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Jan 28 2019

Michel Legrand (1932-2019)

by Eric Blume

Michel Legrand in 1981French film composer Michel Legrand passed away this past weekend after six decades of work in the industry.He was truly one of the greats. Chief among his accomplishments was the sung-through score for the masterpieceThe Umbrellas of Cherbourg(1964),delivering music that soared and perfectly caught the melancholy tone of director Jacques Demy's pastel/sad view of the world.The Legrand-Demy collaboration was deliriously French and remains a pristine achievement over a half century later...

Legrand won three Oscars,亚博主页for the song "The Windmills of Your Mind"fromThe Thomas Crown Affair(1968),the score forSummer of ‘42(1971), and the song score forYentl(1983).Legrand was surely the best composer for Barbra Streisand,because he wrote numerous melodies that allowed her to do vocal climbs in the most exquisite part of her voice.Her covers of his songs "Pieces of Dreams"and "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?"are among her best recordings,and his score forYentlwas an inspired combination of traditional Hebrew musical elements and Broadway full-throttle that,whether one likes it or not,allowed Streisand's vision for the film to fully come to life.

In addition to his film credits,Legrand was an incredible jazz pianist who wrote across several disciplines and mediums.But his film scores and songs had a breathtaking sense of drama,with a willingness to be unabashedly emotional,without turning sentimental.He gave us transcendent melodies and a personal piece of himself.He'll be greatly missed.

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Reader Comments (10)

Beautiful,beautiful music....RIP

January 28,2019 | Unregistered Commenterrdf

A truly incredible composer as I love his work with Jacques Demy as I was also glad he got to do one more final score piece for Orson Welles'The Other Side of the Windas it was a damn good score.Merci Michel.We will miss you.

January 28,2019 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

Summer of '42 has an exquisite score.It's so glorious that when it's playing over the sepia-toned opening credits,you can't help but wonder if the rest of the movie can possibly live up to the beginning.

January 28,2019 | Unregistered CommenterCash

That Yentl soundtrack was beautiful.The music and tha package.

January 28,2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy

Legrand and Demy gave us some of the most romantic musicals in the history of the cinema

January 28,2019 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

beautiful music...Did anyone see Umbrellas of Cherbourg on broadway or at the Ahmanson?
It was exquisite

January 28,2019 | Unregistered CommenterDO

Sad to hear of this music genius' passing too.For some reason,I always thought of him as someone who will never die,like Leonard Cohen,Marian McPartland,Elliott Carter and Jonas Mekas -- all four died within the last decade (with Mekas just less than a week ago).

I always remember his jazz compositions that were covered by the greatest jazz artists,the score forLes Parapluies de Cherbourg,and his various film scores.I wasn't lucky to catchAmourwhen it played on Broadway with Melissa Errico but thought his music would do well in that art form.And yes,Streisand was at her most intense inYentland it's not because of the vocal showstoppers but in quieter ones like "Will Someone Ever Look Like Me That Way".

Among my go-to music when I play a set regardless of demographics is "Ask Yourself Why"-- those timpanis!those horns!They beg to be played and remixed and reconstructed musically!

January 28,2019 | Unregistered CommenterOwl

Thanks for the text,Eric.As you wrote,he was truly one of the greats,and will be deeply missed.I was lucky enough to go to a concert four years ago where he played the piano and sang some of his most beautiful melodies,including one of my all time favorites,the wonderful and emotional "Summer of '42".It was so great to see how alive his legacy was in two different and recent moments: when the music and visual style of "La La Land"reminded us so much not only of his amazing "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg",but also other of his charming soundtracks for Jacques Demy,the delightful "The Young Girls of Rochefort",full of wonderful tunes;and the second moment was only a few months ago,as thevoid99 wrote,with his remarkable score for "The Other Side of the Wind".RIP,maestro,and thanks for all that immortal music!

January 28,2019 | Unregistered CommenterJoel (from Chile)

"The Windmills of Your Mind"is a wonderful song.

January 29,2019 | Unregistered CommenterMatt L.

I got to see Young Girls of Rochefort on the big screen last Thursday and it was such a gift.

January 29,2019 | Unregistered Commenterchasm301

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