Charlie Chaplin song arrangements for violin and piano

Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977)
Charlie Chaplin was an English comedian, filmmaker, and composer. He became famous during the time of silent films. One fact about Chaplin that many people don’t know about is that he was a prolific composer. Chaplin composed most of the music that was used in his silent films. He was also the composer of the song “Smile” which was recorded by many singers including Sammy Davis Jr., Judy Garland, and Nat King Cole.

In 2016, violinist Philippe Quint, pianist Marta Aznavoorian, Joshua Bell, and a couple of arrangers got together. After listening to many of Chaplin’s songs, they chose 13 of his most popular songs and arranged them for violin and piano. The project took three years to come to fruition. The recording was released this year. The CD is entitled Chaplin’s Smile and features Quint and Aznavoorian on most of the tracks. Violinist Joshua Bell joins Quint and Aznavoorian on two of the tracks. Here are three selections from that recording. I hope that you enjoy this beautiful music.

Joe Venuti and Earl Hines

Jazz violinist Joe Venuti and jazz pianist Earl Hines both began their careers in the 1920s. Venuti played with great jazz musicians such as Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, and Eddie Lang (Venuti and Lang were well known for their violin/guitar duos and they had an influence on Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli). Earl Hines played for many years with Louis Armstrong and was the pianist on several of Armstrong’s early recordings. It has been said that Hines was the only musician who matched Armstrong’s skill and inventive ideas when it came to improvisation.

In 1975, Joe Venuti and Earl Hines teamed up (this was the first time they played together) to make a recording called “Hot Sonatas.” Hines was brought out of retirement to make the recording and Joe Venuti was fading into obscurity (his partner Eddie Lang died early in 1933 and Venuti drank heavily). Venuti had a comeback in the late 1960s after a 15 year lull in his career. Here are a couple of tunes from the recording called “The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else,” and “Hot Sonatas.” Enjoy!

Beethoven Romance in F Major op.50 (recorded in 1889)

On September 13, 1889 violinist Herr Krahmer and pianist Herr Schmalfuss recorded Beethoven’s Romance in F Major, op.50. Here is that recording.) First you will hear an extract from the piece played by Louise Chisson (recorded in 2010). Then you will hear the 1889 recording which will be followed by a recording of the whole piece played by Jascha Heifetz with the RCA Victor Orchestra.

The 1889 recording is in very bad shape and it is hard to make out the violin and piano. If you listen carefully you can hear the instruments. In December of 1889 Johannes Brahms was recorded playing the piano. A historic year indeed! Enjoy.

Ginette Neveu plays Gluck Melodie and Chopin Nocturne

Ginette Neveu (1919-1949)

Ginette Neveu was a French classical violinist. She became famous after she won first prize in the Henryk Wieniawski violin competition at the age of 16 beating Russian violin virtuoso David Oistrakh (who won second place). She won a touring contract which took her to Germany, Poland, the Soviet Union, United States, and Canada. Her performing tours were interrupted during most of world war II but resumed in 1945. She often toured with her brother Jean-Paul who accompanied her on the piano. With her brother she travelled to Prague, Australia, South America, and the United States. They made some recordings together as well. In 1949, Ginette was on am Air France flight and it crashed into a mountain in the Azores. Both she and her brother were killed. She was only 30 years old.

Here are a couple of recordings of Ginette Neveu with pianist Bruno Seidler-Winkler playing violin/piano arrangements of Christoph Wilibald Gluck’s Melodie and Frederic Chopin’s Nocturne No. 20 in C sharp minor. I hope that you enjoy this music.