Carl Davis and The Gold Rush

Here’s news of a special screening of Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush on 3 January 2011 at the Royal Festival Hall in London, with Carl Davis conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra in his reconstruction of Chaplin’s own score:

The Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Carl Davis, plays a live accompaniment to Charlie Chaplin’s silent film The Gold Rush in this special performance at The Royal Festival Hall on 3 January 2011, as part of the Southbank Centre’s Christmas season.

Featuring Chaplin in his quintessential Little Tramp role, the film was described by The New York Times upon its 1925 release as ‘a comedy with streaks of poetry, pathos, tenderness, linked with brusqueness and boisterousness … the outstanding gem of all Chaplin’s pictures’. The Gold Rush is one of Chaplin’s most perfectly accomplished films. Though he was often changeable in his affections for his own work, he would often declare that of all his films, this was the one by which he would most wish to be remembered.

Chaplin reconstructed the film in 1942 upon the advent of sound to the cinema, removing scenes (most famously eliminating a kiss with the leading lady at the end so as not to upset his wife!) and recording a musical score, which was nominated for Academy Awards.

This concert revisits the original 1925 comic masterpiece, with a score reconstructed and conducted by Carl Davis, who accessed archives of Chaplin’s meticulous notes and found sketches of music for the removed scenes.
It is ten years since The Gold Rush was last performed in London, also at the Royal Festival Hall.

Carl Davis (CBE) was born in New York in 1936 and came to the UK in 1960. Davis is a true music-maker and all-round musician, as both conductor and composer. He has changed the face of concerts as we know them, making classical music both accessible and varied and is a consummate showman and a first rate entertainer. His career has spanned many genres, from silent film performances to his incredible popular themed concerts such as ”An Evening with James Bond” and “Oscar Winners”. He is perhaps most well known for his music for television including the series The World At War, BBC’s Pride & Prejudice and Cranford, ITV’s Goodnight Mr. Tom, and the award winning film, The French Lieutenant’s Woman.

Davis has also been the driving force behind reinventing the silent movie for a new generation. Following his work on Thames Television’s 1980 “Hollywood – A Celebration of the Silent Film” series, he created the classic and much-lauded five hour symphonic score for Abel Gance’s 1927 silent epic “Napoleon”. Since then, he has written or reconstructed scores for some of the most famous pre-talkies such as “The Phantom of the Opera” and “The Iron Mask”, as well as many of Chaplin’s most famous movies such as “The Kid”, “Modern Times” and “The Rink” which have been performed all over the world.

Monday 3 January 2011, Royal Festival Hall, 7pm
Carl Davis, conductor
Philharmonia Orchestra
Charlie Chaplin The Gold Rush
Tickets: £20–£45
Ticket Office: 0871 663 2500
Online booking:

More information and booking details (including some pricey tickets folks, but heck, it’s near Christmas) on the South Bank Centre site.

5 responses

  1. Carl Davis will also conduct his score for The Gold Rush (plus The Immigrant) in Paris on 20th February 2011 at 4.30 pm at La Cité de la Musique. In this occasion he will conduct the Ochestre National d’Ile-de-France.

  2. Is there a version of the original 1925 version along with the Carl Davis score on DVD? If so, I’d love to have it.

  3. Thanks Urbanora! Although it’s not quite clear to me whether they mean they’ll be re-recording Chaplin’s original score to fit the original 1925 version, or just the piano accompaniment. Do you have any details on this? Thanks once again.

  4. Actually, I just looked at the DVD extras, and they made it clear that it WILL be with Chaplin’s original score. This is exciting! Thanks for turning me on to it! I’ll probably be getting this.

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