LA 12 PM | NY 3 PM | UK 8 PM
Compiling Silent Film Scores from Historic Photoplay Music with Rodney Sauer
Rodney Sauer studied at the Oberlin Conservatory while majoring in Chemistry at Oberlin College. While obtaining a Masters Degree in Chemistry at the University of Colorado, he started the Mont Alto Ragtime and Tango Orchestra as a 1910s-era dance music ensemble. But after encountering a large archive of "photoplay music" at the university’s music archives, he started using it to compile small-orchestra silent film scores. His five-piece chamber ensemble was renamed “The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra,” and has become known for the quality of its film score compilations and performances.
Since then, Mr. Sauer has continued to enlarge his collection of silent film music, acquiring five different collections of orchestrations from historic theaters, keeping copies and donating the originals to the University of Colorado's American Music Research Center. These include collections from Montana, Indiana, Rhode Island, and most recently the Grauman Theatre library, originally from the Million Dollar and Metropolitan Theatres in Los Angeles.
Mr. Sauer has scored over 150 silent films, all using this historic music repertoire. The five-piece Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra tours the country, and regularly plays at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, the Telluride Film Festival, the Turner Classic Movies festival, and many others.
Mont Alto's recorded silent film scores can be heard on video releases from Kino-Lorber, the Criterion Collection, Flicker Alley, Lobster Films, Image Entertainment, Blackhawk Films, the Cohen Film Collection, Eureka Films, and on Turner Classic Movies.
Mont Alto has four self-released CDs. Entreaty was chosen as "Album of the Week" by KDFC Classical FM, in San Francisco, for the week of June 11, 2018, and still gets airplay on classical music stations around the country.
Mr. Sauer is also adept at solo and small-ensemble improvised silent film scores on piano and occasionally accordion, although Mont Alto is his major musical endeavor.
For more information about Mont Alto, and about compiled film score music, visit mont-alto.com.