music
What the Daisy Said (1910) Mary Pickford Owen Moore (Running Time: 12 minutes) Directed by D.W. Griffith for the American Biograph Company For String Quartet -or- Solo Piano -or- String Orchestra -or- Chamber Orchestra Commissioned by the Icicle Creek Music Center and Timeline Films Released by Milestone Films
Ramona (1910) Mary Pickford (as Ramona) (Running Time: 17 minutes) Directed by D.W. Griffith American Biograph Company For Violin, Piano and Percussion -or- Viola, Piano and Percussion -or- Cello, Piano and Percussion Released by Milestone Film and Video Commissioned by Turner Classic Movies and the Mary Pickford Institute Willful Peggy (1910) Mary Pickford (as Peggy) (Running Time: 12 minutes) Directed by D.W. Griffith American Biograph Company For Piano Quartet -or- String Orchestra and Piano Commissioned by the Young Musicians Foundation As it is in Life (1910) Mary Pickford (Running Time: 12 minutes) Directed by D.W. Griffith American Biograph Company For Soprano, Flute, Viola, and Piano -or- Violin, Viola, Cello and Piano Commissioned by the Family of Mary Lofdahl
Tender Hearts (1909) Mary Pickford (Running Time: 3 and 1/2 minutes) Directed by D.W. Griffith American Biograph Company For Violin, Viola, Piano and Percussion -or- Viola, Piano and Percussion -or- Cello, Piano and Percussion Commissioned by the Malibu Friends of Music Dedicated to Elaina Archer They Would Elope (1909) Mary Pickford Billy Quirk (Running Time: 12 minutes) Directed by D.W. Griffith American Biograph Company For Piano Quartet and Percussion Commissioned by the Malibu Friends of Music The Dream (1911) Mary Pickford (as Nell) Owen Moore (Running Time: 12 minutes) Independent Moving Picture Company (IMP) For Wind Ensemble and Percussion -or- Chamber Orchestra, Piano and Percussion -or- Woodwind Quintet and Percussion -or- Piano, Violin, Viola and Percussion Commissioned by the Sierra Symphony Orchestra
Many of the vintage silent films shown under the auspices of the Malibu Coast Silent Film Series feature:
"America's Sweetheart:" Mary Pickford
"The Man of a Thousand Faces" Lon Chaney
"The Gibson Girl" Marion Leonard
The inimitable Jack Pickford
The Hilarious Jack Gilbert
...and the brilliant and beautiful: Marion Davies
The Malibu Coast Silent Film Orchestra
Always bringing you world-class performances of original music live to the film, musicians from near and far gather at MAHMA to comprise the Malibu Coast Silent Film Orchestra.
The Malibu Friends of Music is grateful to:
The Annenberg Foundation
Hearst Castle San Simeon, California
The Annenberg Beach House Santa Monica, California
The City of Malibu
The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival Wendy Eidson, Executive Director
Elaina B. Archer, Director of Archives and Legacy for the Mary Pickford Foundation
The Mary Pickford Library
Mr. Keith Lawrence
Grand Performances, Los Angeles
The Downtown Alliance of Des Moines, Iowa
Mr. Robert Board
SPaCE Salon Wendy Prober, Executive Director
Turner Classic Movies
Hugh Munro Neely Timeline Films
Omaha Conservatory of Music
The Malibu Arts Commission
Yakima Symphony Orchestra Association Washington State
The Mary Lofdahl Family
Trans Nebraska Players
Pepperdine Collegium Musicum N. Lincoln Hanks, Director
Dennis Doros Milestone Films
Christopher M. Allport Allport Productions
Malibu Film Society
Pasadena Film Festival
Rancho Camulos Ramona Days Piru, California
The Sierra Summer Festival Mammoth Lakes, California
Malibu High School
Portola School Los Angeles, California
for their gracious facilitation of this fabulous music-silent film partnership!
..and many more
Silent Film Music Leadership Supporters
Scores have been commissioned by: The Annenberg Foundation, The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival The Mary Pickford Institute, Timeline Films, Viklarbo Chamber Ensemble, The Malibu Friends of Music, Luther College Dorian Festival, Omaha Conservatory of Music, Icicle Creek Music Center, Central Washington University, The Family of Mary Lofdahl, Milestone Films, A&F Productions, Sierra Summer Festival Symphony Orchestra, Grand Performances Los Angeles, and Turner Classic Movies.