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LE VOYAGE EN BALLON (STOWAWAY IN THE SKY)
Music composed by Jean Prodromidès
Orchestra conducted by André Girard
Release: September 2009
This is the most complete CD version of the music composed by Jean Prodromidès for Albert Lamorisse's Le Voyage en ballon (Stowaway in the Sky), as well as the complete soundtrack of Paul Paviot's short feature, Un Jardin public (1955) centered on the mime Marcel Marceau.
The huge orchestral and chorus score of Le Voyage en ballon contributed much to the movie success when released in 1960. The splendid sceneries of France are wonderfully captured in scope and color through a funny story, intended for children first. For the director, it was a kind of sequel to his previous short feature, Le Ballon rouge (The Red Balloon), an international classic.
The score had many versions on vinyl. In Europe, a few excerpts were released on an EP while an LP - a much less popular medium at that time - offered 30 minutes of music, including a version with an extensive narration. On the other hand, the American audience benefited from a LP release with ten additional minutes of music. Filled with enthusiasm for the film by Lamorisse, actor Jack Lemmon bought the distribution rights for United States. Unfortunately, his pervasive narration and the new soundtrack mixing of what became Stowaway in the Sky proved to be detrimental for the movie at the box office and, consequently, for the LP sales.
In the late '90's, the soundtrack to Le Voyage en ballon was reissued on CD in Japan in its short version with disappointing sound quality and inserts. So here is at last the unabridged, remastered version, achieved with the collaboration of the composer, an 82 years old gentleman who lives in Paris and is recipient of many distinctions for his outstanding artistic contribution. 16-page booklet.
LE VOYAGE EN BALLON
01 Introduction - The Chimes of Béthune 2:06
02 The Ballon Takes Off 1:56
03 White Shirt Ballet 1:32
04 Alsace - Landing in the Vosges 4:15
05 Paris 4:06
06 Chenonceaux - The Hunt 1:23
07 Big Sailing Ships - Seaweed 4:41
08 Pursuit in Brittany 3:12
09 The Alps - The Glaciers 4:42
10 Provence 3:03
11 Camargue - The Bulls - The Pink Flamingos 4:35
12 Final 3:58
13 A PUBLIC GARDEN 17:29
Joep de Bruijn - Main Titles, The Netherlands, 08-2009
Le Ballon Rouge was a touching 33 minute picture about a boy following a red balloon across Paris. Director Albert Lamorisse continued the adventures of the boy in Le Voyage en Ballon, which was kind of a sequel. This time the boy travelled around the whole of France in a gas balloon. While the film lost the poetic beauty of the original feature, the music by Prodromidès exceeded all expectations. Its symphonic elegance and lilting character underline the beautiful surroundings and the humorous children story being told. The score is an impressive burst of energy, wonderfully orchestrated and with several themes heard in different variations. The first theme is introduces as a waltz, but re-occurs in variation ranging from chorus and guitars combination to a joyful tambourine version. The second theme is a little, playful tune performed by the clarinet.Le Voyage en Ballon is without a doubt an imposingly high and dynamic score that never ceases to amaze me.
Randall D. Larson - Soundtrax Column, USA, August 31th, 2009
The music is melodic and exuberant, evoking young Pascal’s wide-eyed marvel at cosmopolitan Paris, the splendors of the French Alps, the valleys of Alsace, hilly Provence, seaside Camargue, and more from 100+ feet up. Previously available on CD only in Japan, Disques Cinémusique has released the score as an unabridged remaster. The large orchestra and chorus score were vivid and colorful, and this remains one of the composer’s finest works for cinema.