First time on CD. Composed & Conduted by the legendary Legrand including his "Picasso Suite". This nostalgic coming-into-manhood fantasy features a gorgeous Oscar-winning score by Michel Legrand ("Yentl", "The Thomas Crown Affair"). Director Robert Mulligan (To Kill a Mockingbird) evokes the period with double-dip ice cream cones, paddleball, saddle shoes, packages of Fels Naptha and the mist of memory in which the hero's thoughts are enwrapped. Herman Raucher's screenplay is a discerning and appreciative translation of one boy's trip along a trajectory of psychological and sexual change.
Reynold da Silva's Silva Screen Records has been constructing a series of "essential" collections of major film composers' scores usually by making new recordings of portions of those scores or compiling recordings previously made for other projects, most often employing the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. For this Michel Legrand album, the label has actually enlisted Legrand as conductor of the Flemish Radio Orchestra (whose contributions are not noted until you examine the CD booklet), with a few additional jazz musicians, plus Legrand himself on piano and (during the extended suite from The Go-Between) harpsichord. Still, these are new recordings, made in December 2004, and should not be confused with actual soundtrack recordings. Legrand oversees excerpts from some of his most popular scores, leaning heavily on the major themes, such as "I Will Wait for You" from The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, "Theme from Summer of '42," and "The Windmills of Your Mind" from The Thomas Crown Affair.
Recorded live at Paris’ Châtelet Theatre in Autumn 2014, this is a magical stage adaptation of Jacques Demy’s iconic 1964 film Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg). Michel Legrand conducts a 75-piece symphony orchestra in his own hauntingly lyrical score, while the pivotal role of Madame Emery is taken by soprano Natalie Dessay, renewing the collaboration she established with Legrand on the 2013 Erato album Entre elle et lui.
Born in 1931, Michel Legrand, who is best-known as a film score composer, was in his late teens and early '20s in the decade following World War II as he divided his time between classical studies and playing jazz piano in Paris nightclubs. Obviously, he remembers the era well, and on this album he has arranged a series of songs from the period, with a few dating back to the 1930s, though he may have known them from hit versions in the '50s, such as "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes."…
The material on this disc ranges from the smoky melancholy of "Je vivrai sans toi" ("I Will Live Without You") to the hyperbolic camp of "Celui-là" ("The One") but mainly hovers in the realm of anguished longing. Jessye Norman uses the material to show off the extraordinary range and flexibility of her voice, and slips between a pure, almost boyish sound, and a full-throated luxurious warble with ease. But idiomatically she may not be to everyone's taste: for the most part this is the musical territory inhabited by the Billie Holidays of this world, and Norman's technique puts her at a disadvantage. Michel Legrand in his role as pianist is another matter, however. His carefully nuanced accompaniments flow with improvisatory ease, and inspire some great moments from the bass and drums.