Charlie CHAPLIN a one-man band
An exhibition to rediscover the work of Charlie Chaplin in its musical dimension and, more broadly, in its close relationship to dance, rhythm, the illusion of speech and sound.
The exhibition Charlie Chaplin, “l’homme orchestre” is held from October 11, 2019 to January 26, 2020 :
Tuesday to Thursday: 12:00 to 18:00
Friday: 12:00 – 20:00
Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 to 20:00
School holidays of All Saints and Christmas :
Tuesday to Sunday: 10:00 to 20:00
Early closing at 5 pm on Tuesdays, December 24 and 31. Closed on November 1st, December 25th and January 1st.
What you need to know about Charlie CHAPLIN and music :
Chaplin wrote, directed, produced, edited, starred in, and composed the music for most of his films. He was a perfectionist, and his financial independence enabled him to spend years on the
development and production of a picture. His films are characterized by slapstick combined with pathos, typified in the Tramp’s struggles against adversity. Many contain social and political themes, as well as autobiographical elements. He received an Honorary Academy Award for “the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century” in 1972, as part of a renewed appreciation for his work. He continues to be held in high regard, with The Gold Rush, City Lights, Modern Times, and The Great Dictator often ranked on lists of the greatest films of all time.
Chaplin developed a passion for music as a child and taught himself to play the piano, violin, and cello. He considered the musical accompaniment of a film to be important, and from A Woman of Paris onwards he took an increasing interest in this area. With the advent of sound technology, Chaplin began using a synchronised orchestral soundtrack – composed by himself – for City Lights (1931). He thereafter composed the scores for all of his films, and from the late 1950s to his death, he scored all of his silent features and some of his short films.
As Chaplin was not a trained musician, he could not read sheet music and needed the help of professional composers, such as David Raksin, Raymond Rasch and Eric James, when creating his scores. Musical directors were employed to oversee the recording process, such as Alfred Newman for City Lights. Although some critics have claimed that credit for his film music should be given to the composers who worked with him, Raksin – who worked with Chaplin on Modern Times – stressed Chaplin’s creative position and active participation in the composing process. This process, which could take months, would start with Chaplin describing to the composer(s) exactly what he wanted and singing or playing tunes he had improvised on the piano. These tunes were then developed further in a close collaboration among the composer(s) and Chaplin. According to film historian Jeffrey Vance, “although he relied upon associates to arrange varied and complex instrumentation, the musical imperative is his, and not a note in a Chaplin musical score was placed there without his assent.”
Chaplin’s compositions produced three popular songs. “Smile”, composed originally for Modern Times (1936) and later set to lyrics by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons, was a hit for Nat King Cole in 1954. For Limelight, Chaplin composed “Terry’s Theme”, which was popularised by Jimmy Young as “Eternally” (1952). Finally, “This Is My Song”, performed by Petula Clark for A Countess from Hong Kong (1967), reached number one on the UK and other European charts. Chaplin also received his only competitive Oscar for his composition work, as the Limelight theme won an Academy Award for Best Original Score in 1973 following the film’s re-release.