This performance was different. It wasn’t just a concert. I say that in part to the collaboration of its entire meaning, Silent Films/Live Guitars. Charlie Chaplin’s films have never before produced to an audience with music of this caliber. So to witness such scenes from 1917, filmed in the poorest, most desolate area’s of town,really began to put the movie into more of a dramatic perspective. Chaplin’s shtick is comedy, that is how he is foremost remembered. But what I feel not many understand is the seriousness being portrayed through these films. I feel the scores written for these performances, brought out the emotion ultimately through the music.
These films, once most utterly one dimensional, are now breathing, causing laughter and soliciting nostalgia at its best. The final movie Vernon and Rosenau performed to was One A.M., unto which Justin Vernon upon trying to briefly describe its synopsis, simply said “Not unlike many nights we’ve known, you’ll see…”
The film spanned 34 minutes of Charlie Chaplin almost entirely solo, in a room of malevolent props from which his inebriation keep him nomadically arguing with.
Quirky and comical the scores set to each of these films were as majestic and unique as promised. The dignity that has been portrayed through these performances set to Charlie Chaplin’s classic films will be as time-honored as the films themselves.
I did get a wonderful chance to sit down and chat with Chris Rosenau about the New York Guitar Festival prior to their performance Thursday night:
How did the opportunity to play New York Guitar Festival come to you? Was it first approached to Justin Vernon and he invited you along?
Yes that’s exactly how it came about actually! They approached him almost a year ago. He wasn’t super into the idea of doing it himself, but he really thought it would be fun to do with someone, so he emailed me right away and asked if I’d be into it. Of course, I was. We super into the idea, and this was right before we started watching Charlie Chaplin movies, like assuming that it would be really easy to do, and it turned out to be not very easy.