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Archive for the ‘Francis Lai’ Category

The Year in Reissues: The 2012 Gold Bonus Disc Awards

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Gold CDWow!  Was it just over a year ago when a rather dubious report began circulating (that, shockingly, was picked up by many otherwise-reputable publications) that proclaimed the death of the CD was secretly scheduled by the major labels for 2012?  Well, 2012 has come and (almost) gone, and it might have been the most super-sized year in recent memory for reissues, deluxe and otherwise, from labels new and old.  Here at the Second Disc, we consider our annual Gold Bonus Disc Awards a companion piece to Mike’s own round-up over at Popdose, and we endeavor to recognize as many of the year’s most amazing reissues as possible – over 80 worthy, unique titles.  We also hope to celebrate those labels, producers and artists who have raised the bar for great music throughout 2012. As we’re literally deluged with news around these parts, these ladies and gentlemen prove, week after week, the strength and health of the catalogue corner of the music world.  We dedicate The Gold Bonus Disc Awards to them, and to you, the readers.  After all, your interest is ultimately what keeps great music of the past alive and well.

With that in mind, don’t forget to share your own thoughts and comments below. What made your must-have list in 2012? Without further ado, let’s celebrate 2012′s best of the best. Welcome to the Gold Bonus Disc Awards!

Which releases take home the gold this year? Hit the jump below to find out! Read the rest of this entry »

Un homme et une Femme: Classic Francis Lai Score Reissued, Plus Billy May, Maurice Chevalier and More

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Johnny Mathis, Robert Goulet and Engelbert Humperdinck sang it.  Ella Fitzgerald sang it.  Claudine Longet even sang it in its original French!  The song was “A Man and a Woman,” or “Un Homme et une Femme,” from the 1966 film of the same name.  The Francis Lai composition was a favorite of pop singers and jazz musicians alike, and was quite ubiquitous; as Kritzerland’s Bruce Kimmel asks, “Is there a person anywhere in the world who was around in the 1960s and 1970s who could not instantly recognize the theme from A Man and a Woman? Doubtful, unless you were living under a rock in a cave in Siberia, and even then you’d probably have heard it.”  Well, Kimmel has good reason to hope that you’ve savored the melody of “A Man and a Woman” as much as we have here at Second Disc HQ.  As the first of its latest pair of soundtrack releases now available for pre-order, the label’s new edition of A Man and a Woman is the first-ever “complete” and official version of the soundtrack on CD.  Three previous issues of the original French soundtrack have been released in mono, none from the original masters.  Kritzerland’s edition not only rights this, presenting the French album in stereo from the first generation album master, but also includes the English language version of the soundtrack, as well.

But that’s not all.  The second of Kritzerland’s new releases brings together two very different comedies,  one by a rather well-known composer and another by a composer who deserves to be rather well-known!  Billy May’s biggest legacy may be that of his work as one of Frank Sinatra’s most renowned arrangers; it was May who wrote the arrangement for “Come Fly with Me,” among so many other classic songs.  But May also had a fantastic career in film scoring and television, and one such example is his score to 1957’s The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown.  The Jane Russell-starring comedy offered May his first opportunity to write a film score, and his deliciously sly sense of musical humor is very much in evidence.  A Breath of Scandal came three years later, a somewhat more classy comedy starring Angela Lansbury, Sophia Loren, Maurice Chevalier and John Gavin in an adaptation of a play by Ferenc Molnar (whose Liliom provided the basis for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel).  Alessandro Cicognini was one of Italy’s most respected film composers, and he provided scores for directors ranging from Vittorio De Sica to David Lean.  Cicognini’s soundtrack includes waltzes, romantic ballads and even songs performed by Maurice Chevalier; who could ask for more?  Both soundtracks are freshly remastered from original Imperial Records album masters, with Nightgown in mono and Scandal in stereo.

Both A Man and a Woman and The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown are limited editions of 1,000 copies, and can be pre-ordered now from Kritzerland.  Hit the jump for much more, including the full press releases, pre-order links and track listings! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 1, 2012 at 08:48

The Sixth Day of Second Discmas

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Well, Week 2 of Second Discmas is in high gear, and here at Second Disc HQ, we can’t get enough of the great music of the silver screen and the Great White Way!  Today, we’re sharing the immortal music of Hollywood and Broadway with you!

Thanks to our fantastic friends at Kritzerland, we have two amazing prize packs for you today!

Our “Screen” pack is a triple-threat of soundtrack classics, including two from the legendary Elmer Bernstein!  From Bernstein’s pen comes the Original Soundtrack Recording of 1957’s Drango, as well as Kritzerland’s landmark 100th release, the expanded Original Soundtrack of 1961’s Summer and Smoke!  The third treat in this set is Francis Lai’s mesmerizing score to Another Man, Another Chance (1977)!

For our musical theatre buffs, our “Stage” pack is a duo you won’t want to miss!  I wrote of Kritzerland’s 2010 remix – reinvention, really – of the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s Promises, Promises: “A real revelation!  I’m usually hesitant to use [that word] as it’s a mite hyperbolic. But this completely remixed version of the album (from the edited eight-track session masters), produced by Kimmel, mixed by John Adams and mastered by Nelson, is worthy of any and all plaudits sent its way. The remix allows the score to be heard anew…Listening to it, I actually felt as if I was in the Shubert Theatre, circa 1968.”  And now the single-disc score, completely remixed and remastered, can be yours!  Promises is joined by the soundtrack to a movie about the making of a musical: the deliciously bawdy The First Nudie Musical!  Not only is the delightfully wacky soundtrack completely remastered and expanded, but your CD has been autographed by the 1975 film’s star, producer, director, composer and lyricist, Bruce Kimmel!

You can win these prizes by e-mailing us (theseconddisc (at) gmail (dot) com)!  Just be sure to include your name, city and state in your email, and put “Second Discmas” in the subject line, along with your pick of “Stage” or “Screen.”

But that’s not your only way to win!  You can also “like” this post as it appears on Facebook or retweet the post on Twitter!  Drawings for Kritzerland’s Broadway and Hollywood classics must be received by Wednesday, December 21, at 3:00 p.m. EST.  But if you enter today’s drawing and aren’t a winner, don’t worry!  You’ll automatically be entered in all the rest of the Second Discmas contests!

Don’t forget to check back each day this week for more prizes, and be sure to tune in to Kritzerland’s irreverent new web series, Outside the Box, for a fresh and funny look at a very offbeat theatre company!

Written by Joe Marchese

December 20, 2011 at 15:03

A(nother) Man and a Woman: Vintage Francis Lai Coming From Kritzerland

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Had Francis Lai only composed the immortal (and for a time, ubiquitous) themes to Un Homme et Une Femme (A Man and a Woman) and Love Story, his name would have gone down in the annals of both film and popular music.  Thankfully, Lai – born in 1932 in Nice, France – has offered us much, much more.

Un Autre Homme, Une Autre Chance (Another Man, Another Chance) arrived from director Claude Lelouch (the director of A Man and a Woman, and the director with whom Lai has had one of the longest-lasting director/composer teamings in film) in 1977.  Like so many other films released that year, it languished in the shadow of George Lucas’ game-changing Star Wars, with the year an altogether stellar one for the movies: Saturday Night Fever, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Goodbye Girl and Annie Hall all arrived during that fruitful 12-month period.

The melodic, hypnotic score to Another Man, Another Chance is arriving on CD for the very first time courtesy the fine folks at Kritzerland.  Lai’s score, much of which was arranged by Gabriel Yared (Academy Award winning composer of The English Patient), beautifully illustrates Lelouch’s Old West story starring Genevieve Bujold as a French baker’s daughter who leaves her homeland at the end of the Franco-Prussian War and travels by sea with her husband to America.  There, she meets a widowed veterinarian, portrayed by James Caan, in the frontier town.  After a distressing prophesy comes true, he and she are brought together.  In The New York Times, Janet Maslin wrote, “The plot sounds like vintage James Michener, give or take a couple of generations, and indeed it has the makings of a good yarn.”  Maslin had kind words for both Bujold and Caan even if she was harder on the film itself, and questioned why Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony punctuated so many scenes.  Perhaps she would have preferred more of Lai’s delicious original score!

Kritzerland’s Another Man, Another Chance follows the original import LP program, though the track titles have been renamed to correspond with the actual titles found on the original French two-track stereo tape boxes.   The fully remastered, 1,000-unit limited edition soundtrack is available for pre-order now at Kritzerland for $19.98 plus shipping, and although officially scheduled for the second week of October, pre-orders usually average arrival of four weeks early.  Hit the jump for the press release and track listing! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 29, 2011 at 11:10