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NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra (Hannover)/Timothy Brock: Charlie Chaplin: Modern Times

Track List

>Modern Times: Opening - Assembly line
>Modern Times: Lunchtime - Charlie's breakdown - Worker's Rally
>Modern Times: The Gamin - Jail
>Modern Times: Tragedy at the demonstration - Out of jail, out of job - Chance meeting
>Modern Times: The night watchmen - Skating - Intruders
>Modern Times: The next morning - Shack of paradise - Race to factory gate
>Modern Times: Mechanic's assistant - Lunch break - On strike - Gamin's dance sequence
>Modern Times: Reunion - Charlie the waiter
>Modern Times: Titina
>Modern Times: Finale

Album Remarks & Appraisals:

Charlie Chaplin, one of film history’s greatest original geniuses, was also a gifted inventor of melodies and the meticulous musical dramaturge of his films, a fact known by too few. After writing the music for City Lights (1930) he caught the film music bug, going on to compose the music for all his other films. The complex, innovative music for Modern Times (1935), here premiered complete, represents the high point of his compositional career. Although relying on David Raksin for notation and orchestration, almost every measure of the score contains the unmistakable traits of its author.

BBC Music Magazine, December 2015
The quirks of its idiosyncratic, unschooled composer are easily audible... yet the music's kaleidoscopic jumble, each fragment time to match a specific image and mood, carries its own overwhelming personality, while the tunes themselves are obstinately memorable... the NDR displays plenty of comic and sentimental panache.

American Record Guide, March/April 2016
The German and English booklet describes Chaplin's film and music contributions and Brock's efforts to reconstruct the score. The conducting, orchestral playing, and sound are all excellent. The music is interesting, original, and often very inventive. There are very few long music sequences. You will marvel at Chaplin's score.

Album Notes

Liner Note Author: Timothy Brock.

Recording information: Groáer Sendesaal, NDR Hannover (2006-11-13_2006-11-20&2007-).

Photographer: Maxx Munn Autrey.


Chaplin the Composer
By any calculation, this is an important project. Timothy Brock, an authority on music composed for silent films has painstakingly reconstructed Chaplin’s score for his 1936 comedy, Modern Times, examining a variety of original manuscripts, parts, markings, etc. The finished product is virtually complete, clocking in at nearly 80 minutes. Employing an ambitious instrumentation, the score is a deft potpourri of classical and popular elements. It’s intermittently sardonic and sentimental, but not cloyingly so. Alfred Newman, Edward Powell and David Raksin all played significant roles in fleshing out and animating Chaplin’s ideas. Their fingerprints are everywhere. In fact, controversy persists to this day as to what degree Chaplin actually took the lead in the ultimate shaping of the score. Composing for comedy has always posed special challenges. On occasion, it has been done to great effect. Recall the wonderfully pithy musical miniatures written by Leroy Shield and Marvin Hatley for the Hal Roach Studio. The score for Modern Times is a significant achievement and generally works well divorced from the visuals. Mr. Brock’s Herculean efforts have paid off handsomely. The playing of the NDR Radio Phil is topnotch as is the sound engineering. Mr. Brock’s fascinating liner notes are exhaustive.
Submitted on 10/16/15 by Allen Cohen 
Fantastic and fascinating performance of Charlie Chaplin’s music for Modern Times
This CD by Timothy Brock and the NDR Radiophilharmonie is the complete film music of “Modern Times”, a film by Charlie Chaplin. The score has been restored by Timothy Brock, the painstaking process of which is detailed in the extremely well written and informative liner notes. What I didn’t know is that music itself was also written by Charlie Chaplin, even though he did not read or write music himself. While Mr. Chaplin did play the piano and violin, he had an assistant that would transcribe the music itself and Mr. Chaplin’s musical ideas, and when the orchestra would play what was written Chaplin would make adjustments in both the music itself and the instrumentation. The liner notes also describe the preciseness of the music as it corresponded to the action being recorded on film, sometimes measure by measure. It is fascinating to visualize the creative process and imagine how difficult it had to be for Charlie to arrive at something that he would be happy with. It is really quite remarkable in both effort, organizational skills, and overall effect.

But what about the music itself? It is *wonderful*!!! While some might complain about the absence of consistent thematic material being developed throughout the score, each section is definitely “Chaplinesque” and extremely well-suited to the material presented on film. That being said, on its own it is simply delightful, energetic, sensitive music, with various quoted phrases from other well-known works in the mix. I found myself quite taken by the skill of the composer, and was thrilled to learn that it was composed by the insanely talented Mr. Chaplin himself.
The recording quality is all digital, and the orchestra is unbelievably good and precise, obviously enjoying the intense amount of hard work and rejoicing in the effort. You can tell when musicians are having fun and working hard, and they are clearly doing both here with great abandon. This is an incredible CD, and for those of us that are fans of the silent film era, it is an extra special treat. Buy it, play it, enjoy it, and share it with others…it’s beautiful and amazing and very special!

Submitted on 12/21/15 by KlingonOpera 
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