One thing about this time of year? I love autumn. The weather is so much cooler, I can start wearing my hoodies, and the changing of the leaves are just beautiful. When I was at Seoraksan two weeks ago, I kept thinking about the gorgeous colours of the leaves I saw there and what it represented. I was not only struck by its beauty, but I was reminded of the symbolic representation of autumn. What I saw at Seoraksan made me think of “Autumn Leaves“, a gorgeous song that’s been covered by many different artists since the 1940s. In fact, this round of Symphonic Selections features four different version of this song because I couldn’t choose one over the other. Yes, I try to feature more instrumental pieces with this column, but this is one of those rare cases where I also like its lyrical version :3
Of the three variations, I think this one feels less bittersweet and is more upbeat and “happier” sounding than the other two. This version by Chet Baker and Paul Desmond is very jazzy, and it’s something I can listen to as a great background music.
I only recently discovered this version by Nat King Cole, and I love it! Slightly more melancholy than the first one, Cole’s voice fits this song perfectly.
Then there’s the version by Lionel Hampton, who plays the solo on the vibraphone. This version puts me in awe at his skills. This one’s a bit slower than the Baker and Desmond version — but just as jazzy — so it actually feels mellower. Until you get towards the end where Hampton just shows off his moves with those mallets! That sounds practically ethereal and otherworldly!
Finally, this is the Eva Cassidy’s version, and I feel that this is the saddest one out of the bunch. Cassidy’s voice really brings out the sorrow in the lyrics and the melody, and it’s just works entrancingly to where I am almost in tears listening to this.
Have you heard this song before? Which version did you like? Do you feel that the instrumental version is better or the one with the lyrics?