Present your evidence. I have presented records from the Victor Company, a book on the proper composition of small orchestras used in theater music from 1920, an actual recorded soundtrack from 1928, with links so that you can verify all of the information.
I think one of the things you don't understand about this evidence is it's context.
1. There are other records from the Victor (and other dozens of other catalogs) in the 78 RPM era that do include orchestrations similar to the small chamber groups we've mentioned, especially vocal accompaniments, small ensembles, and novelty recordings. I own hundreds of 78s that have piano with a few strings and a woodwind or brass instrument, and hundreds with "orchestras" of varying make-up from symphonic works down to 12 or 15 piece ensembles that include a string quintet or a quartet plus one or two violins. The sort of records you refer to our largely a phenomenon of the Victor and the Columbia's companies ability to record sound with electric reproduction rather than a horn beginning in 1925. It's one reason there are few organ recordings before 1926.
Now - having said all that - the point is the context. Why aren't their Victor records from 1923 labeled "cinema orchestra" or "movie theater orchestra", etc. Because you could hear them live in every town of any size from 1915-1928/9 for a fraction of the cost of a record and because a recording would be a shadow of what you heard. Also, what would be the commercial need for such a record. For a small theater that couldn't or wouldn't rely on a live pianist, and couldn't afford a theater/cinema organ then there was the photoplayer - easier to control, longer lasting, and specifically designed for movie theaters as opposed to the limited volume, short duration, and lack LACK of recorded repertoire for a phonograph.
2. There were early experiments that tried to use mechanically recorded sound for theatre presentations, especially by the Edison company. See The Sounds of Early Cinema
by Richard Abel and Rick R. Altman. A collection of serious, well researched, scholarly essays by two leading experts on various attempts to accompany films mechanically before 1928.
3. There was no reason to record these ensembles qau ensembles because they were ubiquitous in every town of any moderate size. Historically musical performance practice is most difficult to research when something is ubiquitous because no one at the time feels the need to "write it all up", because everyone
knows about it, why bother. That's what historical research is for - your attitudes are more like the attitudes of many film researchers in the 1950's and 1960's, who relied on one or two sources of information from the period, some elderly people's reminiscences, and the few recordings from the very end of the era that were supposed to carry over previous traditions. To some extent this approach made sense, you wanted to talk to the still living participants of the era before they died. The problem was, most of them had been in unique situations, ie Eugene Ormandy, or were the very young and later participants in a very fluid and dynamic period. The men who would have been in their prime in the silent era as orchestra leaders were already dead. Few people bothered to interview Mr. Smith or Aunt Edna who lead in Smallville, USA's movie theater orchestra or sat at the local Odeon's theater organ console, and they are all now long gone, and their knowledge and information with them.
Trade publications, official business records and correspondence, looking at real surviving musical scores in intact collections, pouring through newspaper and magazine ads, correlating information from surviving local sources, the dull hard historical research - was left untouched 'til later.
Since the 1970's and especially the 1990's the history of cinema music in the silent era has undergone a shift, and new information is being unearthed and analyzed and more systematic and historically appropriate techniques are being put to use, and because of the explosion of information that can be gathered and compared thanks to computers and the internet.
Rick Altman's book pulled together this change in direction neatly and in one lovely, well written, well illustrated volume. There is still much to learn. I have spent hundreds of hours at the University of Pittsburgh music library pouring over one of only a handful of intact silent film orchestra libraries in the world. My research assisted Dr. Carlos Pena in his work and my orchestra has played from those scores, multiple times, nothing like the outstand work of Mont Alto, and Rodney - but we know of where we speak. My research helped establish the biography of the owner of the library Nek Mirskey who was unknown to anyone in the USA (except one man), but whose family in Poland had preserved his life's work and even much of his personal correspondence. MIrskey was trained in Warsaw and studied with leading classical musicians of his day and era the late 19th and early 20th century, his collection of music includes popular songs from 1890-1924, reduced versions of classical works for full orchestra for the American theater orchestra, novelty numbers, photoplay music, and salon orchestra selections, as well as dance music, folk songs, and minstrel show music. He began his career in film music in 1915 in Brookville, Pennsylvania after being a second and then leading violinist on trans-Atlantic steamships before WWI. His orchestra in Brookville must have been small 15 players or fewer - he ended up in Pittsburgh, then Washington DC, his wife playing Piano in another silent film orchestra. The ensembles here were larger but still smallish, by the mid-1920s he was touring the US as an itinerant orchestra leader leading ensembles of around 25-50 members. His small orchestras often have heavily marked and used 1st violin parts - but only 1 to 2 copies meaning 1 to 4 violins, and full brass and woodwind marks.
You can read Dr. Pena's wonderful article with a lovely acknowledgement of my own modest work and that of our orchestra if you go to ebscohost online and search for Nek Mirskey.
Go to Pittcat on line to visit the collections catalog.
Additionally there are late 1920's 78 rpm recordings from Europe of silent film cues - some on Youtube, that sound very, VERY different from the movie tone scores, and you will say "but they're European", and I will say yes, and so were many of the musicians and orchestra leaders in the USA (like Nek Mirskey), and many of them would have played in a manner more like those recordings, and others would have played in the manner of the Victor recordings, and how knows - so much is irretrievably lost from this era in terms of our knowledge, that we should avoid blanket statements without lots of evidence to back them up.
We have pointed to the existence of evidence that contradicts your assertions. Yet you persist.
I am only writing in the hopes that no one will be persuaded by your arguments and they can see the counter evidence in all its non systematic glory!
My point is this - you have misinterpreted information from a 1920 title on community orchestra's which were much different creatures from orchestra's in theaters for vaudeville, opera houses (in small towns), "legit" theater, and silent movie houses. Yes there was some overlap, but string players have always been at a premium in the history of American musical culture.
You are also pulling information from some late recordings of the era made in studio, with new technology, for new technological purposes and anachronistically and a-contextually applying them backwards, and you must remember until theater organs moved into new territory when the primary purpose they were created for was done there was almost no recordings of them. In part because the instruments range and tone colors and volume were beyond the technology of sound recording until the 1950s.
You constantly move the goal posts when contrary evidence is provided, and you were rude and then decried ad hominem
when the same tactics were turned on you.
Nobody is arguing you have to like Mont Alto, or any other ensemble, but for pity's sake quit trying to argue they are anachronistic, ahistorical, or un-authentic.