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Chaplin, Charlie: City Lights

June 5, 2012 | Format: MP3

$8.99
Also available in CD Format
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Format: Audio CD
The score from Chaplin's classic 1931 fil, "City Lights" is one of the great film scores ever. In the music - composed by Chaplin - we feel joy, laughter, sorrow and sadness - sometimes at the same moment. The full score only existed on the film's soundtrack until 1989 when composer/ arranger Carl Davis transcribed the full score and recorded it. Over the years Davis has re-recorded the score with his City of Lights Orchestra (1996) and with the City of Prague Symphony (2006). This new release as part of the Carl Davis Collection" from Threefold Records has a new Introduction in the liner notes from Davis, discussing the 1989 project to transcribe the score. But I could not find a recording date anywhere in the 20-page booklet (which has essays on both the firm and Chaplin and music - the latter by David Robinson dated 1989. So I'm assuming this is a new recorded performance with the earlier notes, but I can be sure.

Despite the lack of performance date, this is still a wonderful score that truly stands the test of time. The sound was excellent on my stereo and, closing my eyes, I was transported back to favorite scenes in the film.

Davis has written scores for many British television shows (including the recent revival of "Upstairs Downstairs") which interpolate music of the period, just like Chaplin did for "City Lights".

If you know the score you should enjoy this release. If you aren't first go rent or buy the film and then use this CD to bring back your own special moments.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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By Mel Larson on February 10, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Friends,
This particular recording is a gem. It is the finest soundtrack to a movie I have yet heard. What Carl Davis has accomplished through the perfect orchestration and rendition of this music, is nothing short of astounding. The exaggerated dynamics and exquisite timing so inherent in the images of City Lights are interwoven so perfectly throughout these tracks, they are capable of summoning the silent dramatics in beautiful apparitions that often just leave you smiling like Charlie in the final moment of the movie.

Mr. Chaplin had unfortunate happenings in his life, that sadly continued after he passed...the theft of his body, the release of his outtakes. This recording in some way likely goes a long way to compensate him for those sins of humanity. The love for his work has never been heard stronger or more genuinely applied.

This CD is worth ever penny- at any price.

Charlie- We all love you...and what's more... always will.
Mel Larson
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Format: Audio CD
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.
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