Sunday, October 06, 2013

Striking a New Note 2013: Our Gang comedies No Noise and Crazy House, music played live by the children of Cordenons and Pordenone

A colpi di note / Striking a New Note 2013
Viewed at Teatro Verdi (Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, Pordenone), with e-titles in English and Italian, 6 Oct 2013

A project by Mediateca Pordenone di Cinemazero; with the support of Banca Popolare FriulAdria-Crédit Agricole.

Emanuela Gobbo: "This year marks the 7th edition of “Striking a New Note”, a project created by the synergy between Cinemazero and the Centro Storico Secondary School in Pordenone, represented by Maria Luisa Sogaro, the teacher who devised and organized the project. It is also the third year of the partnership with the Leonardo da Vinci Secondary School in Cordenons."

"This year we are featuring two shorts from the “Little Rascals” (“Our Gang”) series. The series was started in 1922 by Hal Roach, but is perhaps better known in Italy in the sound version from the 1940s. Among the many films suggested by Cinemazero, the Leonardo da Vinci School chose No Noise. In what is actually a rather “noisy” film, Mickey, Farina, and the rest of the gang get up to their fun and games in a hospital, playing pranks on the staff, who give as good as they get."

"This year’s project started last December with a series of preparatory theoretical lessons on silent cinema, in particular on musical accompaniment to comedy, for five classes in the school. These were conducted by qualified teachers: Manlio Piva, Rudy Zugno, Silvia Moras, and Denis Pinese. The laboratory work started in January, involving the Second E class during their compulsory curriculum hours for music."

"Our accompaniment is based on cakewalk and two-step arrangements by George Cobb and Scott Joplin, but also includes original pieces composed partly by the teachers and partly by the students themselves. Faithful to jazz tradition, our band is made up of a woodwind melodic section (soprano and contralto recorders, saxophone, and clarinet) and a rhythm section (piano, xylophone, metallophone, glockenspiel, and guitars). No such enterprise would be complete without a percussion/sound effects section, with the demanding job of lending emphasis to the comic action." – Emanuela Gobbo

Maria Luisa Sogaro: "I remember my encounter a few years ago in Sacile with Baby Peggy and her extraordinary performances. Then, in Pordenone, my incredible musical encounters at the film shows with Jean Darling, ever-present with her lively wit – it was there that I learned to love the Baby Stars. We finally got hold of a copy of Crazy House and went straight to work. What we do has always had two objectives: to introduce our students to the silent comedy masterpieces and bring them back to life with a musical accompaniment suitable to the film and to the group’s performing ability."

"After the childhood-world adaptations of Stravinsky and Schumann, we have come up with a reworking of Shostakovich’s “Dances of the Dolls”. The “Lyric Waltz” is Jean’s theme, evoked by the timbre of the flute; “Hurdy-Gurdy” is the theme of the child-toy; the “Jocular Waltz” is the theme of the Crazy House; and the Polka accompanies the April Fool’s Day Dinner."

"For the Baby Gang theme we revisited Enrico Bormioli’s polytonal “Girotondo dei bimbi”, a ring-around-the-rosy dance published in the journal Antologia Musicale in December 1930."

"Our group is bigger this year, but some of its members are near the end of this particular road because they’ll soon be starting high school. As always, we’ve put our hearts into it and have gotten a lot of pleasure from it. We hope you do the same!" – Maria Luisa Sogaro

NO NOISE (Hal Roach, US 1923) D: Robert F. McGowan; story: Hal Roach; intertitles: H. M. Walker; C: Mickey Daniels (Mickey), Joe Cobb (Joe), Jackie Condon (Jackie), Jack Davis (Jack), Allen “Farina” Hoskins (Farina), Mary Kornman (Mary), Ernest Morrison (Ernie), Beth Darlington (infermiera di Mickey/Mickey’s nurse), Lincoln Stedman, Charles Stevenson, Charley Young (medici/physicians), Helen Gilmore, Clara Guiol (infermiere/nurses), Charles A. Bachman (agente/officer); rel: 23.9.1923; DCP (transferred from a 16 mm diacetate print), 24'35"; source: Lobster Films, Paris. English intertitles.

Musical accompaniment: Orchestra Istituto Comprensivo di Cordenons Direzione/Conductor: Emanuela Gobbo
Rumoristi/Sound effects: Nicholas Braidich, Endrit Kryeziu, Leonardo
Ret, Alessandro Rosalen
Chitarre/Guitars: Andrea Corazza, Federico De Santi Percussioni/Percussion: Thomas Dalla Bona, Patrick Del Pup, Cleiton Zadi
Sax alto/Alto saxophone: Michele Dalla Bona, Francesco Zoccolan Clarinetti (soprani e contralti)/Clarinets (soprano & alto): Elisa Badin, Isabel Ara, Aya Dazia, Erisa Delaj, Michela Gaetani, Giulia Grigolon, Ashley Mejia, Aurora Pavan
Pianoforte/Piano: Samuel Serban

CRAZY HOUSE (Hal Roach, US 1928) D: Robert F. McGowan; intertitles: H. M. Walker; DP: Art Lloyd; ED: Richard C. Currier; C: Jean Darling (Jean), Joe Cobb (Joe), Jackie Condon (Jackie), Allen “Farina” Hoskins (Farina), Bobby “Wheezer” Hutchins (Wheezer), Mary Ann Jackson (Mary Ann), Jay R. Smith (Percy), Joseph W. Girard (suo padre/Percy’s father), Eric Mayne (l’amico del padre di Percy/friend of Percy’s father), May Wallace (la madre di Jean/Jean’s mother), Charles A. Bachman (agente/officer), Ed Brandenburg (operaio/workman), Pete the Pup (Pansy); rel: 2.6.1928; DVD, 20'25"; source: Cinemazero, Pordenone. English intertitles, German subtitles.

Viewed at Teatro Verdi (Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, Pordenone), with e-titles in English and Italian, grand piano: XX, XX Oct 2013

Musical accompaniment: Orchestra Istituto Comprensivo di Pordenone Centro Direzione/Conductor: Maria Luisa Sogaro
Flauto traverso/Transverse flute: Andrea Magris Glockenspiel soprano/Soprano glockenspiel: Annalisa Parisi Glockenspiel contralto/Alto glockenspiel: Margherita Romano
Flauti dolci soprani e tenori/Soprano and tenor recorders: Margherita Ceppi, Giulio Favot, Giovanni Lunardelli, Kwabena Owusu Ansah, Leonardo Palumbo, Andrea Peressin, Mirko Pesut, Tommaso Piccolo, Claudio Romano, Matteo Sanson, Tommaso Spadari
Xilofono soprano e contralto, steeldrum/Soprano & alto xylophone, steel drum: Alessia Di Rosa, Nadia Perosa, Edoardo Rossi, Angela Tardio
Xilofono basso/Bass xylophone: Sara Mozzon
Chitarre/Guitars: Andrea Di Terlizzi, Valdo Reini, Emanuele Savoia
Pianoforte/Piano: Irene Cannizzaro, Federico Raffin
Rumoristi/Sound effects: Helena Avetisjan, Giorgia Basile, Elisa D’Arenzo, Anduela Dervishaj, Yousri Garraoui, Jeanne Lebossé, Francesco Lutman, Deborah Muhigirwa, Anna Mutuale, Francesca Simoni

David Robinson: "At this year’s now traditional meeting with the Giornate’s unfading resident star and legend, Jean Darling will welcome as her special guests the children’s orchestras who will have just played for her 1928 comedy Crazy House. The film was one of Hal Roach’s “Our Gang” series, and elegant, exquisite 6-year-old Jean is the poor-little-rich-girl who longs to play with the rough-necks of the Gang who menace the street outside. She succeeds thanks to the booby-trapped party given by the poor-little-rich-boy next door."

AA: Two Our Gang comedies. - No Noise takes place at the hospital with gags involving castor oil mixed with syrup, a skeleton, X-ray machine (the little girl's stomach full of weird metal objects), laughing gas, chloroform, electric shocks, ice cream and doctors scaring the kids away with saws, skulls, and skeletons. - Crazy House is about a "poor little rich girl" (Jean Darling) throwing an April Fool's Day party. The house has been wired, and there are trick chairs, wind machines, electric jolts in the piano, kicking suits of armour, a water-sprouting frog, inedible food, and a leaking water glass. Jean tells her mama's friend "I heard mama say you were two faced". Her wish: "Send me a baby brother", and confession: "I wanna be a boy".

The music by the schoolchildren was delightful, and the event was once again a highlight of the Festival.

It's a time machine to participate in a film concert in the presence of a star of a film made 85 years ago, Jean Darling, with music played by children who we hope will see the 22th century.

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