Francis Lai: The Essential Film Music Collection

Musical Score By: Francis Lai

Distributed by: Silva Screen Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            French musician and composer Francis Lai has had quite a successful music career.  Beginning in the smoky jazz clubs of Marseilles, he eventually moved to Paris and performed in the Taverne d’Attilio in Montmarte.  Working with the legendary singer Edith Piaf at the height of her fame.  In 1965, Lai met director Claude Lelouch and was hired to help compose the musical score of the film Un Homme et Une Femme (A Man and a Woman) for which he won a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Score.  Having proven himself in the eyes and ears of the movie industry, Francis Lai had now become a sought after composer and his résumé began to grow very quickly.  On January 11, 2011, Silva Screen Records released Francis Lai: The Essential Film Music Collection, a compilation of some of Lai’s best works.

            As one listens to this album, one is immediately struck by the elaborate beauty of Francis Lai’s compositions.  It is immediately apparent that, although there are instruments performing in the background, each composition focuses on one instrument in particular.  Sometimes it is the accordion, other times it is the violin or the brass section.  Still other times it is woodwinds, guitars or pianos.  One song, in particular, focuses on piano and vocal sounds performed together.  The solos performed by these instruments are the focal point of each track and are incredibly enjoyable. 

            The album begins with some of Lai’s romantic compositions, but moves on by the fifth track to some livelier scores created for dramas and comedies.  His most famous works are featured at the end of the album.  Perhaps you remember the dramatic and equally romantic theme from Love Story.  And how about Un Homme et Une Femme, a lilting pop theme that anyone would recognize.

            Francis Lai: The Essential Film Music Collections is an excellent collection of the composer’s works.  The beauty of the compositions on album and the arrangement of the tracks combine to create a truly enjoyable album.  I found myself smiling through each track of the album.  This is an album no fan of Francis Lai should be without.  Music connoisseurs like myself will be quite happy to add  Francis Lai: The Essential Film Music Collections to their music collection.


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