Violinist Philippe Quint Releases 'Chaplin's Smile' on Warner Classics
Today, Friday, January 11, 2019, multiple Grammy Award-nominated violinist Philippe Quint makes his debut on Warner Classics with the release of his latest album Chaplin's Smile, a collection of Charlie Chaplin songs newly arranged for violin and piano. To commemorate the 130th anniversary of Chaplin's birth in 2019, Chaplin's Smile features Philippe Quint joined on two tracks by Quint's friend and frequent collaborator, violinistJoshua Bell. Over more than three years, Quint, in collaboration with arrangers Charles Coleman and Leon Gurvitch went through dozens of songs and soundtracks written by Chaplin to select the songs best suited for violin and piano.
Accompanied by pianist Marta Aznavoorian, the release coincides with a multimedia recital tour that will take Quint and Aznavoorian to Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Washington DC, London, and Berlin. The recital concept, conceived by Quint, includes many of the new arrangements, while focusing on Chaplin's fascinating encounters with some of the greatest classical composers of his time including Stravinsky, Rachmaninov, Debussy, and Schoenberg, interspersed with narrations of those meetings from Chaplin's My Autobiography. The recital also features photos and clips from his most famous films such as City Lights, The Great Dictator, The Kid, Limelight and Modern Times. Opening for Quint in New York, Los Angeles, and London is Chaplin's granddaughter Kiera Chaplin. For tour information, visit www.philippequint.com.
What may be lesser known than Chaplin's legendary cinematic image of enormous shoes, bowler hat, and tiny moustache is his identity as the composer of nearly all of the music accompanying his films. Quint says, "Growing up in the Soviet Union in the 1980s meant we had very little access to performers outside of the former USSR. However, Charlie Chaplin was an exception. Upon my arrival to the US in 1991, I finally was able to acquire Charlie's films on VHS. I watched them hundreds of times, every time noticing something new - his comedy was brilliant and touching. A few years ago, while looking for a new project, I stumbled upon Chaplin's Smile. I knew the many different versions of the song by Tony Bennett, Michael Jackson, and Placido Domingo, but I did not realize that Chaplin was the composer. I became curious to see if there was more music written by him and, to my surprise (and thanks to YouTube and Google) I uncovered an entire catalog of his works. Almost Mozartian in its grace and charm, Chaplin's music is deceptively simple yet speaks directly to your heart."
The album begins with Eternally "Terry's Theme" from the 1952 film Limelight. Chaplin was exiled from the US that same year so the film was not seen by American audiences until 1972, winning the Oscar for best musical score in 1973. Quint's arrangement of Smile from the 1936 film Modern Times is performed on the album with Joshua Bell. Although it had no lyrics in its original version, Smile was recorded in 1954 by Nat King Cole to enormous success and has since become a standard.
Three songs on the album - Weeping Willows, Now That It's Ended, and Mandolin Serenade - are from the 1957 film A King in New York. Composed by Charlie Chaplin the film uses these familiar tunes to mock social trends, celebrity status and popular culture. The performance of Mandolin Serenade is also with Joshua Bell.
Chaplin's Smile also features Love Song from the 1969 film The Freak, a film about a girl with wings starring Chaplin's third daughter Victoria, and Tango Bitterness from Oscar-nominated film Monsieur Verdoux (1947) based on serial killer Henri D'sir' Landru. Falling Star from The Great Dictator (1940) was composed with arranger and director Meredith Willson (The Music Man).
The music for City Lights (1931) was the first film score composed by Chaplin, finished in a period of six weeks, assisted by fellow composer Arthur Johnston (Pennies From Heaven). The score's main theme, La Violetera, was borrowed from Spanish composer Jose Padilla, to whom Chaplin lost a lawsuit for not crediting him on the film for the composition. Chaplin's Smile features City Lights Suite and tango Beautiful, Wonderful Eyes, though the latter song was not included in the film's final soundtrack.
The album includes The Kid Fantasy from The Kid, a 1921 American silent comedy-drama film written by, produced by, directed by, and starring Charlie Chaplin.The Kid was Chaplin's first full-length film as a director and was a huge success, the second-highest-grossing film in 1921. In 2011, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
Tango Natasha and Crossing The Dance Floor from A Countess From Hong Kong (1967) close out the album, exemplifying later Chaplin compositions. The main theme of A Countess From Hong Kong became This Is My Song with music and lyrics by Chaplin and was a UK and US hit for Petula Clark in that same year, who sang, recorded and released it in English, French, German and Italian versions.