This week's free download are the works, "Autumn Leaves," composed by Joseph Kosma, (1905-1969) in 1945 with the help of French poet Jacques Prévert, and "Over the Rainbow," composed by Harold Arlen, (1905-1986) in 1939.
Joseph Kosma was a French composer with a Hungarian ethnicity and Jewish background. Because he was Jewish, he fled to France during World War II when Nazism rose and found a job as a pianist for a café. During World War II, he stayed in hiding in France. When he composed music that was used in any films, he did so under pseudonyms or anonymously. Though a lot of Kosma's work was never published, his music was given new life by the French musicians who later performed it and continue to do so. His work, "Autumn Leaves," was one of his most famous collaborations with French poet Jacques Prévert. It gained worldwide acclaim and has been sung by many talented artists.
Harold Arlen was an American composer whose life was vastly different from Kosma's. Arlen sang in the choir as a child and his father was a cantor. He was extremely inspired by post-World War I popular music. He composed a lot of pieces for Broadway and Hollywood films, including the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz.
"Over the Rainbow" was written for that film, and became Judy Garland's breakout moment when she sung it for her starring role as Dorothy. "Over the Rainbow" won an Academy Award for Best Original Score in 1940. Over the years, Arlen helped compose a number of jazz pieces too. His music helped lift spirits during an era of both hardship and simplicity.
"Autumn Leaves" and "Over the Rainbow" both appear on the Cascading Strings
album conducted by Ahnunzio Mantovani, (1905-1980) performed by Mantovani & His Orchestra.
To download, click the blue links above and select the three-dot icon in the player, or right-click the blue link and select "Save link as…"
Continue scrolling to watch a performance of "Autumn Leaves" from the Midwest Young Artists Conservatory directed by Chris Madsen, or to listen to more renditions of Kosma's and Arlen's work. (authorized users only for the songs in the playlist.) All users have access to the video.