Carl Davis (Conductor): Charlie Chaplin: City Lights

Track List

>City Lights: Overture / Unveiling the Statue
>Flower Girl, The (La Violetera)
>City Lights: Evening / Meeting the Millionaire
>City Lights: At the Millionaire's Home
>City Lights: The Nightclub - Dance Suite
>City Lights: The Limousine
>City Lights: The Sober Dawn
>City Lights: The Party & the Morning After
>City Lights: Eviction / The Road Sweeper / At the Girl's Home
>City Lights: The Boxing Match
>City Lights: The Burglars
>City Lights: Reunited

Album Remarks & Appraisals:

"March 1989 saw a seismic change in the world's perception of Charlie Chaplin's work in the cinema with the first live screenings of his masterpiece 'City Lights' in London at the Dominion Theatre. I had painstakingly transcribed Charlie's original score recorded in 1930 and early 1931, for performances with orchestra. Within days requests were being made for performances in such diverse locations as Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Liverpool and Edinburgh. Many more followed and other conductors took up the mantle. After a year or so of continuing demand I suggested to my colleagues at Photoplay that they asked the Chaplin Estate if we could continue the exercise. Eventually 'The Gold Rush' (in its 1925 cut) and 'The Kid' followed. But 'City Lights' was special - who can ever forget the final scene, musically worthy of Puccini. As I begin over 20 years later another round of performances I look forward to conducting music that, like the film, plunges from the heights of irresistible comedy to extreme pathos. Charlie, you taught us all."Carl Davis, February 2012 Carl Davis Collection presents the original score of City Lights, re-recorded by Carl Davis. City Lights is Charles Chaplin's most perfect film, it was released at the time that 'talkies' were taking off but Chaplin decided that it was to be a silent film as the Tramp had communicated with a worldwide audience through mime and besides what voice would he give the Tramp, his own native London, The Bronx or of California. Chaplin decided as it was his first picture with synchronized sound to compose the musical score himself, with the music being delegated to a team of arrangers. 'I did not write it down' Chaplin said in an excess of modesty, 'I la-laed it... it is all simple music to keep with my character... '

Album Notes

Liner Note Authors: David Robinson ; Carl Davis ; Charlie Chaplin .

Recording information: Cts Studios.

Photographer: Trevor Leighton.

Arranger: Arthur Johnston.


Into The Light
It has never been entirely clear just how much Chaplin actually contributed to the film scores which bear his name. The excellent liner notes make the case that all the key elements were solely of Chaplin’s devising. This included precise directives to the copyists as to harmonies, counterpoint, instrumentation, etc. Others allege that Chaplin was a “hummer”, i.e., he provided the raw tunes (orally) and left everything else up to an experienced coterie of arrangers and orchestrators. Regardless, in the case of “City Lights”, what remains is an intriguing concoction of considerable sophistication. Highly sentimental and often redolent of the English music hall, the finished product is strangely insinuating. The original 1931 sessions were said to employ 35 musicians. It sounds like an equivalent number of players were on hand for this 1989 recreation (originally released by Silva Screen in 1995). Carl Davis and his group put forth a convincing argument on behalf of this music. The miking is extremely tight, almost microscopic in its delineation of the sundry musical strands. A notable resurrection courtesy of the indefatigable Carl Davis Collection.
Submitted on 07/20/12 by Allen Cohen 
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