During February Laurent Zufferey conducts Kammerphilharmonie Graubünden in eight performances of Carl Davis’ score for Charlie Chaplin’s The Rink in a Swiss tour, beginning 16 February in Savognin – full details available here.
The 1916 film, Chaplin’s eighth for production company Mutual Films, tells the story of Charlie - a clumsy waiter who (mostly) cuts a charismatic dash on roller-skates during his lunchbreak, saving a pretty girl from the attentions of a hot-tempered and scolding restaurant patron. A party with the girl descends into chaos, thanks to Charlie’s clumsiness, though he manages a stylish escape from the arriving police.
Davis’ 24-minute score was composed in 2003 (rev. 2008) for seventeen players. It premiered in Kuala Lumpur with the Malaysian Philharmonic with Davis himself conducting; Davis recorded selections from The Rink with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra in 2015 alongside his music for Chaplin’s other Mutuals. Like his music for Easy Street and The Floorwalker, Davis’ score is suffused with the eclectic music hall offerings with which Chaplin was so familiar, taking in marches, a grand waltz, a lively samba, as well as operatic excerpts in the form of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, quoted in a scene in which a chicken is carved in the restaurant.
In March 2023 Davis conducted the score with longstanding collaborators Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, alongside his music for Buster Keaton’s One Week and Douglas Fairbanks’ swashbuckling tale The Iron Mask. The Rink was also performed in August 2023 at the Klosters Music Festival in Switzerland by Kevin Griffiths and the City Light Chamber Orchestra.