Peter and the Wolf live at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall: 29 and 30 December 2010, narrated by Jarvis Cocker featuring the 2008 Oscar winner-best animated short film.
Carl Davis has made a name for himself reconstructing and conducting scores to classic silent films. On January 3 2011, Carl will conduct the Philharmonia Orchestra live along to Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush. We caught up with Carl and asked him about his fascination with the world’s best-loved comic actor.
Where did your interest in Charlie Chaplin begin?
From childhood I’ve always thought he was wonderful. In the 1980s I was involved in the TV documentary series ‘Unknown Chaplin’ that looked at Chaplin’s filming methods and gave a rare insight into his work. I wrote the music for the documentary. In 1989 it was the centenary of his birth and I was asked to reconstruct the score of City Lights.
Why did you choose to reconstruct the score to The Gold Rush in particular?
It was a simple reason really. I wanted to do a concert around the New Year and The Gold Rush has a fantastic New Year’s Eve sequence (pictured here) where Chaplin thinks he’s going to spend New Year’s Eve with some glamorous girls and he ends up on his own.
Tell us about reconstructing the score of The Gold Rush.
Chaplin saved everything including music and all of his letters in a vault under the Alps in Geneva. I was allowed to go down and look through all of this and pieced everything together. Once I had all of the materials the whole process took about three months from start until the first performance.
Why does Chaplin still appeal to us in the 21st century?
I think it’s the universal values you can see in his films – all of us struggling in society. When he plays ‘The Tramp’ he is utterly unfit for everything and exists on the periphery, surviving on his charm and romantic view on life. He’s very much someone on the outside, always looking in.
What is your favourite Charlie Chaplin moment?
In The Gold Rush, it has to be the famous ‘dance of the rolls’. He has such a wistful expression on his face (pictured here).
What’s your next project?
I’m actually coming back to Southbank Centre in March, again with the Philharmonia Orchestra, to conduct Rupert Julian’s 1925 silent film of The Phantom of the Opera from 1925.
Juan Diego Flórez’s expressive singing and amazing virtuosity indeed makes him a captivating performer.
The Times proclaimed Juan Diego Flórez, performing with pianist Vincenzo Scalera, ‘the most thrilling tenor of our age’ and ‘one of the most extraordinary vocal phenomenons of all time’
Check out the video below of Flórez’s last Rosenblatt Recital with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
On Monday 3 January, Southbank Centre is screening Charlie Chaplin’s classic silent film, The Gold Rush, with live accompaniment from the Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Carl Davis. We caught up with Carl to ask him our quick questions. Watch this space for more from Carl as we quiz him about his reconstruction of Chaplin’s score and his favourite Chaplin moments.
What do you fear the most?
Which mobile number do you call the most?
My own office.
What – or where – is perfection?
A Bach Fugue.
Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera)?
Cyrano de Bergerac.
What’s your favourite ritual?
Keeping my collection of souvenir office mugs complete.
Which living person do you most admire (and why)?
At this moment in time, the baritone Christian Gerhaher for his raw emotion and consummate artistry.
What other talent or skill would you like to possess?
A beautiful singing voice.
Tell us about a special memory you have of Southbank Centre?
Conducting the triptych from Napoleon.
If you could programme your ideal Southbank Centre show, which artists (living or dead) would you bring together?
The late Kirsten Flagstad and Wilhelm Furtwangler with the Philharmonia Orchestra performing Tristan und Isolde.
What’s your favourite website?
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Wait 24 hours before reacting in print!
What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?
Elin Manahan Thomas singing Handel.
Filed under: Classical season 10-11, Get to know..., Philharmonia Orchestra, Resident Orchestras, Royal Festival Hall | Tagged: Carl Davis, Charlie Chaplin, Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Festival Hall, silent film, Southbank Centre, The Gold Rush | Leave a Comment »