Paul Mauriat's Grand Orchestra from France returned to Beijing on December 7 for a performance in the Great Hall of the People. Their first appearance in the capital was in 2000.
This time, they were led by Gilles Gambus, Mauriat's assistant, in playing a variety of hits from the past four decades.
Mauriat's musical style is often referred to as "easy pop" or "instrumental pop." The first type describes a strand of easy listening that relies on light instrument-only arrangements of pop hits while the latter is purely listening style.
Many instrumental pop recordings draw upon an already existing repertoire of traditional pop standards, as well as jazz and rock songs that can be adapted to fit the easy-listening style.
Mauriat is a classically-trained arranger and conductor who knows how to deal with the original music.
And, although he left the stage in 1998 and will probably no longer tour, he still contributes his arranging and composing skills.
He also arranged and wrote a few pop songs for Chinese singers such as "Olive Tree (Ganlanshu)" for Qi Yu (1984), "No Other Choice But Parting (Zhiyou Fenli)" for Huang Yingying (1985) and "Song for Taipei (Taibei Zhige)" for Tong An'ge (1986).
This time, the orchestra also played a few Chinese songs such as "Jasmine (Molihua)" and "Dragon Offspring (Long de Chuanren)" for local audiences.
Born into a family of classical musicians in France in 1925, Mauriat originally planned to follow in the family's footsteps and began to learn classic music at the age of four and enrolled in the Paris Conservatory when he was 10.
As a teenager, however, he became infatuated with jazz and pop music, which made him stray from his initial ambition to become a classical pianist.
At the age of 17, he formed an orchestra and began touring concert halls throughout Europe.
Mauriat's career as a composer and arranger started in 1962 when he scored the song "Chariot." It became a big hit in Europe.
Mauriat's real success in the United States was sparked in 1968, when his hit work "L'Amour Est Bleu (Love Is Blue)," which stayed five weeks at No 1 on the Billboard and Cashbox charts.
(21st Century December 18, 2002)