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August 06, 2009

Laurent Korcia Pays Tribute to Cinema


Accompanied by accordion and upright bass, Laurent Korcia takes on Lalo Schifrin's "Mission Impossible"

by John Oseid

As if being a young, handsome Parisian weren't enough, Laurent Korcia gets to strut around his hometown with a precious Stradivarius--the Rolls-Royce of instruments--under his arm (he plays the 1719 "Zahn," on loan from LVMH). The violin sensation has won a ton of awards and performs regularly under the direction of Dutoit, Gergiev, and Masur. In a departure from his classical roots, he's just put out an album called Cinema that pays tribute to a century of film music. Over the last week, I've discovered that the 20 scores make for a moody and whimsical travel companion, from the famous (Nino Rota's "Speak Softly, Love" Godfather theme) to the obscure (anyone heard of "Yumeji's Theme" by Shigeru Umebayashi?).

I never knew Ennio Morricone wrote the tender theme to Cinema Paradiso. Nor had I ever heard of the 1974 Depardieu film Les Valseuses, whose classical theme of the same name was composed by the late great French jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli. Korcia's lightly swinging rendition turns out to be my favorite cut. Even if they don't know the title, listeners will recognize Argentine tango genius Carlos Gardel's beautiful "Por una Cabeza" from Scent of a Woman and the scene in True Lies in which the Governator klutzes over it on the dance floor. Korcia also brings us some Joplin, Gershwin, Chaplin, and Mancini, not to mention a cool guy named Vivaldi.

More music:
* Keep your eyes open for upcoming Korcia performances in the States as well as a PBS special filmed at the Folies Bergère.
* This month a number of Hard Rock properties like San Diego and Orlando are planning hippie-themed events for the fortieth anniversary of Woodstock. Crosby, Stills & Nash will be performing at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, where room rates are $69 (as in 1969) on August 18 and 19. The hotel will also be giving "Jimi Hendrix-style" guitar lessons.
* Boom Box: An unabashed gusto for music of the world.

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