WHEN MICHEL Legrand passed away late last month, he left a large body of music for film and television, raging from the avant-garde to the more commercial productions. His music was romantic but never banal, original but never inaccessible. His most memorable works begin low-key, almost like a whisper, and then intensify in rhythm before finally surprising us with an unexpected jump from minor to major chord. His deep-seated love for jazz buttresses the playful, rhythmic, and sophisticated qualities of his compositions.
I grew up listening to my father's collection of Legrand. Many years later, when I began collecting the music of Barbra Streisand, the hobby turned even more loving as Ms. Streisand recorded a lot of Mr. Legrand's compositions. As an adult, I still turn to Mr. Legrand for inspiration. And every once in a while, when I want to lose myself, I plug him in and imagine what I can be doing the rest of my life, north and south and east and west of my life. His passing marks a bittersweet closure of a childhood-driven chapter in my life.
Listen below to "The Picasso Suite: Summer Song" from the soundtrack of the 1969 film The Picasso Summer.