Assunta Spina

This is the cue sheet for our score to Assunta Spina, as commissioned by David Shepard and released by Kino Video. The score was compiled by Rodney Sauer, assisted by Susan M. Hall. All of the pieces are in the public domain, but the compilation, any modifications, and the recorded performances are copyright Mont Alto, ©2002.

We hope that making cue sheets for our silent film scores makes it easy for viewers to discover the names and composers of pieces that catch their attention, or to find pieces by photoplay music composers in whom they are interested.

Assunta Spina is a film that is closer in feel to an opera than to a Hollywood film, so for our compiled score we decided to avoid standard American "photoplay music" and rely where possible on European classical composers who were either Italian, or who wrote in an Italian style. The only name that would be readily recognized today is Jules Massenet, but the composers Cécile Chaminade and Carl Bohm were both quite popular in the teens, and were well-represented in the collections of silent film orchestra leaders.

The setting in Naples gave us our cue for the opening love theme--traditionally Italy is represented by music in 6/8 time, the tempo of the tarantella; and the beautiful Chanson d'Amour by Saar is flexible enough to be used for a variety of different scenes throughout the picture. One of Assunta's notable characteristics is her essentially practical attitude--no matter how events conspire against her (and they certainly do!) she's always willing to get on with her life and work with the situation she's been handed. The calm, sunny feel of the Chanson D'Amour underscores that essential optimism whenever it returns.

For two scenes involving sudden violence we relied on the work of "photoplay music" composers Gaston Borch and Henry Hough, as the classical literature is short on music that works as well for such scenes.

1. 1:00:00 At screening
Chanson D'Amour (Louis Victor Saar, 1912).

2. 02:46 "Rafaelle, Assunta's unlucky suitor..."
Canzonetta (D'Ambrosio, 1911).

3. 04:04 Father opens door
A Venitian Romance (J.S. Zamecnik, 1922).

4. 06:43 Cut to harbor
Canzonetta (D'Ambrosio, 1911).

5. 07:58 "Rafaelle's revenge"
Serenata No. 105 (Valentina Crespi, 1917).

6. 10:08 "Assunta's sweet eyes..."
Chanson D'Amour (Louis Victor Saar, 1912).

7. 12:35 "In Naples, the laundry..."
7a. Scarf Dance (Cécile Chaminade, 1918).
7b. Chanson D'Amour (Louis Victor Saar, 1912).
7c. Scarf Dance.

8. 15:08 "An outing to Posillippo"
A Venitian Romance (J.S. Zamecnik).

9. 18:41 "Jealousy flares up..."
Serenata No. 105 (Valentina Crespi, 1917).

10. 22:49 Michele stands up.
Canzone Triste (Paolo Conte, 1919).

11. 24:06 Cut to dancers.
La Zingana (Carl Bohm).

12. 25:53 Michele looks at Assunta.
Serenata No. 105 (Valentina Crespi, 1917).

13. 27:31 Michele shoves women.
Agitato Pathetique (Gaston Borch, 1922).

14. 28:40 Woman in black with white collar touches shoulder.
Agitato Pathetique (Gaston Borch, 1922).

15. 29:36 "The case against..."
Scènes Napolitaines (Jules Massenet).

16. 34:33 "The Sentence."
Canzone Triste (Paolo Conte, 1919).

17. 40:06 "Federigo kept his word."
Chanson D'Amour (Louis Victor Saar, 1912).

18. 41:50 Cut to inside laundry.
Canzonetta (D'Ambrosio, 1911).

19. 44:55 "It is now two days before Christmas..."
Le Chant des Bergers (R. de Boisdeffre, 1920).

20. 48:18 Cut to inside laundry
Seven Dramatic Tensions, #VI (Romance by Grunfeld, 1918).

21. 51:13 Assunta with plate
Chanson D'Amour (Louis Victor Saar, 1912).

22. 54:14 "Let me go! Let me go!"
Canzone Triste (Paolo Conte, 1919).

23. 54:43 Michele lunges at table.
Dramatic Agitato No. 1 (Henry Hough, 1918).

24. 59:41 Assunta touches table.
Canzonetta (D'Ambrosio, 1911).


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