This program of French chansons swims with images and sounds of the streets of Paris: the café, the cabaret, the cherry blossoms in the spring, the smoke billowing from a lazy cigarette.
Musically the songs spill over with what we Americans hear as a distinctively French sound: the sensuous streamlined melody over the lilt of a waltz. Songs like La Valse à mille temps and Mon manège à moi carouse with the beat the waltz, the hum of accordion and the heat of the Paris dancehall. Le Temps des cerises and La Mer speak of a Frenchman’s deep love and tenderness for the beauty of his country. Ne me quitte pas, Dis quand reviendras-tu?, and Les Feuilles mortes overtake--devastate--with their words of longing, loss, passion and love, and with the fearless and raw quality in which the song texts depict the hard and humdrum lives of the everyday working classes.
While our program highlights the work of two most legendary chansonniers, Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel, we explore this idea of Paris-Amour in songs of classical composers such as Francis Poulenc and Erik Satie, as well as lesser known (to us) French songsters of the last century whose work has endured to remind us of la vie parisienne, la vie d’amour.
(1940) Guillaume Apollinaire (w) Francis Poulenc (m) from Banalités
|Chanteuse réaliste: La môme Piaf|
| ||Padam Padam|
(1953) Henri Contet (w) Norbert Glanzberg (m)
| ||La Mer|
(1945) Charles Trénet (w) Charles Trénet, Léo Chauliac (m)
| ||Au suivant|
(1964) Jacques Brel (w/m)