Musical accompaniment of films entered a new era as a dramaturgic practice in 1914, thanks to the world-wide success of Cabiria. Giovanni Pastrone’s ‘Dannunzian’ film played an important role in the creation of moving picture orchestras and synchronised scores. Manlio Mazza’s compiled score paved the way to the comparable orchestral accompaniment of D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation (1915), written by Joseph Carl Breil. Nevertheless, scholars have paid insufficient attention to Mazza’s score, which has been overshadowed by the famous Sinfonia del fuoco by Ildebrando Pizzetti. The latter has been frequently associated with the sacrificial scene in the temple of Moloch and, thus, has been used in modern exhibitions of the film. Despite this spread interpretation, it is important to note that Pizzetti did not write his symphony to score this scene. The misunderstanding leading to this association is due on the one hand to an aesthetic assumption, perhaps a bias, against the practice of compiled scores and, on the other, to some incomprehension concerning the restoration process of this film. In this article I re-examine the vexata quaestio of the relationship between the film and Pizzetti’s Sinfonia del fuoco, by analysing the 1931 sound reissue of Cabiria, which featured a newly composed score by Luigi Avitabile and José Ribas. The latter’s accompaniment of the temple of Moloch scene, including a chorus and a baritone soloist (as in the Sinfonia del fuoco), explains beyond any reasonable doubt the origin of the misplacement of Pizzetti’s piece, and why it has dragged on for so long.

Dalla ‘compilazione d’autore’ al ‘poema lirico-sinfonico’. La musica per la versione sonorizzata di Cabiria (1931) / E. Sala. - In: ARCHIVIO D’ANNUNZIO. - ISSN 2421-4213. - 4:(2017), pp. 139-154. [10.14277/2421-292X/AdA-4-17-11]

Dalla ‘compilazione d’autore’ al ‘poema lirico-sinfonico’. La musica per la versione sonorizzata di Cabiria (1931)

E. Sala
2017

Abstract

Musical accompaniment of films entered a new era as a dramaturgic practice in 1914, thanks to the world-wide success of Cabiria. Giovanni Pastrone’s ‘Dannunzian’ film played an important role in the creation of moving picture orchestras and synchronised scores. Manlio Mazza’s compiled score paved the way to the comparable orchestral accompaniment of D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation (1915), written by Joseph Carl Breil. Nevertheless, scholars have paid insufficient attention to Mazza’s score, which has been overshadowed by the famous Sinfonia del fuoco by Ildebrando Pizzetti. The latter has been frequently associated with the sacrificial scene in the temple of Moloch and, thus, has been used in modern exhibitions of the film. Despite this spread interpretation, it is important to note that Pizzetti did not write his symphony to score this scene. The misunderstanding leading to this association is due on the one hand to an aesthetic assumption, perhaps a bias, against the practice of compiled scores and, on the other, to some incomprehension concerning the restoration process of this film. In this article I re-examine the vexata quaestio of the relationship between the film and Pizzetti’s Sinfonia del fuoco, by analysing the 1931 sound reissue of Cabiria, which featured a newly composed score by Luigi Avitabile and José Ribas. The latter’s accompaniment of the temple of Moloch scene, including a chorus and a baritone soloist (as in the Sinfonia del fuoco), explains beyond any reasonable doubt the origin of the misplacement of Pizzetti’s piece, and why it has dragged on for so long.
Musical Dramaturgy. Film music. Silent cinema. Early sound cinema
Settore L-ART/07 - Musicologia e Storia della Musica
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/785898
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