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MENAFN - Muscat Daily - 29/09/2012

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(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) As 80 year old Michel Legrand walked onto the stage wearing a black suit and rimmed glasses, he said in a shaky yet confident voice, ''I am proud and happy to present before you a selected few songs from my short life.''The words 'my short life' struck a chord with the audience. For, in his anything but short life, Legrand has won three Oscars, one of them for The Thomas Crown Affair, the film that spawned the hit single The Windmills of your mind, 13 Oscar nominations and five Grammys.But what better venue than the Royal Opera House Muscat for connoisseurs of music and art to experience Legrand's portrayal of Pablo Picasso's paintings through music?On Tuesday, the French composer elegantly painted Picasso's works in the minds of the audience. He left a deep impression with his wistful singing and conducting skills on stage.He was accompanied by his wife Catherine Michel, a harp soloist from the world renowned Orchestre National de l'Opra de Paris and by Orchestra Lamoureux.It is impossible to typecast this talented master. He is a singer, songwriter, composer, arranger, conductor and producer and makes an indelible impression on the audience with his occasional, yet spellbinding interactions.His versatility with rock and jazz, from classical music to popular numbers and orchestra fusion reflects in his concerts.''I love playing, conducting, singing and writing, and in all styles. So I turn my hand to everything “ not just a bit of everything. Quite the opposite. I do all these activities at once, seriously, sincerely and with deep commitment,'' said Legrand.He directed the orchestra comprising cellos, drums, violins, saxophones, pipes and piano to render musical compositions from Ice Station Zebra, Gable and Lombard, Summer of 42, Yentl, Wuthering Heights, The Picasso Summer, Brian's Song and Never Say Never Again.The orchestra paid tribute to Miles Davis and also performed a symphony, La suite des Parapluies de Cherbourg. Legrand also performed a tribute to Steve McQueen with the Oscar-winning song The Windmills of Your Mind.Music buff Muhammed al Marhoby said, ''You could close your eyes and see the movie (The Thomas Crown Affair). When you go to a movie, you don't hear the music as much as you do in a live concert. The performance was overwhelming.''On stage, the master could not help showing his everlasting love for his wife, Catherine Michel. He has composed many pieces meant for the harp, exclusively for his wife. Catherine's mastery of the harp was unparalleled as she created moments of both melancholy and joy, leaving the audience spell bound.Mahesh Verma, another mus-ic buff and also a Muscat Daily columnist, said, ''The husband-wife rapport on the stage was evident and was impressive. Stage shows are always great when we just hear the compositions. We can visualise the movies with our eyes closed.''''During the concert, I got the idea of playing his music alongside an art exhibition. The combination of art and music was evident in his compositions as well,'' said Madny al Bakry, an artist.Legrand's association with French directors and world renowned celebrities such as Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis, Andy Williams and Sting only gives his work a different dimension.When it comes to film music, Legrand is the only European composer who has worked with celebrities like Orson Welles, Marcel Carn, Clint Eastwood, Norman Jewison, Louis Malle, Andrzej Wajda, Richard Lester and Claude Lelouch, among others.

 






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