Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.
Our daughter Kyla turned 11 in March. We celebrated then, of course, but have always planned a larger party in May or June when the weather is more cooperative.
There’s always a theme my wife Jennifer works on meticulously, almost the entire year.
Kyla is fascinated with…
So, there will be French food, decorations, and music. And that’s our theme tonight as well.
Let’s get started on a French musical journey.
The 1958 movie musical “Gigi” told the story of GASP a teenage girl from a family of courtesans marrying an older man. Leslie Caron played the 14-year old Gigi. Caron was really 25 in the movie that was filmed entirely in Paris.
Vanessa Hudgens, Corey Cott, Victoria Clark and the cast of the 2015 Broadway revival of the GIGI perform live on Good Morning America. Whenever possible we like to begin with a rousing number and this definitely fits the bill.
Oh, and remember. It may look and fizz and smell and taste like Champagne, but sparking wine isn’t the real thing.
Only sparkling wines grown and produced in the region of Champagne in France can truly be called “champagne.”
Our next artist was born in Marseille, France. Noted composer, conductor and arranger Paul Mauriat gave us one of the most famous instrumentals in 1968.
Mauriat was an international star. “Love is Blue” hit #1 around the world. In the US the single was #1 for five straight weeks.
This story also takes place in France. The very popular “Beauty and the Beast” from Disney had a few compositions nominated for Oscar’s Best Song. The following didn’t win, but it sure was “entertaining.”
The late Jerry Orbach performs at the Oscars in 1992.
The Oscar went to the song “Beauty and the Beast.”
Orbach achieved great popularity for his role as Detective Lenny Briscoe on “Law and Order.” He died in December of 2004 from prostate cancer at the age of 69.
Now stay with me as I connect some dots leading into the next selection, one of the greatest French songs of all-time.
Here’s a picture of my dear sweet cousin Claire McKenzie with Kyla just a couple of years ago. Claire is an artist. Kyla is holding one of her creations and there’s another on the wall just over Claire’s shoulder.
The two people in the painting are Claire’s parents, my Uncle Claude and Aunt Rose. Using a technique taught to her by two California artists, Claire took a photo of her father and a photo of her mother. Then she photocopied the two and put them together into one picture. She outlined the photocopy and placed it behind a special semi-transparent canvas, and painted over the image.
Here’s the result, showing my Aunt and Uncle in their mid to late 20’s.
You’ll notice Claire’s signature and the date showing the painting was made in 2002.
Earlier in this blog you saw Paul Mauriat leading his orchestra. Like Mauriat my lovely Aunt Rose was born in Marseille, a port city in southern France.
Aunt Rose came to the United States when she was 8 years old. We miss her and Uncle Claude so, so much.
Beautiful job on that painting, Claire! She and her sister, Claudia are both very artistic, a trait they inherited from their father.
Oh, this gentleman paints, too.
The amazing Tony Bennett will turn 94 in August. He’s still performing and recording and winning Grammy Awards.
Over the years Bennett has done duets with all kinds of singers, some you wouldn’t expect.
This next song was released for the first time in 1947 and means “Life in rosy hues.” French singer Edith Piaf made it her signature song, with joyful lyrics about finding true love.
That’s it for this week.
Have a great weekend.
In 1981 Louis Clark conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in a series of medleys. Clark took lengthy symphonies, movements, marches and concertos and whittled them down to mere seconds. The first “Hooked on Classics” single and album were international smashes. The conductor makes a return appearance to the blog.
The following medley contains:
Orpheus in the Underworld, Infernal Galop (Can-Can) / Jacques Offenbach
Unter Donner und Blitz (Thunder and Lightning) Polka, Op. 324 / Johann Strauss II
Hungarian Dance No. 5 in G Minor / Brahms
Tritsch Tratsch Polka, Op. 214/ Johann Strauss II
La Vie Parisienne Overture / Offenbach
La Gioconda, Act 3, Dance of the Hours/ Ponchielli
Csardas/ Vittorio Monti
La Vie Parisienne Overture / Offenbach
Poet and Peasant Overture / Suppé
In short, “Hooked on a Can-Can.”