Napoléon

(1980)

by Carl Davis

Description
Société Générale des Films (1927) Director: Abel Gance
Duration
333
Genres
Silent Film
Instrumentation
2(I+II=picc).2(II=ca).2(I=basset horn+cl in A.II=Ebcl+bcl+cl in A).2(II=cbsn) - 4.2.3.0 - timp(=perc) - perc(2): cyms/2susp.cym/BD+cym/tam-t/high gong/field drum/SD/tgl/tubeanvil/tamb/2 wdbl/whip/t.bells/cast/crot/TD - organ(=pno) - hurdy-gurdy - strings (8.6.4.4.2)
Commission

Commissioned by Thames Television

First Performance
1980, London
Availability

Full score and parts for hire

Programme Notes
Starring: Albert Dieudonné, Antonin Artaud, Gina Manès Director: Abel Gance Production Company: Société Générale de Films, France, 1927 Duration: 331 minutes Film Print: print of new restoration (2000) available from Photoplay Productions (Film Speed: 18-20 frames per second) Premiere with Davis's score: 1980, London Premiere of new restoration with revised score: 2000, London 46 Players: 2(=picc).2(=ca).2(=basset-horn+Acl.II=Ebcl+bcl+Acl).2(II=cbsn) - 4.2.3(I=atrbn).0 - timp(=perc) - perc(2) - organ - hurdy-gurdy - strings (mm 8.6.4.4.2) (an additional horn and trumpet player are recommended) Since Napoleon was first restored, close to its original length and with a new score, no praise for Gance's film has been too high. It has been performed all over the world at major film festivals, forcing a general reappraisal of silent cinema. Gance's panoply of innovative techniques range from attaching a camera to a horse, to the triptych where three projectors run simultaneously. The result is a gripping, emotional and vivid evocation of Bonaparte's early years leading up to the Italian campaign of 1 797. The new version (2000) restores to the film its original colour tints with improved picture quality and some newly discovered footage. Carl Davis's score is based on the classical and popular music of Napoleon's period, drawing in particular on Beethoven and French Revolutionary songs. Two striking themes recur throughout the film and bind the score together as a whole: The Eagle of Destiny and Josephine.

Licensing Information

News & Reviews

Carl Davis: A Musical Polymath at 80

It’s hard to believe it from his boundless on-stage energy – or from his prolific output and creative zeal – but in October Carl Davis will celebrate his 80th birthday. Read more

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