The Wishing Ring

This is the cue sheet for our score to The Wishing Ring, as commissioned by David Shepard and released by Image 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, the modifications to fit the film, and the recorded performances are copyright Mont Alto, ©2002.

Being a whimsical comedy set in Old England, I wanted the music for this score to have the lilting feel of an old English play. English folk music has a famously straightforward, simple quality as well, and a strong "amateur" musician tradition that differs from the "professional" music traditions in some other European countries. The English amateur musician is mercilessly skewered in this film, as every one of the on-screen performances elicits cringes and grimaces from the listeners -- requiring Mont Alto to give some of the most excruciating performances we've ever committed to tape. These ARE intentional!

For the other basic background music I have relied for the most part on English composers who composed for the English light opera and the silent screen.

1. At Screening
Country Gardens (Grainger, 1919)
As the four beautiful girls enter and perform a simple country dance hey figure, we quote this old English folk song that lists the charms and flowers of an English garden. This tune is also used as a Morris dance tune, so it seemed appropriate for the maypole dance and the closing scenes as well.

2. "Miss Vivian"
Pomponello (Ernest Golden, 1920)
The rapid introduction of the major characters suggests that we play snippets of themes for each. Our theme for the fair heroine recalls light English concert music of the 1900s.

3. "Alec B. Frances"
La Cinquantaine (Gabriel-Marie, 1922)
Gabriel-Marie was a French composer born in 1852. His dramatic works were always popular among cue-sheet composers for the silent film, but this "air dans le style ancien" was his most popular orchestral piece. Our Earl is a classic comic-opera conservative fuddy-duddy, and a suitably grumpy theme seemed called for.

4. "Chester Barnett
Budding Spring (Eugene Platzmann, 1919)
Another theme in the English light-classical vein, although Mr. Platzmann is likely to have been an American composer and orchestrated several ragtime pieces for dance orchestras.

5. "Giles Bateson and his fellow students"
Sounds from England-Hearts of Oak (arr. Otto Langey, 1901)
Otto Langey, an English cellist, arranged this long medley of English folk songs. We've borrowed "Hearts of Oak" and "The Bay of Biscay" as drinking songs, played in a style suggested by the reaction of the poor people trying to sleep.

6. Woman in bed sits up
Sounds from England-The Bay of Biscay (arr. Otto Langey, 1901)

7. Student climbs on table
Dramatic Hurry (O'Hare, 1920)

8. Maid with pitcher
Poor Relations (Theo Bendix, 1899)
Theo Bendix is another English composer who wrote many useful pieces in a variety of styles for the small orchestra. This piece suggests the uncomfortable position our hero is in, but maintains comic undertones.

9. Dad in shaving cream
Budding Spring (Eugene Platzmann, 1919)

10a. Giles hits head
Dramatic Andante #24 (Gaston Borch, 1916)

10b Segue
Tit Willow (Arthur Sullivan)
Again, from the Earl's reaction, this is an earnest performance by a flawed amateur. Brian's usual instrument is the clarinet, and this flute performance may indicate why...

11. Earl hits table.
At the Ball Masqué: Pierrot's Sadness (Wilson G. Smith, 1920).
Wilson Smith was a composer and music critic in Cleveland, Ohio, who wrote several charming suites of music that were orchestrated by J.S. Zamecnik. This funereal march underscores the black mood of a man brought low enough to kick a dog.

12. "Be it ever so humble"
Budding Spring (Eugene Platzmann, 1919)

13a. "The little rose thief"
Poor Relations (Theo Bendix, 1899)

13b segue
Pomponello (Ernest Golden, 1920)

14. Giles leading Sally
A Simple Love Episode (Herbert Haines, 1922)
We've only found five pieces written by English composer Herbert Haines for the silent films, and they're all brilliant. This is one of the sweetest little love themes in our arsenal.

15. Giles and Sally sitting
A Simple Love Episode (Herbert Haines, 1922)

16. "The next day is wash day."
Pomponello (Ernest Golden, 1920)

17. Earl at desk
La Cinquantaine (Gabriel-Marie, 1922)

18. Sally plays piano
Jerusalem, arr. R. Sauer.
This hymn, which starts "And did those feet in ancient times," is a rather Anglo-centric song about recreating God's holy land in England. It seemed a logical song for our parson's daughter. It also has comic undertones for a recent generation of Americans, as the song to be sung while standing in a fish tank to induce mattress-salesman Graham Chapman to remove a bucket from his head.

19. Giles Applauds
Fragrance (Charles Ancliffe, 1920)

20. Gypsy camp
Gypsy Songs #1 (Antonin Dvorak).
The gypsies are a rather threatening bunch in this film, generally popping into the frame from unexpected directions, so we chose this rather dark "Gypsy Song" by Dvorak for the wishing ring's theme. The music recurs (wherever practical) when the "wishes" are made, to suggest that its magic is an exotic, foreign, and dangerous thing to meddle with.

21. Giles with pipe.
Pomponette (Percy Smale, 1921)

22. Sally sitting looking down.
Gypsy Songs #1 (Anton Dvorak, 1914).

23. Earl
La Cinquantaine (Gabriel-Marie, 1922)

24a. "The good folks of the village"
Country Gardens (Grainger, 1919)

24b. Sally almost sits the second time
Budding Spring

25. Giles and Sally
Fragrance (Charles Ancliffe, 1920)

26. Sally and Dad
La Cinquantaine (Gabriel-Marie, 1922)

27. Sally and Earl
Pomponello (Ernest Golden, 1920)

28. Playing chess
Pomponello (Ernest Golden, 1920)

29. Giles and letter
Love's Enchantment (Irene Varley, 1919)

30a. "Grieved by the suffering"
Rest (Gaston Borch, 1917)

30b. Segue
Gypsy Songs #1 (Anton Dvorak, 1914).

31. Earl and photo
La Forêt Perfide (Gabriel-Marie, 1919).

32. "The next morning."
Misterioso Agitato #66 (Harold Smith, 1917)

33. The first man steps
Melancolie (Th. Bubeck)

34. "Your little friend."
Misterioso Agitato #66 (Harold Smith, 1917)

35. Bedroom interior
Pomponello (Ernest Golden, 1920)

36. Fade to wedding
Country Gardens (Grainger, 1919)

THE END.

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