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Warning: Anyone allergic to The Sound of Mucus should look away now smirk .

The great Canadian actor passed away yesterday. Like most people of a certain age (i.e. ancient), I knew him mainly for his role as the Captain in that movie (which he renamed as above, because he detested its sentimentality and sticky sweetness whistle) - which he said he only agreed to act in because it gave him the chance to sing.......only to find out that the powers-that-be decided that his voice wasn't up to Edelweiss after all, and he was over-dubbed in the movie. But this, apparently, is his real singing voice:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obEm1Mqm7C0

I was surprised to learn from BBC TV yesterday that Plummer actually trained to be a concert pianist, before switching to Shakespeare and then Hollywood. Here he is in old age, improvising on Rach 2 during a break from filming:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2L4zHLHuKM


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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Originally Posted by bennevis
But this, apparently, is his real singing voice:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obEm1Mqm7C0

I was surprised to learn from BBC TV yesterday that Plummer actually trained to be a concert pianist, before switching to Shakespeare and then Hollywood. Here he is in old age, improvising on Rach 2 during a break from filming:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2L4zHLHuKM

I have always known the movie with that particular version. I do believe it is his real voice. Here is Plummer talking about the movie and singing.

https://youtu.be/0-3fBg2JMo0

He actually played in an incredible number of movies, of which several masterpieces. A great actor.

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"The Sound of Music" - with this film the seed was planted for my passion for music. I remember getting home from the movie and heading straight for my toy piano and playing "Do-Re'Mi" by ear. My mom was amazed. I remember her saying "but you just heard that." So grateful she took my sister and I to see it. Watched the YouTube. Wonderful.


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Originally Posted by bennevis
Warning: Anyone allergic to The Sound of Mucus should look away now smirk .

The great Canadian actor passed away yesterday. Like most people of a certain age (i.e. ancient), I knew him mainly for his role as the Captain in that movie (which he renamed as above, because he detested its sentimentality and sticky sweetness whistle) - which he said he only agreed to act in because it gave him the chance to sing.......only to find out that the powers-that-be decided that his voice wasn't up to Edelweiss after all, and he was over-dubbed in the movie. But this, apparently, is his real singing voice:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obEm1Mqm7C0

And for comparison - here is what was used in the film.

https://youtu.be/8bL2BCiFkTk

Personally I prefer Plummer's original recording. More intimate and natural sounding. But Bill Lee's overdub is very close to Plummer's real voice. More so than when Marnie Nixon overdubbed Audrey Hepburn's original recordings for My Fair Lady that same year. The transitions in that film from Hepburn's speaking voice, to Nixon's singing voice were sometimes quite glaring.

Plummer was a very good pianist. It's a shame that he never had any film roles that allowed him to demonstrate his "hidden" musical talent. (Or did he?)


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Originally Posted by Carey
And for comparison - here is what was used in the film.

https://youtu.be/8bL2BCiFkTk

Personally I prefer Plummer's original recording. More intimate and natural sounding. But Bill Lee's overdub is very close to Plummer's real voice.
And Plummer himself sings with a wider dynamic and tonal range too, though Lee is more refined. I suppose for the movie, refinement wins over fervour.

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Plummer was a very good pianist. It's a shame that he never had any film roles that allowed him to demonstrate his "hidden" musical talent. (Or did he?)
In the comments below the video, someone said that Plummer played Mendelssohn on the piano in the 2015 movie Remember, where he was a Holocaust survivor with dementia.

I've not seen that movie, but I'm hoping that it will be screened on TV soon, as a tribute to him.......


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Originally Posted by bennevis
In the comments below the video, someone said that Plummer played Mendelssohn on the piano in the 2015 movie Remember, where he was a Holocaust survivor with dementia.

I've not seen that movie, but I'm hoping that it will be screened on TV soon, as a tribute to him.......
I've just discovered that the movie is free on Amazon Prime (which I've had for several years, but hardly ever watched any movies on it), so I've just had a glance at it now.

He plays the piano twice in it - firstly, just a bit of the beginning of the slow movement of Mendelssohn's G minor concerto (obviously by ear), then near the end just before the denouement, where he plays, appropriately, part of Wagner's Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde (- looks like his own arrangement based on Liszt's). And he definitely wasn't over-dubbed by someone else thumb.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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I'll check it out. Thanks so much for the tip. There's a snippet of his playing the Wagner in the official "trailer" for the film.

Also found this......

https://youtu.be/VjadTCRZFOg

And this = Plummer on Glenn Gould

https://youtu.be/LQoVGO2FvPg


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He and Oscar Peterson were classmates.

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Originally Posted by Carey
I'll check it out. Thanks so much for the tip. There's a snippet of his playing the Wagner in the official "trailer" for the film.

Also found this......

https://youtu.be/VjadTCRZFOg
Thanks for that. Marvellous!

That's the first time I've heard anyone play Sibelius's Symphony No.2 on the piano whistle.


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Wow! Always respected him as a great actor ever since I saw him in Hamlet at Elsinore but hearing this takes me to a whole new level of respect for a beautiful mind.



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Originally Posted by Carey
And for comparison - here is what was used in the film.

https://youtu.be/8bL2BCiFkTk

Personally I prefer Plummer's original recording. More intimate and natural sounding. But Bill Lee's overdub is very close to Plummer's real voice. More so than when Marnie Nixon overdubbed Audrey Hepburn's original recordings for My Fair Lady that same year. The transitions in that film from Hepburn's speaking voice, to Nixon's singing voice were sometimes quite glaring.

Plummer was a very good pianist. It's a shame that he never had any film roles that allowed him to demonstrate his "hidden" musical talent. (Or did he?)

Fascinating! He was such a musical soul. One could feel it so powerfully in every moment of his acting and in his speaking voice.

It's so interesting to read about his tortured relationship with the film- he called it an "albatross around my neck", always cringed when it was brought up, and, like Bennevis mentioned, tried to distance himself from its sentimentality. But (according to this article), he later wrote in his memoirs, "The more I watched, the more I realized what a terrific movie it is. The very best of its genre — warm, touching, joyous and absolutely timeless. Here was I, cynical old sod that I am, being totally seduced by the damn thing — and what’s more, I felt a sudden surge of pride that I’d been part of it.”

This article by Michael Riedel is a a really interesting read; he talks about Plummer initially only taking on the movie to practice singing for a future theater project, his attitude during the filming, how he would show up on the set with hangovers, and the snobby attitude he later admitted that he, then a prominent Shakespearean stage actor, harbored towards movie-making. The only bright spot for him was Julie Andrews, who became a close friend. "He loved watching her rehearse and film scenes, marveling at her unflagging energy, radiance and kindness to everyone in the set. He felt guilty about his own bad behavior, but that only drove him to down more schnapps at the hotel bar."

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Bennevis, thank you so much for your post. You enlightened me to another reason for his greatness.


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Thank you very much for sharing! The Sound of Music has re-opened some remote memories. Really appreciated.


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