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GEORGES DELERUE, A COMPOSER FOR ALL SEASONS.

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Born in Roubaix France on March 15th 1925, Georges Delerue was set to become one of the most celebrated composers of film and classical music in the 20th century. Although he was interested in music from an early age he was not particularly attracted to it over his normal school work and lessons. His Mother enrolled the young Delerue at the local music conservatory where he began to play clarinet at the age of fourteen but his interest in the instrument was outweighed by his love of playing with his school friends. During the early days of WW ll and aged nearly fifteen years old Delerue gave up his studies and began to work in a factory where his father was foreman so that he could support the family, but even though things were considerably difficult and bleak for his family they still encouraged Georges to follow a career in music and study hard. His Grandfather was a vocalist and also his Mother played piano and also sang and after being immersed in this atmosphere that was filled with music Delerue finally decided that he too would like to become involved in the writing and also the performance of music. He divided his day into two parts the first part was taken up with his work in the factory and the latter part of the day he would attend the conservatory, plus he would also perform clarinet with local bands.

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As the war continued in Europe and Germany invaded Poland and France became ever threatened by the shadow of the Third Reich, many young men were enlisting in the army and other forces to protect their country, Delerue’s Mother feared for her son and persuaded him to study music more so that he might be enlisted into the relative safety of a military band, it was at this time that Delerue decided to change from his clarinet to piano as he was much more interested in this instrument. Delerue auditioned for Picavet Bacquart hoping that she would agree to be his tutor, after performing a piece by Mendelssohn she agreed to teach the young pianist and Delerue began his studies proper. Shortly after he began his piano studies he was diagnosed with scoliosis (curvature of the spine) and was coping well with the condition until he had an accident on his bicycle which resulted in him having surgery and being confined to bed for a while. It was during this period that the inner musician within him was released and he decided that he wanted to become a composer. Encouraged by a new director at the music conservatory Delerue begins to study full time. In 1945 Delerue graduates from the conservatory with second prize in clarinet, first prize for piano, chamber music and harmony, which earns him a place at the Paris conservatory of music where he continues his studies.

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Although he had a scholarship living in the French capital one year after the war had ended proved difficult for Delerue so he began to earn money by performing at weddings, funerals and also in local bars etc. When playing at funerals Delerue started to perfect his organ playing but was also at this time was drawn to the jazz styles that were being played in Parisian bars and restaurants.

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In 1948 Darius Milhaud becomes director of the National conservatory in Paris, Milhaud who had been in exile in the United States during the war years becomes a powerful influence in the career of Delerue and it was via his influences and advice that Delerue moved ever closer to the world of writing music for the theatre and eventually cinema. His career as a film music composer began in 1950, when he started to provide scores for short films, and between 1950 and 1957 the composer was kept busy working on theatrical productions and also working for French television which was at that time in its early days of development. In 1960, Delerue wrote his first film score for director Pierre Kast which was for a movie entitled LE BEL AGE it was also in 1960 that Delerue first collaborated with film makers Francois Truffant on SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER and Philippe de Broca on THE LOVE GAME. In 1964 he was called upon by Ken Russell to score the film FRENCH DRESSING and Russell also made a film for the BBC about Delerue called DON’T SHOOT THE COMPOSER.

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The sixties were a busy time for Delerue, in 1966 he worked on A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS for Fred Zinneman and also in that year composed the music for the ballet THE THREE MUSKETEERS. In 1967 he wrote the hymn OUR WORLD for British television and was honoured with an Emmy for his work in 1968. The rest as they say is history, Delerue’s music is elegant, fragile, haunting and melodic. It is beautifully simple but at the same time enticingly compelling and attractive. Film music without Georges Delerue would have been a rather ungracious and rather dull place. CRIMES OF THE HEART, A LITTLE ROMANCE, PLATOON, RICH IN LOVE, DAY OF THE DOLPHIN, THE FRENCH REVOLUTION, TRUE CONFESSIONS, THIBAUD THE CRUSADER, PROMISE AT DAWN, STEEL MAGNOLIAS, THE LAST METRO, THE BORGIAS, JULES ET JIM, SILKWOOD, THE 25TH HOUR, OUR MOTHERS HOUSE, DAY FOR NIGHT, THE WOMAN NEXT DOOR, AGNES OF GOD,BEACHES,INTERLUDE,MEMORIES OF ME, EXPOSED and many many more are scores that will forever be with us even though the composer has left us, he once said, “ JE NE CONCOIS PAS MA VIE SANS LA MUSIQUE”. (“ I CANNOT IMAGINE MY LIFE WITHOUT MUSIC”) Well I cannot imagine the world without the music of Georges Delerue. He passed away in 1992. Take a day soon listen to his music, marvel at his melodies and his talent, and be prepared to be overwhelmed with emotion.

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“ MERCI POUR VOTRE MAESTRO DON PRECIEUX”

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QUE D’AMOUR.

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Philippe Jakko began his musical career as a composer of Ballets and also writing music for the theatre, he has also an impressive list of hit songs to his name. As well as being a gifted composer he also is an accomplished musician and conductor. So why have we not really heard much of his music until now? Maybe we just have not been looking or listening hard enough. My first encounter with his music came last year(2014) when I heard his score for ALLIES after this I was recommended to listen to his music for the film QUE D’AMOUR which was directed by Valerie Donzelli in 2013, what struck me immediately was the maturity and also the inventiveness of his writing on this particular project, his gift for melody and also his ability to create moving and haunting thematic material is stunning and obvious. The score for QUE D’AMOUR is in many ways similar to the style that fellow French composer Georges Delerue employed on a number of his film scores, but in fact there is so much more to the style and also the sound that Jakko has created for this soundtrack. I love the way that the composer combines strings with woodwind and also delicately adds harpsichord, vibes and piano in places to augment and infuse a certain fragility to the proceedings. There is also a definite nod or homage to Delerue in track number 17, FINAL ALLA DELERUE which evokes the style of the great French composer especially when he collaborated with filmmakers such as Francois Truffaut and Jean Luc Godard, there is a Baroque style present and also one that is filled to overflowing with simple but affecting writing. The compact disc opens with the free spirited and exuberant composition, RUE DE LA PAIX, strings build and introduce to the listener a pleasant and slightly up-tempo piece performed by the aforementioned strings that are later joined and supported by wistful sounding flute that is interspersed with delicate and subtle flourishes from the harpsichord. It is a brief but enjoyable piece that sets the scene wonderfully for the remainder of Jakko,s score, tantalising string lines are combined throughout the work with t times melancholy sounding woods and underlined perfectly by childlike xylophone. This is a score that you should own a triumph a delight and I hope that there will be many more to come from this highly talented and inventive composer.

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“L’INCORRIGIBLE”.

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Composer Georges Delerue was responsible for some of cinemas most romantic and infectious themes, he was one of those composers who had the ability to enhance, support and ingratiate each and every project he worked upon. Since his untimely death his music seems to have become more and more popular if that is at all possible, as the composer  always had a faithful army of followers throughout his illustrious and incredibly creative career. The composer was at ease working within any genre of film and fashioned delicate, melodic and dramatic compositions that fitted each and every situation like the proverbial glove.  Many collectors outside of France were introduced to Delerue’s music fairly late on into the composers career, when he worked upon American movies such as DAY OF THE DOLPHIN, STEEL MAGNOLIAS, CRIMES OF THE HEART and BEACHES. But the composers output was far greater for productions that were filmed by European filmmakers and sadly these were sometimes overlooked. This compact disc is the first release from THE MUSIC BOX RECORDS COMPANY, and is limited to just 1000 pressings. The music on the disc is  taken from two movies. The first is from 1975. L’INCORRIGIBLE, directed by Philippe De Broca and starring the effervescent and charismatic talent of Jean Paul Belmondo. De Broca and Delerue began their creative collaboration in 1960 and  this fruitful partnership  lasted through to the late 1980,s. The composer working on many of the Directors most prestigious and well known examples. L’INCORRIGIBLE is a comedy which has as its central character Victor Gauthier a gentle mannered villain and fairly polite teller of untruths. The second score included on the disc is from the 1976 movie VA VOIR MAMAN PAPA TRAVAILLE,  a little known movie which was directed by Francois Leterrier who himself had very little success as a director of commercial projects.

L’INCORRIGIBLE is typical Delerue, it begins with a short lived but strident sounding piece in the form of the movies main theme, which for me at least sums up perfectly the atmosphere of the films storyline and also the characteristics and personality of the films central figure. Strings, brass and percussion combine to create a rousing fairly brisk sounding piece that is melodic and slightly mischievous, full of light-heartedness and zest.  Track number two is just the opposite TENDRE MARIE-CHARLOTTE, is a tender blissfully melodic and haunting tone poem performed in the central part by piano which is supported by underlying strings that enhance and tenderly underline and caress the central theme, then the composer adds woodwind to the equation further enhancing and delicately carrying the theme forward to the cues conclusion. This type of orchestration can only be Delerue, he was and still remains the master at this creative and pleasing method of bringing emotion and poignancy to the proceedings. Track number three VICTOR TRAITE UNE AFFAIRE, contains the same central theme as track two, but on this occasion the composer arranges it differently and replaces the piano with an accordion creating a typically French ambience to events.  L’INCORRIGIBLE is a score that contains a number of styles within its running time, we are treated to Delerue in richly romantic mood, neo classical flourishes can be heard throughout and there is also an underlying comedic air to the score with roguish interludes, plus a handful of cues that conjure up perfectly an atmosphere that is mysterious and tense at times. One of the highlights of the score is track number 16, THEME D’AMOUR which is performed on piano by the composer, this is a delightfully emotive piece made even more so by the very fact that it is Delerue playing it.

VA VOIR MAMAN, PAPA TRAVAILLE begins at track number 17, this too has the typical sound of Delerue about it, as soon as the track commences one instantly knows what composer is responsible for the music. Lightly struck vibes embellished by a music box effect and harp are further enhanced by underlying strings in the GENERIQUE DEBUT, a pleasing opening to a score that contains compositions that can easily be identified as Delerue through and through, but also a score that contains some up beat examples which have an almost pop persuasion to them as in track number 18, SERGE E MARIANNE, track 21, SURPRISE PARTIE and track 28, FUTURISSIMO, in which Delerue utilises electronic instrumentation effectively but also subtly creating a cue that’s style one would ordinarily associate with composers such as Magne, De Roubaix, Lai or Gainsbourg.

There is also the rather jaunty  AU PARC DE THOIRY which is performed on piano in nickelodeon mode backed with percussion, this segues into a tango tempo taken on by percussion and piano that act as support to accordion.  But for much of the score we are treated to some archetypal Delerue, demonstrated in emotive and haunting interludes that are touchingly beautiful and mesmerising and the odd near classical sounding piece performed by either piano, harpsichord or strings. All in all this is a delightful compact disc that contains two very different but also in some ways similar examples of the work of Georges Delerue. Music Box Records are to be congratulated on selecting this duo of fine scores and saving them from obscurity. Packaged well with edifying sleeve notes filmographies and other information, the disc has very good production values with nice sound and colour stills.