Walter Frisch

Columbia University

At the Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination I will be doing research and writing for a book on the French film musical from 1964, Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg). Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, written and directed by Jacques Demy, with a musical score by Michel Legrand, is a much beloved classic, especially in France. Les Parapluies was a pioneering endeavor.  There is no spoken dialogue; the film is sung from beginning to end, in a variety of styles extending from heightened speech to lyrical song.  My research, drawing in part on archival sources in Paris, will seek to place Les Parapluies in the context of film musicals, the Nouvelle Vague in French cinema, and the socio-cultural milieu of post-war France.

Walter Frisch is H. Harold Gumm/Harry and Albert von Tilzer Professor of Music at Columbia University in New York, where he has taught since 1982.  Frisch is a specialist in the music of composers from the Austro-German sphere in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, ranging from Schubert to Schoenberg.  He has written numerous articles and two books on Brahms, including Brahms and the Principle of Developing Variation (1984) and Brahms: The Four Symphonies (1996, 2003). Frisch’s publications on Schoenberg include the book The Early Works of Arnold Schoenberg, 1893-1908 (1993) and the edited volume Schoenberg and His World (1999). His volume in the series, Music in the Nineteenth Century, was published in Fall 2012. His book Arlen and Harburg’s Over the Rainbow appeared in 2017. His latest work, Harold Arlen and His Songs, Oxford University Press, is forthcoming.

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