Symphonic Selections: Autumn Leaves

Symphonic Selections

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?


  1. I’ve never heard of this song (or these musicians, with the exception of Nat King Cole), and I can’t listen to them at this moment because it’s nearly midnight and I don’t want to wake my parents, but I’ll be sure to do so tomorrow! (Well… if I remember.)

  2. I think I’ve heard of this song before, but my memory is hazy, but still a good collection of arrangements! Love this section of yours~

  3. I love autumn because I can break out my boots and cardigans! But fall tends to be shorter here and it moves straight to winter. :( Too cold!

    I don’t think I’ve heard this song before. I love Nat King Cole’s voice – I could listen to him all day. I really like all the versions, but his is probably my favorite. :)

    • There is definitely something magical about Nat King Cole’s voice! So I don’t blame you for liking his version! ^^

  4. I love autumn since it gives me a break from the heatwave that often hits L.A.

    I don’t think I’ve ever come across this song in my entire life but I sure do love me some Nat King Cole <3

  5. Autumn is my favourite season as well! That’s why my hubby and I have agreed that we would wed in the fall when all the leaves have turned yellow and orange. The best part I love about autumn is the colours and the fact that I can now justify wearing different scarves everyday along with boots and cardigans. Eva’s version of this song resonates with me the most; I love her voice and the emotion that she draws out of the words. More so, this song reminds me of a vietnamese song talking about the return of the autumn air.

    • That’s great you and your hubby married in the fall! The backdrop is definitely pretty!

      Thanks for sharing with me that Eva’s version resonated with you the most! It definitely has a bit of a haunting feel to it and it’s beautifully sad in its own way.

  6. Autumn is not really a season in India. It can be said as the period when the rains almost stop and the weather is cool. After that again the heat increases in October :(
    I hadn’t heard of any of these songs till today! :(

    • I would not enjoy autumn in India or anywhere else close to the equator. I can’t do heat well, haha! XD;

      Hope you liked the songs!

  7. I have heard this song before! The version I know is actually a piano instrumental version. It was one of the pieces that I loved to play and listen to back then. I didn’t know that this was actually a song; I thought that this was only an instrumental piece. My favorite version is the piano instrumental: this version, in particular! I just love what the right hand is doing. It’s the main reason why it’s a favorite of mine. Very nice to listen to. :)

    • Homg!!! This version is gorgeous. As a piano lover myself, I thank you for bringing this to my attention! That right hand is definitely amazing! I can’t believe I haven’t discovered this version before!

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