Music and cinema
Charlie Chaplin “City Lights” (1931)


Orchestra Arcangelo Corelli
Timothy Brock conductor

original score Charlie Chaplin, José Padilla
restored by Timothy Brock
in collaboration with Cineteca di Bologna

City Lights © Roy Export S.A.S
Music for City Lights Copyright © Roy Export Company Ltd. and Bourne Co.

Charlie Chaplin™© Bubbles Incorporated S.A.


When the house lights came up in the theatre, Albert’s eyes were tearing. On January 30, 1931, at the Los Angeles Theatre, the father of relativity, genius-par-excellence, was deeply moved by a silent film that seemed bound to quickly become obsolete, at a time when the motion picture industry had converted to sound. Yet Einstein, the guest of honour at the gala première, joined the rest of the audience in a standing ovation for Chaplin’s Tramp, who had never been as funny, brave, and romantic as in City Lights. Against all odds, City Lights triumphed at a time when talkies were on the rise, and when most theatres had got rid of their orchestras. And Chaplin, who had always preferred his films to have live sound, found himself composing the score for the first time, a task he undertook with his usual obsessive care. Timothy Brock, who restored the whole corpus of Chaplin’s music, conducts the orchestra to enhance every single extraordinary detail of the score. As Chaplin once commented, “if the public didn’t like his picture, they should at least be able to close their eyes and enjoy the music!”

Poster