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Monday, April 03, 2006

CD REVIEW - Charlie Chaplin: The Essential Film Music Collection

Charlie Chaplin: The Essential Film Music Collection
Music by Charles Chaplin and Carl Davis
Silva screen SILCD1198
Disc 1 - 14 Tracks 74:48 mins Disc 2 - 12 Tracks 76:51 mins

This truly wonderful release pairs original music composed by Charles Chaplin for his films with suites from Carl Davis' scores for Chaplin's short films created for the Mutual Film Company between 1916 and 1917. Davis himself conducts the City of Prague Philharmonic and the Wihan Quartet.
Chaplin's suites and themes make up the first disc and reveal his wonderful gift for melody. Although a number of arrangers and orchestrators brought his music to life, he was very much hands on and knew just what he wanted from the scores to his films. Memorable themes abound, not just those well-known classics like the Limelight theme and "Smile" from Modern Times. Music is included from all his most treasured films, including The Kid, The Gold Rush, City Lights, Modern Times, The Great Dictator, Monsieur Verdoux and Limelight, and is too wide-ranging to mention individual themes here. Suffice it to say, that it never fails to be melodic and interesting.
As for the Davis compositions, these are presented on Disc Two and if anything are even more melodic and enjoyable than Chaplin's compositions, perhaps showing that for all Chaplin's melodic gifts, a trained composer will always shine through. Of course Davis is vastly experienced at composing for the many revivals of silent films, and knows just what is required. His suites here are a marvellous combination of lovely melodies and busy, breezy and descriptive music.
The accompanying booklet features notes on Chaplin and his music, plus an essay by Carl Davis. This has to be one of the finest collections of film music to have come my way in a long, long time. Do not delay, get your copy today.


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