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Laurent Korcia: From Film Score To Fiddle

Laurent Korcia, playing his 1719 Stradivarius, is perhaps best known for his interpretations of Bartok or Chausson with the world's great symphony orchestras. But there is another side to the young and handsome French violinist. He may have studied at the fancy Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris, but Korcia can make his fiddle swing in music by Django Reinhardt, Astor Piazzolla or Michel Legrand.

On Korcia's new CD, Cinema, he pays homage to classic movie music from the past 100 years — from Disney's Snow White to Breakfast at Tiffany's to Cinema Paradiso.

"I go to movie theaters often," Korcia says. "There have been so many great composers for cinema, from the classic Prokofiev and Shostakovich to people like Max Steiner, Franz Waxman, Bernard Herrmann and Korngold."

From the early days of cinema, Korcia's new disc includes the song "Smile," from Charlie Chaplin's 1936 classic, Modern Times. Chaplin himself wrote the melody.

"I absolutely adore Charlie Chaplin for everything he did," Korcia admits. "His melody has so much charm, and it's very sentimental and naive music, but so touching."

Korcia crafted some of the arrangements on the new recording, but left "Smile" to speak for itself.

"My intention was not to make out of this theme something spectacular, or with any improvisation in it, because I felt it should keep this simple element. I tried to be as transparent as I could be."

Korcia also plays the melancholy theme from the 1988 Italian film Cinema Paradiso, by director Giuseppe Tornatore. For Korcia, the most important scene in the movie involves the lead character, who returns to an old movie house where a flood of memories overtakes him — with help from that haunting melody.

"That's why I wanted to record this collection of movie themes," Korcia explains, "because it has the power to make us come back to something that disappeared."

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