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This dazzling program of orchestral virtuosity presents twelve of Percy Faith’s finest arrangements. Famous through the world as conductor-arranger of such million sellers as Theme from A Summer Place, Delicado, and The Song from Moulin Rouge, Mr. Faith has selected twelve fine songs typical of the wide range of American popular music — sentimental, sensuous, sprightly, lyric, moody — and arranged them to exploit the fabulous sound of his orchestra. The shifting of lights and colors in the orchestral palette is altogether fascinating, a thrilling example of Percy Faith at his finest.

Jealousy, which Percy has selected to open his program, is one of the world’s most popular melodies. It was written by Jacob Gade, and first heard in the United States in 1925. Temptation was written for the movie “Going Hollywood” with Bing Crosby and Marion Davies in 1933. Nacio Herb Brown was the composer, lyrics were by Arthur Freed. The source of More Than You Know (lyrics by William Rose and Edward Eliscu, music by Vincent Youmans) was the 1929 musical production, “Great Day.”

Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart make their first entry in Percy Faith’s program with The Most Beautiful Girl in the World from “Jumbo” of 1936. This circus extravaganza starred Jimmy Durante, and was the last production to appear at the famous New York Hippodrome. Bud Green and Raymond Scott are the composers of the intriguing Tia Juana (1936). Duke Ellington wrote Sophisticated Lady, with lyrics contributed by Irving Mills and Mitchell Parish.

Cole Porter wrote the score for “Jubilee,” a 1936 musical comedy, which provided Begin The Beguine. (It was not until some years later that the song attained its real popularity.) 1942 was the year of That Old Black Magic, with lyrics by Johnny Mercer and music by Harold Arlen. It was sung in the movie “Star Spangled Rhythm” by Johnny Johnston, and danced by Vera Zorina. Two years later (1944) Mr. Arlen and E. Y. Harburg wrote the charming Right as the Rain for the musical comedy “Bloomer Girl.”

Two more songs by Rodgers and Hart are next on Percy Faith’s program. The first, Dancing on the Ceiling, was written in 1930 for the Ed Wynn musical “Simple Simon.” Eliminated during tryouts, the song was finally heard in the London production of “Evergreen.” “Babes in Arms” (1937) was the source of Where or When, introduced by Mitzi Green and Ray Heatherton. Percy Faith concludes his program with a blithe melody by Jerome Kern, with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein 2nd: the charming I’ve Told Every Little Star from the 1932 success “music in the Air.”

Percy Faith was born in Toronto, Canada, on April 7, 1908. He began his studies early, and applied himself so assiduously that by the time he was eleven he was earning three dollars a night—plus carfare—as a pianist for silent movies in a Toronto theatre. At fifteen, he made his concert debut in Massey Hall, and thereafter continued his piano work, along with a new-found interest in arranging for orchestras. In 1933, Percy was appointed staff conductor for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, remaining until 1940, when he moved to the Untied States to become conductor of “The Contented Hour.” That same year he became a citizen. His career moved steadily forward, and in 1947 he became conductor of “The Pause that Refreshes on the Air.” Other radio programs, and guest appearances with orchestras such the NBC Symphony further enhanced his reputation, and in 1950 he joined Columbia Records.

Barefoot, bearded and braless, denied self determination and in search of a hero or a god with answers and the foolish courage to face their tormentors while they shouted encouragement, a desperate people found Jesus Christ, applauded his resolve, begged for his help, and whooped at his downfall. Those closest to him understood him better and tried to soothe and to council, to warn and to understand. Some moved closer as defeat seemed inevitable. Some stepped back. Many looked to either side to be certain support was not far away. Others decided it was more prudent to save skin than soul.

In seven days, the final week of his life, he was greeted with the music of triumphant confidence in his powers to save, the exuberance a winner inspires, the selfishness a me-too-er displays, and, finally the loneliness of a loser. It is no wonder that this man, this calamitous week, and these all too familiar faces have provided the impetus for the most powerful creative accomplishment of the rock generation. The wonder is that Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber have said so much so beautifully.

In this time of the poets it is time now for the players to express themselves and to remind us once again of the power of instrumental music to convey despair and love and hope, even hypocrisy and greed and fear. And it is all here in these brilliantly orchestrated themes from the rock opera. Even the majesty of the overture is diluted by heckling, the friendship of Judas marred by timidity and doubt.

On the first day of that fateful week What’s The Buzz is orchestrated into a babble of cries superficial and filled more with curiosity than confidence. The urgency of “Let me in,” the desperation of “What’s happening?” are brilliantly buzzed in the brass. And the selflessness of Mary Magdalene, comforting and reassuring without fully understanding, is expressed in Everything’s Alright. Only the quiet ending belies the title.

But the crowd is still with him, and Hosanna is full of enthusiasm and reassurance, a mixture of awe and intimacy the orchestra can achieve so well. In Simon Zealotes it is “Me too” with abandon for a while, then silent majority. It was quite a Sunday.

Pilate’s Dream seems to reflect the wonder and the fear dreams leave in their wake, lingering in low strings to be remembered later. And the “Buy!” and the “Beg!” of The Temple, the hypocrisy of the mass contrasted with the honesty of the man are engraved in clashing sounds.

Mary’s song I Don’t Know How to Love Him, expressing at first despair, remembering love, building to hope has been set by Percy Faith to preface Jesus’ doubt, His own need for reassurance and his grim resolve in Gethsemane. Here the orchestra is as lonely as a man, as coldly curious as a doubting crowd.

The week is over, and the Trial Before Pilate is relentless and awful, taunting and loveless. The whole world knew the ending anyway, but the Faith orchestra articulates even the lashes.

Now the Overture seems to have lost its confidence, laced with the needling of Judas and the disdain of the turning mob. But the orchestra’s expression of Jesus’ forgiveness and faith is gentle and eloquent and personal. The players have here replaced the poets to tell this story in a shining new dimension. But the words were not forgotten.

IRVING TOWNSEND

Rock ‘n’ roll is generally presumed to be a young person’s game, so it may come as a surprise to learn that the best-selling instrumental of the rock era was a lush, richly orchestrated ballad credited to a 52-year-old conductor. Percy Faith was the conductor and his hit was The Theme From “A Summer Place.” It sold well over a million copies and topped the Bilbaord pop chart for nine weeks in early 1960.

Born in Toronto, Canada, April 7, 1908, Faith learned to play the violin by the time he was 7. He went on to study at the Toronto Conservatory of Music. He also played piano in a silent movie theater and the violin with several Canadian orchestras.

When Faith was 18 he severely damaged his hands trying to put out a fire at a clothing store operated by his sister. His violin-playing days were over but he continued in music, working as a conductor and arranger, joining the Canadian Broadcasting Company in 1933. He had his own show – “Music By Faith” – that was so popular in Canada it was picked up for broadcast in the U.S. by the Mutual Broadcasting System.

Faith relocated to the United States in 1940 as musical director for a radio series called “The Carnation Contented Hour.” In 1950, he was hired by Columbia Records’ head Mitch Miler to serve as an arranger and conductor for the label’s staff orchestra.

The Faith touch was soon heard on huge pop hits for Tony Bennett, including Because Of You (1950), Cold Cold Heart (1952) and Rags To Riches (1953). Faith also worked on big singles for Guy Mitchell, Rosemary Clooney, Frankie Laine and Doris Day.

Miller also encouraged Faith to record on his own and his first success came in 1950 when I Cross My Fingers, with a vocal by Russ Emery, was a Top 20 hit. All My Love, also issued in 1950, went Top 10. Faith closed out the year with Christmas In Killarney, which was a Top 30 song.

The hits kept coming in the early ‘50s. In 1951, he went Top 10 with On Top Of Old Smokey which sported the voice of Burl Ives. He also did well with When The Saints Go Marching In. Delicado, issued in the spring of 1952, went to No. 1 for a week.

In the spring of 1953, Faith’s recording of Swedish Rhapsody went on the charts where it would peak at No. 21. It’s flip side, Song From ‘Moulin Rouge’ (Where Is Your Heart), with a sweet vocal by Felicia Sanders, went on the Billboard list a month after Swedish Rhapsody. It would stay there for 24 weeks – 10 at No. 1 – and be cited as the best-selling record of 1953.

Later in ’53 Faith had a Top 20 record with Return To Paradise. Many Times was also popular that year. In 1954 he charted with Dream, Dream, Dream and The Bandit.

While Faith’s singles were being challenged by Elvis Presley and his pals, the conductor was doing well on the album charts. Adults were taken with his lush arrangements of standards and “Passport To Romance” was a Top 20 in the summer of 1956. “My Fair Lady,” with songs from the enormously popular Broadway musical, did even better, going Top 10 in 1957. A collection of songs from “Porgy And Bess” did well in 1959. In 1960, both “Bouquet” and “Jealousy” were Top 10 sellers.

In the early fall of 1959, Faith – who continued to release an occasional single – recorded the them from Warner Bros.’ “A Summer Place.” It was a steamy story of young love starring teen sensations Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue and adults Dorothy McGuire, Richard Egan and Arthur Kennedy. The single took almost six months to edge into Billboard’s Hot 100 in January 1960.

Once it got on the charts, the record moved quickly, and, after less than two months, it settled in at the top of the rankings for a nine-week run. It also won a Grammy as Record of the Year.

Despite his massive hit, Faith didn’t release an album based on the single. But he didn’t seem to need to as his albums of lush mood music continued to sell very well. In 1961, he was back in the Top 10 with music from “Camelot.” That was followed by popular collections featuring the music of Mexico and Brazil.

In 1963, Faith slightly altered his musical direction. He was still doing lush collections of instrumentals, but he switched from standards as his source to the Top 40. “Themes For Young Lovers” featured his 1960 hit of the same name and string-filled arrangements of teen hits like Go Away Little Girl, All Alone Am I and On Broadway. The sparkling sound of the album pushed it to Billboard’s Top 15 and eventual gold record status.

Faith continued to offer his versions of pop hits on “Shangri-La” and “Great Folk Themes.” In 1964, he was back with “More Themes For Young Lovers.”

Through the early ‘70s, Faith continued to record popular albums featuring his orchestra and chorus, including “Love Theme From Romeo And Juliet,” for which he received a 1969 Grammy for Best Contemporary Performance by a Chorus.

In all, Faith had 30 albums on the Billboard charts between 1956 and 1972. Three of them went gold.

Faith died of cancer February 9, 1976. He left a huge legacy of great music during his years on Columbia and Collectables is pleased to present some of the best of that work on this tribute to a man who spent more than 40 years bringing fine music to the work.

– Mark Marymount

Can a 52-year-old arranger-conductor cut one of the best-selling instrumentals of the rock era? The answer for Percy Faith was a resounding yes. The man known for “Theme From A Summer Place” was well into middle-age when he did an easy listening version of the theme from the popular movie. He already had a long string of hit albums and singles, had provided instrumental backing for other artists on their successful recordings and was a noted radio and TV arranger.

He was born April 7, 1908, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. By the time he was 6, Faith had demonstrated musical abilities, drumming out rhythms on family chinaware. Unwilling to encourage his drumming interests, Faith’s dad responded to his son’s musical interests by buying him a violin and paying for lessons. After three years of fiddling, Faith turned to the piano, which provide to be his forte.

By the time he was 11, Faith was working professionally, providing “Cowboys and Indian” music for silent films in a Toronto theater. The youngster was so short he had to sit on a stack of sheet music to reach the piano. For his efforts, he took home $3 a night and carfare. When he was 15, Faith debuted as a concert pianist and at 18 was writing special arrangements for other musicians and touring with a small concert group.

In 1928, Faith and Joe Allabough, who would go on to manage a radio station in Chicago, formed a radio team they called “Faith and Hope.” Faith was responsible for the music and Allabough, or “Hope,” was the comedian. By 1933, Faith was a staff conductor, arranger and pianist for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, a position he would hold for seven years. His duties included writing music for special programming including coverage of a visit to Canada by the King and Queen of England.

Faith’s work in Canada was not unnoticed by broadcasters in the United States, and, in 1940, he left his home country to serve as musical director for NBC. By 1950, he was working for Columbia Records, charting with “Cross My Fingers,” featuring a vocal by Russ Emery. He went Top 10 that year with “All My Love,” followed by the holiday themed “Christmas In Killarney,” done with the Shillelagh Singers.

Besides arranging and producing hits for himself, Faith worked his musical magic as an arranger and producer for a number of artists including Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Doris Day and others. He was also an accomplished writer and his “My Heart Cries For You” was a hit for Guy Mitchell, Dinah Shore and Vic Damone in the ‘50s.

Although he was busy with other Columbia artists, Faith continued to have his own hits. In the spring of 1951 he went Top 10 with “On Top Of Old Smoky,” an old folk song that featured a Burl Ives vocal. He also did well with “When The Saints Go Marching In” and its flip-side, “I Want To Be Near You.” In the spring of 1952, he topped the charts with “Delicado,” featuring Stan Freeman on harpsichord.

In the spring of 1953, Faith had a hit with “Swedish Rhapsody.” After about a month, the B-Side, “Song From ‘Moulin Rouge’ (Where Is Your Heart),” with a strong vocal by Felicia Sanders, charted and went all the way to No. 1, where it stayed for 10 weeks, earning Faith his first gold record. He followed with another movie theme, “Return To Paradise,” and closed out the year on the charts with “Many Times.”

Faith continued to score popular singles with his lush instrumental sound even as rock ‘n roll took over the pop charts. In 1954 he did well with “Dream, Dream, Dream” and “The Bandit.” In ’56, he charted with “Valley Valparaiso,” “We All Need Love” and “With A Little Bit Of Luck.” He continued to do well with albums, especially the romantic “Passport To Romance,” issued in 1956, and a collection of songs from “My Fair Lady” that went Top 10 in 1957. His albums were also popular in the ‘60s, as he opened the decade with the Top 10 “Bouquet.” Faith also went Top 10 in 1960 with “Jealousy” and did the same in early ’61 with songs from “Camelot.”

Faith would go to #1 again with another movie theme. “A Summer Place” was a 1959 film that starred veterans Richard Egan and Dorothy McGuire as disapproving parents while teen stars Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue played misunderstood young lovers. The theme was written by Max Steiner and recorded by Faith in September 1959.

There was some radio play for “A Summer Place,” but it took almost six months for the record to finally catch on. It charted in the second week of 1960 and headed to the top of the Billboard pop charts, where it remained for nine weeks, selling more than a million copies. It also won a Grammy as record of the year and picked up nominations for best performance by an orchestra and best arrangement.

Summer Place” was followed by the Top 40 “Theme For Young Lovers.” Meanwhile, Faith’s albums continued to reflect his more adult-oriented sound, as “Mucho Gusto! More Music Of Mexico” sold well in 1961 and “Bouquet Of Love” and “The Music Of Brazil!” were hits in 1962. In 1963, Faith tried something different. That summer, the “Themes For Young Lovers” album was issued, featuring 12 current pop hits that got the warm Faith treatment, including “Go Away Little Girl,” “Our Day Will Come” and “I Will Follow Him.” It became an immediate best-seller, was certified gold and nominated for a Grammy in the best performance by orchestra category.

After “Shangri-La” in 1963 and “Great Folk Themes” in ’64, Faith was back in the summer of that year with “More Themes For Young Lovers.” He would continue into the ‘70s with popular albums that focused on movie themes and pop hits of the day, from “Dr. Zhivago’s” “Somewhere My Love” to Santana’s “Black Magic Woman.” His last charting album, “Day By Day,” was issued in 1972.

Faith died of cancer on February 9, 1976, not long after overseeing an updated disco version of “Theme From A Summer Place.” He left a rich legacy of music for humself and other artists that covered 50 years and hundreds of records. This collection of two of his best albums for Columbia clearly demonstrates his talent and versatility.

–Mark Marymont

Billboard chart numbers courtesy of BPI Communications and Joel Whitburn’s Record Research

Percy Faith – ‘A Master Of Show Music’

Percy Faith proved on many occasions, during his long and distinguished career as an arranger and conductor, that he was the absolute master when it came to interpreting the songs of the American Musical Theatre. His special skill in arranging and performing the many wonderful melodies that abound within the show music repertoire brought him great popular success in the field of orchestral music, a domain in which he was a leading figure. Faith was passionately dedicated to retaining the original melody in all his orchestral arrangements and his many albums of show music illustrate perfectly how the ‘heart of a song’ should be treated. Much of the ‘true gold’ of quality popular music can be found in Broadway theatre shows and, in the caring hands of Percy Faith, that wonderful legacy has been preserved.

‘Kismet,’ with songs by Robert Wright and George Forrest, based on melodies adapted from the music of Alexander Borodin, opened at New York’s Ziegfeld Theatre on December 3, 1953. Percy Faith and his orchestra recorded the score for what was the first of his albums of show music and the original Columbia Records long player remains on of his finest ever recordings. The maestro used, to telling effect, what he called ‘vocalese,’ namely a chorus of female voices performing as instruments in collaboration with a concert size orchestra. The resulting sound is hauntingly impressive as Percy’s arrangements work their special magic on Borodin’s wonderful melodies. A hallmark of Percy’s orchestral sound was his use of strings and they are appropriately lush and dramatic in this collection.

The brilliance of Columbia’s early fifties monaural sound for ‘Kismet’ gives way to the wide sweep of stereo for the later recording of ‘The Sound Of Music.’ This Rodgers and Hammerstein blockbuster dominated both stage and, subsequently, film during the late 1950s and well into the 1960s. Percy Faith made his recordings in the October of 1959 in the superb studio facilities at Columbia’s 30th Street location in New York City. By the end of the fifties, Faith had gained an enviable reputation for his collection of show music and his orchestral version of ‘The Sound Of Music,’ with its instantly recognizable, catchy tunes, was another great success with record buyers world-wide.

This superb compact disc is a marvelous example of how great show music should sound in an orchestral setting. What you will hear is timeless music beautifully arranged by one of the all-time great musicians and brilliantly performed by a top class concert orchestra. Percy Faith created a magical library of music on record and long may his work continue to be enjoyed in the 21st Century.

Brian Belton, The Record Centre, Birmingham          March 2001

Percy lived his first thirty-two years in Toronto, Canada, where the winters graced the people with snows so deep that the snow shovels were kept inside the house, as this was the only way to burrow out. Thus the often asked questions: “How did he come by his affinity for Latin music?... How did the warm, stirring sounds of Mexico, Spain, Cuba and Brazil find their way into his head?”

Until the advent of television in the late 1940’s, radio was the chief source of entertainment in the home. Included in radio’s musical offerings were Latin bands such as Xavier Cugat and Enrique Madriguera. These and others also appeared in films in the 1940’s and ‘50s, and in nightclubs. Percy heard them all and was inspired by the musical sounds and rhythms. This could explain the source of his love for the music, but the affinity?... This could only have come from a higher source.

Even today, many of the arrangements with which Percy has been identified were originally created for his many radio shows in the 1930’s and ‘40s which he subsequently recorded. Included in this all digital re-recording are three examples of these timeless melodies: “Tico Tico” from Fiesta Time (Decca 1948); “My Shawl” from Fascinating Rhythms (Columbia 1950) and “Oye Negra” from Delicado (Columbia about 1955).

Three other melodies in this new recording are “Granada,” “Chiapanecas” and “Mexican Hat Dance” from Viva, the music of Mexico released on Columbia about 1958. This album earned Percy a gold record award and due to its enthusiastic reception, he later recorded Mucho Gusto, more music of Mexico, released by Columbia about 1961. On a visit to Mexico City, Percy was given the Key to the City by the mayor of Mexico City, in appreciation of his contribution to the music of the country.

Percy’s repertoire of Latin music is vast, and could fill many more recordings. Did he have special favorites? We could presume that they would be the ones he created during his early days in radio, and continued to use in recordings and concerts throughout his career.

Percy Faith borrowed these wonderful Latin melodies from their composers and dressed them in the bright colors of excitement, romance, humor and majesty, all done with the consummate perfection we have come to know so well.

Nick Perito and forty seven musicians have done a superb job of replicating sixteen of Percy’s greatest Latin arrangements for this package. Percy would be proud to hear his music so respectfully executed, upholding the quality of rich strings crisp and vibrant brass and exciting percussion that his legacy of music has always provided.

Enjoy!
Marilyn Faith Leonard

Percy Faith is no newcomer to the field of Latin music. His albums of Mexican, Brazilian and Cuban music have delighted aficionados and non-aficionados alike for many years now. It is with great pleasure that we present Maestro Faith’s latest album of Latin music, Latin Themes for Young Lovers.

The songs chosen for this album are the very pick of the new crop of Latin music that has been sweeping America. The warm subtleties of the bossa nova are captured deliciously in One Note Samba, Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars and The Girl From Ipanema. Echoes of the pomp and pathos of the plaza de toros are exquisitely relived in The Lonely Bull. Some of the excitement and color of our own native Latin colony is caught in Percy Faith’s eloquent rendition of Spanish Harlem. Mix yourself a Margarita, adjust your tweeters and castanets, and without giving a thought to whether you can drink the water or not, you will be completely captivated by a world of Latin Themes for Young Lovers.

E.L.K.

Percy Faith is no newcomer to the field of Latin music. His albums of Mexican, Brazilian and Cuban music have delighted aficionados and non-aficionados alike for many years now. It is with great pleasure that we present Maestro Faith’s latest album of Latin music, Latin Themes for Young Lovers.

The songs chosen for this album are the very pick of the new crop of Latin music that has been sweeping America. The warm subtleties of the bossa nova are captured deliciously in One Note Samba, Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars and The Girl From Ipanema. Echoes of the pomp and pathos of the plaza de toros are exquisitely relived in The Lonely Bull. Some of the excitement and color of our own native Latin colony is caught in Percy Faith’s eloquent rendition of Spanish Harlem. Mix yourself a Margarita, adjust your tweeters and castanets, and without giving a thought to whether you can drink the water or not, you will be completely captivated by a world of Latin Themes for Young Lovers.

E.L.K.

When attendance of recordings sessions becomes part of the everyday routine, it’s easy to take what you hear for granted. In a week’s time a regular session-goer can easily become jaded, become accustomed to hearing fine performances from fine musicians and vocalists.

The evening of December 2, 1969, at the Columbia Records studios in Los Angeles, I must admit, turned this “regular session-goer” into a believer again. After ten years of sessions, I was at that very first session again; as impressed as the first time I saw live musicians and singers recording. (I’m afraid that I had nearly forgotten the feeling.) That’s what a Percy Faith session does to you: The brilliance of the strings and the richness of the chorus transport even the most jaded listener into that too infrequently visited land of spectacular sound. Whether your bad is contemporary music or tends to lean toward the more pop items, there is something for you here: two movies (Ballad Of Easy Rider, and Everybody’s Talkin’ from “Midnight Cowboy”) and nine of the biggest of today’s hits.

You won’t hear Percy playing an instrument on this album (in spite of the fact that he’s a fine pianist). What you will hear is Percy playing thirty-five musicians and a chorus of sixteen.

The next session beings whenever you like, and the nice part is that Percy’s next session can be wherever you play it.

Enjoy, Bil Keane

Why is it with fads constantly coming and going—Rock & Roll, Country & Western, Psychedelic, Folk, Blues—why  is it that this man has been able to remain in the mainstream of the American pop music scene?

Percy Faith’s secret (if I may be allowed to reveal it) is simply his ability to listen; to be aware. A discussion with Percy today is likely to touch on Feliciano, The Doors, Blood, Sweat & Tears or Donavan. Had you spoken to him ten years ago, Buddy Holly would have been the center of the conversation.

Blend an awareness and perhaps more importantly an understanding of contemporary music with an expertise at arranging and conducting an orchestra and voices and you have the brilliant sound of the Percy Faith Orchestra and Chorus. The sound of today!

They’re all here, the biggest of today’s hits, a cross-section of the American musical taste. Songs like Aquarius and Good Morning Starshine from the smash musical “Hair,” Love Theme From “Romeo and Juliet” and Blood, Sweat & Tears’ Spinning Wheel—just to mention a few. All 1969 and all have been residents of the coveted #1 slot on the nations best-seller charts.

As if this weren’t enough of a musical experience for one album, there’s more—a very special gift from Percy to you: Summer Place ’69 (The original was done by Percy Faith’s orchestra in September of 1959 and has sold in excess of three-million records.) A beautiful song when Percy first recorded it with his orchestra, even more beautiful today with the addition of the chorus.

Here they are, today’s songs in today’s sound for today’s people—for you.

— Bil Keane

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