French film composer Francis Lai conducts an orchestra in recordings of themes from 20 of his 100-plus movie scores on this album recorded in November 2009. Best known for his themes for Un Homme et une Femme (A Man and a Woman) and Love Story, Lai has a distinctly Gallic style often brought out in the use of accordion, but also by the romantic lyricism of his highly melodic writing. Of course, much of the time he's composing for romantic films, especially those of director Claude Lelouch. He can come up with more conventional genre movie music, though, as he does for Lelouch's policier Les Ripoux, suggesting more of an adventure than a love story. In this collection, the similarities in Lai's music are emphasized in the arrangements and the playing, tending to present him as a writer of music that is often lighthearted (and, as annotator Michael Beek acknowledges, sometimes intended to accompany "soft porn" like the "erotic drama" Emmanuelle II), but always emotional.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann