Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Art of the Cover - Michel Legrand's "Les Parapluies De Cherbourg" (aka "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg") Soundtrack (1964)

The classic slice of French 60's cinema, "Les Parapluies de Cherbourg" is beautiful, tender, and alive with vivid color -- and this complete soundtrack recording is no different.

From the breathy tones of the opening flute solo all the way through to the stirring finale, every nuance and texture of Michel Legrand's very colorful score is captured perfectly on this recording.

If you're unfamiliar with the music from this movie, you may be surprised to discover a number of familiar melodies -- songs that have worked their way into today's jazz and adult contemporary music repertoire (most notably "Watch What Happens" and "I Will Wait For You").

For me, the real treasure of this recording is the attention the engineers paid to capturing the cast members' singing voices. The French language comes across crystal-clear. And even if you don't speak or understand the language, the passion within each voice -- the rainbow of emotions given forth from the singers, matched perfectly with the sweeping score -- allows the listener to understand the emotional gist of what each character is expressing at that moment.

And speaking of the cast -- simply amazing. My favorite moment (I can't accurately express why) is when Guy comes home to his aunt's apartment and he runs into her caretaker, Madeline. When they greet each other ("Bon soir Guy", "Bon soir Madeline"), there is such a "tender tension", an unspoken adoration, I practically melt each time.

What really makes this recording the ultimate for "Umbrellas" fans are the six bonus tracks. They are perfect examples of how this beautiful music is being re-interpreted into the jazz scene. Tony Bennett does a terrific turn with "Watch What Happens", and Michel Legrand himself takes to the piano and delivers an amazing 8-minute variation on "I Will Wait For You" -- you have to hear it to believe it!

And, by the way, if you don't have the video already in your collection, I would suggest purchasing it at the same time you're buying this CD. The movie has been restored to it's bright, vivid original color -- simply eye-popping!

By Scott Weimer


Disc: 1

1. Generique
2. Scene du garage
3. Devant le magasin
4. Chez Tante Elise
5. Dans la rue
6. Au dancing
7. Sur le quai
8. Dans le magasin de parapluies
9. Chez Dubourg, le joaillier
10. Dans le magasin
11. Devant le garage
12. Chez Elise
13. A l'appartement
14. Adieux a Elise
15. La gare (Guy s'en va)
Disc: 2

1. Dans le magasin
2. Le diner
3. Recit de Cassard
4. La lettre de Guy
5. Le carnaval
6. Le mariage
7. Retour de Guy
8. Chez Elise
9. Le garage (dispute)
10. Guy au cafe
11. La boite a matelots
12. Duo Guy - Madeleine
13. La terrasse du cafe
14. La station-service
15. Final
16. Watch What Happens
17. I Will Wait For You
18. Chez Dubourg, le joaillier
19. Chez Tante Elise
20. Recit de Cassard
21. I Will Wait For You

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