Anneliese Brost Musikforum Ruhr – Großer Saal, Bochum
Conductor: Helmut Imig
The story takes place in Alaska, 1898. Adventurers from everywhere in the world travel to the Yukon river to find Gold. So does Charlie, who proves to be unadventurous and unsuitable for the task. The young gold digger has forgotten where the Gold is located and is starving from a lack of foodstuffs. Luckily, the film ends well and is successful in every way. THE GOLD RUSH includes two of the most famous slapstick scenes, the bread dance and the devouring of an old soft-boiled shoe. Musically, the film was a great success for its energy and emotion.
Music: In his score for THE GOLD RUSH Chaplin focused primarily on melodic structure and chord progression. He freed himself of metronomic servitude, and composed just as he heard in his head. The opening 10 bars of The Gold Rush for example has no less than 4 meter changes in it, yet it flows as naturally as any piece written in 4/4. In the score to THE GOLD RUSH there is storm music, fight music, love music, dance-hall music. But there is also meticulously written music for hiccups, hunger, sleep, eating, hallucinating, snowball fights, suspicion, indignity, pride and indifference; all key elements in both the film and his music. There is also a fair amount of quotations in the score, as was the common practice of the time. Chaplin quotes well known orchestral music from Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky and popular tunes such as For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow, considered the second most popular song in English, next to Happy Birthday. (Timothy Brock)