The Indian Picture Opera.
A Vanishing Race.
A Film by Edward S. Curtis.
Music by Henry Gilbert.
Mosa Motion Graphics LLC, 2006.
In the early 1900's, legendary photographer Edward S. Curtis published the renowned 20-volume book subscription entitled 'The North American Indian'. In it he compiled 2400 photographs with detailed studies of tribes of the American west.
This DVD reconstructs 'The Indian Picture Opera - A Vanishing Race'. It was a slide show, and lecture that played in theaters from 1911 through 1912. Curtis used the show as a pitch, to sell his book subscriptions to wealthy Americans.
As Curtis romanticized the American Indian in his works, he left behind an amazing snapshot of humanity.
The musical score was written by Henry Gilbert, at Curtis's request. Most of that original score was re-created for this production, some of it was re-orchestrated as well.
Gilbert was a popular composer at the turn of the century and was known for compositions celebrating indigenous people. He was part of a movement among American composers to create music uniquely American. He listened to wax recordings that Curtis had made of Indian music, to derive the melodies for his compositions. Gilbert was also responsible for all of the musical notations in Curtis's North American Indian
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