from THE SYMPHONY SESSIONS
Written by David Foster & David Paich
Around 1986 after the huge success of his soundtrack for “St. Elmo’s Fire,” aka the “brat pack” movie, David Foster decided to focus more on instrumental music. Foster would soon deliver his critically acclaimed self-titled cd and another well-received soundtrack album for the Michael J. Fox’s movie, “The Secret Of My Success.”
The next step of this creative phase came in June of 1987 by means of a fruitful collaboration with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra that led to an album aptly titled The Symphony Sessions. On this classically-inspired project performed live with the orchestra, Foster teamed up with the great Jeremy Lubbock (1931-2021). One of the world’s most gifted orchestra arrangers and Foster’s partner in crime, Lubbock arranged on pop masterpieces including Chicago’s hits “Hard To Say I’m Sorry” and “Hard Habit To Break.” On The Symphony Sessions, Lubbock and Foster crafted a series of gorgeous instrumental themes. Lubbock beautifully orchestrated the pieces while Foster performed them on the acoustic piano.
In the past, this site has had articles written about some of The Symphony Sessions gorgeous musical landscapes including “Time Passing,” “Piano Concerto In G” and the theme of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics, the famous “Winter Games.” For this week’s review, the site picked another incredible piece of music titled “Morning To Morning.”
Composed by the Hitman with his pal David Paich from Toto, “Morning To Morning” was arranged by Marty Paich (1925-1995) who was David’s father and another musician with a list of legendary talents. Marty Paich could be credited with amazing work from the incomparable Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996) to Sir Elton John. On “Morning To Morning,” Marty Paich crafted an arrangement that’s a musical tour-de-force with tempo changes and spectacular orchestral work. Both Davids played some enchanting acoustic piano on the delicate first part of the tune while suddenly trading virtuoso lines as the track’s tempo sped up.
Given its classical feel, The Symphony Sessions was a surprising entry on Billboard Top 200 at #111. The superior level of the recording was acknowledged with two Grammy nods; one for “Winter Games” as “Best Instrumental Composition” and the other for The Symphony Sessions short film that was nominated for “Best Performance Music Video.”
Foster kindly sent his recollection of The Symphony Sessions:
“I remember The Symphony Sessions so clearly. It was such a thrill to go to Canada, near my hometown, and work with the Vancouver Symphony. We recorded the whole project on two tracks and I practiced quite hard before to be able to play all the material live. We brought a talented engineer from London because I loved his previous works. Eric Tomlinson, this was his name, recorded the whole album in two days. ‘Morning To Morning,’ co-written with David Paich, was very special also because of Marty, David’s father, who was such an incredible arranger and breathed life into our song (as did on the other tracks of the album the incredible Jeremy Lubbock and Johnny Mandel). David Paich played all the hard parts on our song and I was so impressed with his piano skills. He played incredibly on ‘Morning To Morning,’ although you wouldn’t expect less from the guy who wrote masterpieces like Toto’s ‘Africa,’ one of my favorite songs of all time. The whole The Symphony Sessions project was a labor of love for me and gave me the opportunity to think outside the box after so many pop hits. I also knew that if I included one semi-contemporary tune with some modern programming like ‘Winter Games’ that I would have had a better chance to sell more albums. That definitely worked as ‘Winter Games’ became a good adult contemporary hit and even entered Billboard’s Hot 100.”
- Acoustic Piano: David Foster & David Paich
- Arranged by Marty Paich
- Orchestrated by Jeremy Lubbock
- Produced by David Foster
- Co-Produced by Jeremy Lubbock