Catherine Michel on Youtube

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    carl-swanson on #146534

    Catherine Michel was in Boston the other day with her husband Michel LeGrand to do a concert. She called me the morning of the concert to tell me that she was here(I didn’t know in advance!) and I met her at Symphony Hall before the concert and we had a wonderful time catching up. The concert was wonderful, and included the Canadian singer Mario Pelchat. When I got home I went on youtube to see if she had anything up there and found this video of her and Michel LeGrand.

    There was a thread up here a while ago about playing trills. Not too far into this video she plays a one handed trill that is just perfect.

    Karen Johns on #146535

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing Carl- I just wish I had better speakers on my computer so I could have enjoyed it fully. That trill was just excellent! I know it will take lots of practice (we’re talking years)to get even close to that, but seeing it sure helps the motivation. :-)


    carl-swanson on #146536

    What I like about her trill is how she slows it down at the end. That’s hard to do with a two handed trill.

    Christian Frederick on #146537

    ahhhh…… thanks for sharing. Michel LeGrand is my favorite composer of all times. I didn’t know he was married to a harpist. They play like one soul joined together.

    I’m currently working of a medley of Michel LeGrand’s “Summer of ’42” and Ennion Morricone’s “Se” from Cinema Paradiso….. one of my other favorite composers.

    France and Italy….. where great art and music are born….

    carl-swanson on #146538

    Christian- Michel LeGrand has arranged a lot of his music for Catherine. A lot of it with orchestra. I hope that some day it will be published. I think it would make a great addition to the repertoire.

    carl-swanson on #146539

    I’ll email Catherine when I get home to see if Michel LeGrand has any plans to publish any of this stuff.

    Christian Frederick on #146540

    Carl…. I’m fascinated with watching and listening to Michel and Catherine! As to your comment, I would guess that the arrangement for this harp is not written down note-by-note. There seems to be a lot more going on. I would make an educated guess that her score is more of sketches and not written down like Classical music note-by-note. She is putting more of her heart and soul into this than just playing notes.

    Also, I am memorized by incorporating her technique and musicality together. I’ve been to harp festivals where I see so many harpist look and play soooo stiff, with their wrists bent backwards and elbows in the air. Catherine seems to flow like a feather floating in the sky.

    Michel certainly is playing the full orchestra on the piano rather than a piano solo. I can almost see and hear his thoughts…. violins here, harp here, drums here, etc.

    So, if you have contact, please tell them I am now a big fan of both separate and as a musical union…

    carl-swanson on #146541

    Christian- As far as her technique is concerned: What you are seeing is classic French technique. Very relaxed and supple. When I went to see her before the concert at Symphony Hall, I did get to see some of the music she was playing. While I didn’t look at it closely, I believe it was all written out and that she was not improvising anything.

    While we were talking, the singer for the evening, Mario Pelchat, came in and asked Catherine if she would go over his big song with him. He was uncomfortable with it because he was used to singing it in French and I guess Michel LeGrand wanted him to sing the English version this evening, and the words didn’t fit as well. So I turned pages for Catherine as they rehearsed. Again, everything seemed to be completely written out. There were no chord symbols at all. I suggested to Mario that he sing the first part of the song(the one from Summer of ’42), the most difficult part for him, in French and then switch to English for the middle part, then sing the last phrase of the song in French. He tried it and it was to die for. Just gorgeous. But he must have run it by Michel LeGrand who turned it down. Because in the show he did the whole song in English.

    Christian Frederick on #146542

    Michel Legrand is a genius!

    I think the greatest and unique movie score ever written was Michel Legrand’s “Yentl”. Of course, I’m sure he got a lot of direction from another genius who produced, sang, and starred in the movie 🙂

    I try to play some Legrand music every day. Of course, it works better for me on the piano since he will change keys twice in the middle of a bar…. for example he’ll go from Eb to B

    Christian Frederick on #146543

    ahh…. OK…. now I’m seeing it. “Classic French Technique” works so very well in intimate settings like this. To my ears, it is totally pleasing, and works well with Pop music.

    In the same vein, pianists that were trained and use that Eastern European quintessential orchestral technique often sound too harsh playing Western Pop Music. Some musicians can switch gears and become chameleons to the task at hand. To explain this in different terms, most singers sing a certain style best. One of my favorite Broadway singers on stage sounds horrible adapting to a studio setting. Every once in awhile, there is a singer who can cross those lines, from the Broadway stage, to Rock ‘N Roll, to Jazz, to movie scores, to duets, etc. Hmm…. now that producer, singer, and actress from Yentl keeps popping into my mind….

    carl-swanson on #146544

    Classic French technique works well for any type of music. It’s totally adaptable because it’s so effortless when you learn it well. Catherine, like most career orchestra players, usually played too loud all the time when playing recital repertoire. She didn’t use the whole range of dynamics available to her. Now that she’s been out of the orchestra scene for a few years she has shifted gears and plays with the sensitivity that she always had in her. But put her back into a situation where volume is required, and she can blast out the back wall of the auditorium.

    laura-stokes on #146545

    Did you ever hear if these ever will be published? I think I would die of joy if they were. I would love for Michel Legrand to know how many harpists are waiting for that happy day! 🙂

    kent-vogel on #146546

    Thank you so very much for sharing this Mr. Swanson.

    carl-swanson on #146547

    I don’t think there is any plan to publish them at this time. But next time I talk to Catherine I’ll ask her.

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