The City Light Chamber Orchestra brings silent films by Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Laurel & Hardy to life in Klosters
Film concerts with live music have become a firm favourite at Klosters Music. The premiere took place in 2021 with “Cinema Paradiso” by Sicilian director Giuseppe Tornatore, for which Ennio Morricone composed the music. Last summer, the audience in the sold-out Arena Klosters enjoyed “Singin’ in the Rain” with Gene Kelly dancing and singing in the rain in the lead role and a personal introduction from his wife Patricia Kelly.
Classics of the silent film era
This year, the film evening of the festival is dedicated to three classics of the silent film era by Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Laurel & Hardy on 1st of august. “Music is essential in silent films to create emotionality and to accompany the story being told,” says Artistic Director David Whelton. The film music, performed by the City Light Chamber Orchestra conducted by Kevin Griffiths, is composed by Carl Davis, whom Whelton knows well personally from his time as manager of the Philharmonia Orchestra. “Carl has contributed to a real renaissance of silent film in the UK with his music. He has the most awesome way of capturing the sound of the 1920s.”
Stunts and pirouettes
Pirmin Zängerle, the managing director of City Light Concerts and an expert on film music, is also enthusiastic about the timelessness of the silent films: “The films we have chosen were both innovative and revolutionary at the time they were made. Buster Keaton’s elaborate stunts, for instance, still amaze us today,” says Zängerle. In Buster Keaton’s “One Week” from 1920, a newly married couple receive a peculiar gift from an uncle: a house packed in boxes that the newlyweds assemble themselves within a week, or at least try to. It goes without saying that not every wall sits perfectly in the end. Charlie Chaplin’s early silent film “The Rink” from 1916 is also a virtuosic string of bankruptcies, misfortunes and mishaps. The clumsy waiter, mimed by Chaplin, is only confident on roller skates and inspires with his artful pirouettes that leave an impression on the girl he admires (Edna Purviance).
Christmas trees in summer
In contrast, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are not interested in romance in their 1929 film “Big Business”. The two are selling Christmas trees in California in the summer – not an easy task. When the two end up meeting a particularly unfriendly customer, the situation escalates and the Christmas trees are forgotten about. “Big Business” was one of the last silent films by the comedian duo known in the German-speaking world as “Dick and Doof”. This film will be accompanied in Klosters by a musical trio of violin, clarinet and accordion. What exactly will be played is still under wraps.