It’s all Chaplin at the moment. This evening, on BBC Radio 3, there is a 90-minute concert of music by Benedict Mason to accompany three Chaplin films: Easy Street, The Adventurer and The Immigrant. They are billed as ‘Chaplin Operas’, and the Radio 3 site describes the programme as featuring “three hyperactive scores written by Benedict Mason to accompany Chaplin films. Mason’s surreal brand of humour creates a post-modern commentary on Chaplin’s slapstick routines and bathos.” Hmm, we’ll see. The concert was originally given on 27 April at The Anvil, Basingstoke, and features Hilary Summers (mezzo), Omar Ebrahim (baritone) and the London Sinfonietta, with Franck Ollu, conductor. It’s broadcast at 20.30 this evening as part of the Hear and Now strand.

The programme will be available via the Listen Again service for a week after the broadcast.

One response

  1. Well, actually, it was all rather enjoyable – in parts – and challenging in its ideas. It was not music to accompany the film, indeed the composer said he rather preferred the idea of silent films being shown in silence. Instead it was music triggered by the action of the films, more or less matching the action scene by scene, but intended to be concert pieces distinct from the films themselves. The composer’s comments were full of interest, even if he seemed under-enthused about the project, which he took on as commission. He cited Jean-Luc Godard as an influence, in how Godard counterpoints music and image, sometimes in harmony, sometimes aginst or across one another. So you got odd bits of speech (a horse race commentary, extracts of letters from Stravinsky to Chaplin) alongside modern music of the kind that usually gets called ‘challenging’. It can be heard via Listen Again for a week, and for the ideas alone it’s well worth it.

%d bloggers like this: