Music to Charlie Chaplin’s The Mutuals: Loitering Without Intent

Performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and the Wihan Quartet; conducted by Carl Davis.

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COMPOSERS: Carl Davis
LABELS: Carl Davis Collection
ALBUM TITLE: Music to Charlie Chaplin’s The Mutuals: Loitering Without Intent
WORKS: Loitering Without Intent: Music for Chaplin’s Films, 1916-1917
PERFORMER: The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra/Carl Davis; The Wihan Quartet/Carl Davis
CATALOGUE NO: CDC027

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Linked to the recent DVD/Blu-ray release in restored prints of Chaplin’s early comedies made for the Mutual film company, this album offers 33 cues from the soundtracks newly composed by the master of silent film pastiche, Carl Davis. Unlike the symphonic palette heard in Modern Times, Davis’s instrumental forces match those of a small orchestra in a theatre pit – suitable for the earthy slapstick of classic films like The Immigrant, The Rink, or The Cure.

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The cues proceed smoothly, ringing with echoes of the popular dance forms of Chaplin’s time and, at one point Gilbert and Sullivan. But though it aims to be ‘Chaplinesque’, puckish one moment, wistfully melodic the next, the music lacks that individual character so abundant in Chaplin’s own music. The Immigrant and The Adventurer feature the liveliest cues, and the Prague musicians play with a will, though there’s a lustre shortage in the recording. Geoff Brown