• Michel Legrand : Biography

    8 Jul 2010, 12:52 by Atthida

    Michel Legrand

    It is difficult to pin the multi-talented Michel Legrand down into one single category. This amazingly versatile French singer, songwriter, composer, arranger, conductor and producer has enjoyed a whirlwind career, excelling in an impressively broad range of domains from film soundtracks and French 'chanson' to jazz and classical music. An international star, who has won as much respect in the States as he has in Europe, Legrand is an insatiable musician whose creativity and ambition appear to know no bounds.

    Michel Legrand was born in Bécon-les-Bruyères, in the Paris suburbs, on 24 February 1932. His mother, Marcelle der Mikaelian (sister of the singer Jacques Hélian) was descended from the Armenian bourgeoisie. In 1929, she married Raymond Legrand, a French musician renowned for hits such as "Irma la douce." The couple eventually got divorced in 1946, but in reality Legrand had already left the family home in 1935. He went on to marry again, three times, providing four half-brothers and sisters for Michel.

    Michel spent a rather solitary childhood, growing up with his sister, Christiane (born in 1930). He revealed a prodigious musical talent at an early age, playing the piano when he was just four years old. As a child, he was fascinated by a film about the life of composer Franz Schubert (played on screen by Tino Rossi). Michel eventually went on to train at the Paris Conservatoire in 1942. He spent seven years there, studying under renowned teachers such as Nadia Boulanger, Henri Challan, Noël Gallon and Lucette Descaves. The young prodigy went on to win numerous awards for his skills in counterpoint, piano, fugue and 'solfège' (an award he received on 6 June 1944).

    1945: All that jazz

    In the immediate post-war years, Michel Legrand discovered a new passion: jazz. The moment that triggered off this musical conversion was when he attended a concert by Dizzy Gillespie – and left, totally blown away by what he had seen! By the time he graduated from the Conservatoire in 1949, Legrand had mastered a dozen instruments. And he found himself launched straight into the world of French 'chanson,' thanks to introductions from his father (with whom he had renewed ties by this point). The gifted teenager was soon working as an accompanist to many of the major French stars of the day including Henri Salvador, Juliette Gréco, Zizi Jeanmaire and Catherine Sauvage.

    In 1954, Legrand stepped from the accompanying shadows centre stage when the American record label Columbia-EMI commissioned him to make an album of English adaptations of French classics. The album "I Love Paris" went on to sell a staggering 8 million copies, turning Legrand into an overnight star both at home and abroad. It was at this point that legendary French 'chanson' star Maurice Chevalier approached Legrand and offered him a post as his musical director. Legrand accepted and, in Chevalier's company, flew across the Atlantic, discovering the States in the course of numerous tours.

    Meanwhile, Legrand's own solo career continued to go from strength to strength. He recorded a whole string of albums: "Holiday In Rome" (1955), "Michel Legrand Plays Cole Porter" (1957) and "Legrand In Rio" (1958), all released on the Philips label, directed by Jacques Canetti. One of the high points of Legrand's early recording career was his 1956 album recorded with Boris and Henri Salvador (aka Henri Cording) under the pseudonym Big Mike – a nickname Jean Cocteau had bestowed upon him! The following year, Legrand was invited to the USSR to perform at the Student Youth Festival. It was on this trip that he met his future wife, a young French model with who he went on to have three children (Hervé, Benjamin and Emilie).

    In 1958, Legrand headed back across the Atlantic to the States and spent valuable time in New York, directing studio sessions where he mixed with the crème de la crème of the jazz world, working with the likes of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans and Ben Webster. The album "Legrand Jazz" was a result of this white-hot jazz period.

    1960: The French New Wave

    In 1955, Michel Legrand branched out in a new direction, writing the music for Henri Verneuil's film "Amants du Tage," under the pseudonym Lucien Legrand. But Legrand's involvement in the world of French cinema really began in earnest in the late 50s when he was caught up in the French New Wave. Working in close collaboration with a new breed of French directors, Legrand kept up a hectic non-stop schedule, composing soundtracks for up to a dozen feature films and television films a year.

    Between 1961 and 1967, Legrand scored seven films for Jean-Luc Godard (including "Bande à part", "La Chinoise" and "Vivre sa vie"). In 1961, he also wrote (and performed) the soundtrack to Agnès Varda's New Wave classic "Cléo de 5 à 7." That same year, Legrand began working with Varda's husband, the renowned French film director Jacques Demy. Together, the pair would work on ten major feature films between 1961 ("Lola") and 1988 ("Trois places pour le 26"). The high points of this collaboration were "Les Parapluies de Cherbourg" (which won the coveted 'Palme d'or' award at Cannes in 1964), "Les Demoiselles de Rochefort" (1967) and "Peau d'Âne" (1970). In short, Michel Legrand was responsible for creating a new - either much-loved or much-hated - genre in the French film world: the musical!

    Besides working with the most avant-garde directors of the "Nouvelle Vague", Legrand also collaborated with a number of more 'traditional' French film-makers such as Gilles Grangier and Yves Allégret. He soon found himself in great demand abroad, too. The first foreign director to recognise Legrand's talent was Joseph Losey (for whom Legrand scored "Eva" in 1962). Losey and Legrand subsequently worked together on another three occasions, most famously for "The Go-Between" (which won the 'Palme d'or' at the Cannes film festival in 1971).

    1964: French Chanson

    Legrand had long been familiar with the French 'chanson' world, having accompanied some of its biggest stars when he was a young 20-year-old just starting out in the business. He had also put in several years at the Philips label, orchestrating countless songs for the big names of the day. When Legrand met the famous Toulousan singer Claude Nougaro in 1962, the two men hit it off immediately thanks to their shared passion for jazz. The pair even went on to write a number of Nougaro classics together including "Les Dom Juan" and "Le Cinéma." Legrand also went on to compose and arrange material for Serge Reggiani in 1970 and he worked with Yves Montand, too, composing hits such as "Coucher avec elle." Meanwhile, Legrand's songs were covered by a number of international stars from Liza Minnelli to Greek diva Nana Mouskouri.

    But it was Jacques Brel, a singer for whom Legrand had written arrangements in the 50s, that was to play a decisive role in Legrand's career , for Brel was the one that persuaded him to get up behind the microphone and start performing his own work. As early as 1964, Legrand began building his own repertoire with a helping hand from Eddy Marnay and Jean Dréjac (for the lyrics). Over the following years, he would also work with the likes of Jean-Loup Dabadie, Boris Bergman, Jean Guidoni and novelist (and occasional songwriter) Françoise Sagan.

    1966: Big in the States

    Ever eager to branch out and conquer new territory, Michel Legrand set off for Los Angeles in 1966, with his wife and three children in tow. He spent three years there, which turned out to be an amazingly productive period for him. In 1968, Legrand sat down and wrote the soundtrack to Norman Jewison's swinging 60s film "The Thomas Crown Affair." The theme tune from the movie, "The Windmills Of Your Mind", ("Les Moulins de mon cœur") which featured French lyrics by Eddy Marnay and English lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman went on to become a huge hit. In fact, Legrand ended up scooping the Oscar for Best Film Theme Song in 1969. What's more, he won another famous gold statue two years later for Best Film Music thanks to "The Summer of '42", a film which was famous for its theme song "The Summer Knows" (French lyrics by Jean Dréjac, English lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman) performed by Barbra Streisand.

    Needless to say, Michel Legrand went on to become a major star in the U.S. Indeed, he soon became such a household name that he was soon invited to appear on all the prime time chat shows from The Maurice Chevalier Show and The Danny Kaye Show to The Shirley Bassey Special. Legrand, who was nominated for a Grammy Award no less than 27 times, carried off the prestigious prize five times between 1971 and 1975.

    America at that time also meant jazz, of course. And, jazz being one of Legrand's greatest passions in life, he went on to perform several concerts with Ray Brown in 1968 in the famous L.A. club, Shelly's Manne-Hole. The album, "Verve", was produced as a result of this.

    1970s-1980s: Legrand, a veritable one-man band

    Legrand's astounding versatility continued, if anything increasing over the years. He took his film work to new heights, working with Clint Eastwood in 1973 and Orson Welles in 1976. Legrand also maintained his involvement with homegrown French talent, working with Jacques Deray ("La Piscine", 1968), Jean-Paul Rappeneau ("Les Mariés de l'an II", 1971 and "Le Sauvage", 1975), Costa-Gavras, Elie Chouraqui, Claude Lelouch ("Les Uns et les autres", 1981) and Louis Malle ("Atlantic City", 1981). In 1983, his theme tune to Barbra Streisand’s movie "Yentl" (written in collaboration with Alan and Marilyn Bergman for the lyrics), won him yet another Oscar. Later that same year, Legrand wrote the score for "Never Say Never Again" (the last James Bond film starring Sean Connery). Meanwhile, he also extended his work to the theatre, writing the music for Jean-Louis Barrault’s play "Jarry sur la butte" (1970) and "Monte Cristo" in 1975.

    In January 1972, Legrand took to the stage in his own right, performing a successful run at the Olympia (in Paris) with the singer Caterina Valente. In 1975, he gave a helping hand to a young unknown singer, Jean Guidoni, helping assure his promote him as a new talent.

    In 1974, Michel Legrand suffered a blow in his personal life when he lost his father, Raymond Legrand.

    In the 80s, Legrand chose to devote his time and energy to jazz, forming a trio with drummer André Ceccarelli and double-bass virtuoso Marc-Michel Le Bévillon. The threesome went on to make three albums together. In 1982, Legrand pulled off another major musical exploit, getting the two famous saxophonists, Phil Woods and Zoot Sims, together in the studio to make the album "After The Rain." Later that year, Legrand was responsible for organising the mega-Shirley Bassey show which opened Midem (the annual record industry fair in Cannes). His first solo album as a singer since 1972 was also released at this point.

    In the late 80s, as part of the official celebrations for the Bicentenary of the French Revolution, Michel Legrand staged the première of his oratorio (based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) in Lyon. And he ended the decade branching out in a totally new direction, stepping behind the camera to direct his own film. "Cinq jours en juin", starring Sabine Azema and Annie Girardot, hit French cinema screens in 1989, but failed to make a major impact on cinema-goers or the critics.

    1990s: Big band

    Following his work as part of a jazz trio, Legrand changed musical format in the 90s, creating a big band which he took on several international tours in subsequent years, accompanying Ray Charles, Diana Ross and Icelandic pop diva Björk. He then went off to Suresnes to record an album with the orchestra (which featured a number of well-known musicians including the Belmondo brothers). The album was released in September 1999. Legrand also organised a show at the Olympia for French violinist Stéphane Grappelli who celebrated his 85th birthday in 1992. (A CD was released to mark the occasion).

    In 1995, Michel Legrand got down to his composing work, writing new material for Jean Guidoni’s album "Vertigo". The pair took to the stage together at the Casino de Paris in 1996 for a joint show which won a coveted “Victoire de la musique” award. Throughout the 90s, Legrand returned to his classical roots on several occasions. He recorded several CDs with the trumpet-player Maurice André (in 1998 and 2004), staged performances of Erik Satie’s work three times (in 1993, 1999 and 2002) and conducted requiems by Fauré and Duruflé in 1994. In the meantime, a number of songs from his own repertoire were covered by the world-famous opera singer Kiri te Kanawa on an album entitled "Kiri Sings Michel Legrand."

    In 1997, working in collaboration with the playwright Didier Van Cauwelaert, Legrand staged a new show "Le Passe Muraille" (based on Marcel Aymé’s work) at Les Bouffes Parisiens. The show proved to be a big hit with theatre-goers and Legrand also took "Le Passe Muraille" to Japan in 2000. But when, in 2002, he attempted to reinvent the show on Broadway in a new adaptation, "Amour", it proved to be a total flop.

    2000 on: the tributes pour in

    Various Legrand compilations have been available on the international scene since the 1980s. But in 2001, Mercury/Universal finally got round to releasing an official Legrand anthology, summing up the versatile singer-composer-musician’s career. The year before, a major tribute was staged to Michel Legrand when a bevy of stars performed his classics at an open-air concert in the courtyard of the Louvre as part of the annual "Fête de la musique." In 2003, Legrand received recognition at an even higher level, when he was presented with the ‘Légion d'honneur’. Snowed under with honours, music awards and Oscars, this formidable talent has never let fame go to his head or dull his prodigious artistic appetite.

    In 2005, Universal Jazz released "Le Cinéma de Michel Legrand", a boxed set compilation featuring Legrand's best known film soundtracks. But Legrand himself appeared reluctant to focus on the past and was not involved in the production of this 'greatest film hits.' The 4 CD set proved to be a veritable musical treasure trove, however, featuring 90 tracks composed in the course of Legrand's 50-year career.

    In June 2005, Legrand returned to the studio. This time round, it was not to compose his own work, however, but to pay tribute to his late friend and music colleague, the Toulousan singer Claude Nougaro (who died in 2004). Working with a number of leading jazz musicians and using tapes of Nougaro's voice, Legrand recorded new versions of many of the "Little Bull's" lesser-known songs which they had written together in the course of various collaborations. The album "Legrand Nougaro" also included reworkings of Nougaro classics such as "Don Juan", "Le Cinéma" and "Le Rouge et le Noir." The album, which proved to be more of a jazz extravaganza than a strictly 'chanson' affair, featured a special bonus, including a new song "Mon Dernier Concert" (which Nougaro had written before his death but never recorded himself).

    September 2005

    © RFI Musique
  • Aaaand we proudly present you: 2005' Nostalgia Layout Edition. Brought back…

    19 Feb 2009, 01:12 by Celuie

    Okay, I coquettingly wanted to do this, since the first major layout change after the conjunction of Audioscrobbler and back in 2006.

    Now, up for doing a new layout for once again, after half a year now, it was Girl_in_uniform that actually convinced me to go through the procedure of putting together a most close to the original version as possible CSS code adaption of back in the old days....

    Therefore, we proudly present you: 2005' Nostalgia Edition!

    You know the drill,
    but for those new to Styles:

    1] Install the Firefox Add-On "Stylish", passionately recommended, lover, at best on Firefox 3 | Direct Installation Link
    2] Click onto "Load into Stylish" at the respective page for the Layout you'd like to have,
    in this case Original Old 2005' Period (Get Here)
    3] Done!

    Group for this Layout Here, for conjoint Nostalgia.

    (In addition, if you are interested in getting the Weekly Charts back on your Profile again, user tutal33t was so kind to make a script for it available. | Link
    You'd though need to install the Greasemonkey Add-On before in addition to the other plug-in. | Direct Installation Link)

    All yours,
    Celuie and Girl_in_Uniform
  • Corinne Marchand

    30 Jan 2009, 16:58 by mandrak2000

    Cléo de 5 à 7 from Agnes Varda with Corinne Marchand (1961)

    Sans toi (Agnés Varda & Michel Legrand)

    Toutes portes ouvertes
    En plein courant d'air
    Je suis une maison vide
    Sans toi, sans toi.

    Comme une île déserte
    Que recouvre la mer
    Mes plages se devident
    Sans toi, sans toi.

    Belle, en pure perte
    Nue au coeur de l'hiver
    Je suis un corps avide
    Sans toi, sans toi.

    Rongée par le cafard
    Morte, au cercueil de verre
    Je me couvre de rides
    Sans toi, sans toi.

    Et si tu viens trop tard
    On m' aura mise en terre
    Seule, laide et livide
    Sans toi, sans toi,
    Sans toi.

    Without You

    All the doors open,
    Chilled by the breeze,
    I'm an empty house
    Without you, without you

    Like a desert island
    Covered by the sea,
    My shores disappearing,
    Without you, without you

    Pretty, yet really lost,
    Naked in the heart of winter
    I'm an empty body
    Without you, without you

    Consumed by the blues,
    Dead, in a tomb of glass,
    Covered with wrinkles,
    Without you, without you

    And if you return too late
    I'll already be laid in the ground,
    Alone, ugly and ashen,
    Without you, without you,

    Download, here :

    Arizona Colt (1966) / The Man from Nowhere (USA) by Michele Lupo

  • Nico in Paris, 1963

    14 Jan 2009, 01:15 by mandrak2000

    Strip-Tease de Jacques Poitrenaud with Joe Turner - 1963

    Nico, then Krista Nico plays the role of Ariane, a strip-tease débutante. She finds it difficult to undress, but find some help with a an articulated doll undressing along with her.

    Song from Serge Gainsbourg and Alain Goraguer for the movie.

    Serge Gainsbourg recorded a demo tape of Strip-Tease with Nico at the Studio Blanqui, S.P.P. 6 and 8 rue Jenner, Paris XIII, in 1962-12-00, for Philips, but he was unconvinced with her German accent and her voice which he thought was too deep, so he finally asked his friend Juliette Gréco to record the song. The Nico version is available on the 3CD Serge Gainsbourg box-set Le Cinéma de Serge Gainsbourg (Musiques de Films 1959-1990) FR Universal 586 516 2, released 2001-12-06. The box-set also includes Strip-tease (by Juliette Gréco), Some Small Chance, Rendez-Vous à la Calavados, Wake Me at Five, Solitude, and Crazy-Horse Swing.

    Strip-tease never got an official release on video or DVD.
    Here, sign the Petition for this release ! :

  • Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt, Walter Ruttmann (1927)

    30 Sep 2008, 22:01 by mandrak2000

    Stemming of the "New Objectivity"'s artistic movement , " Berlin, symphony of a big city " is undoubtedly the first " complete work of art " of the cinema history . Accomplished in 1927 by Walter Ruttmann, from an idea of Carl Mayer, this symphony in five acts and 24 hours pays tribute to the German metropolis of 1920s, then in full development....

    This cover is silent... And the original musical composition to Edmund Meisel is not on the library... So listen it with the music as you agree, pearhaps i can suggest you to try the Sergueï Prokofiev entry on the player, or
    John Adams or Honegger.... The fate will make moreover...

    Acte I

    Acte II

    Acte III

    Acte IV

    Acte V

    Walter Ruttmann wanted to apply his long experience of film director of geometric and abstracted short films with a " living equipment ", for " to create a film symphony from the millions of present energies in movement in the mechanism of the big cities ". The film invents so an unpublished virtuosity of rhythm at its time, carrying visual arts in their peak, notably with work on shot, optic trickeries and editing. His filming also benefits from many technical innovations, such a super-sensitive film which allows shooting of nocturnal views. But the potency of seduction is also on the effect of reality, by plunging us into a place and a time wish is irremediably disappeared ....

    Link :
    And very interesting about the berliner artistic movements in 20s :
    Futurisme et cinéma d'avant-garde sous la république de Weimar by Frédéric GIMELLO-MESPLOMB ( en français...)
  • Nurse-Modus: Several New Alternative Layouts for, a How-To:

    13 Aug 2008, 00:50 by Celuie

    1] Install the Firefox Add-On "Stylish", passionately recommended, lover, at best on Firefox 3 | Direct Installation Link
    2] Click onto "Load into Stylish" at the respective page for the Layout you'd like to have
    3] Done! Later on you can change your style through the "Stylish" Menu at the right bottom of Firefox

    A How-To for Safari I'm gonna add later.

    And here come the Layouts!

    You might be familiar with Paint It Black v.2 Dark-Grey/Olive: Get it Here

    Dark-Grey/Olive extended to whole page width: Get it Here

    And also: Dark-Grey/Olive V.3 Re-Structured: Get it Here
    Including a Shoutbox, and User-Information Replacement to the left of the page, in the Dark-Grey/Olive theme...

    For everyone that is likewise annoyed by the Shoutbox down there.. ;)

    Then, very new, in the main aspects modifications of my Dark-Grey/Olive v.2 Mod...

    A beige/dark brown theme with orange and dirt blue accents.. Savana Beige, Minimalistic: Get it here

    and: Savana Beige v.2: Get it here..

    Furthermore, Girl_in_uniform also did some Recolouring of the Olive Theme: Mod in Dark Red and Light Beige: Get it Here

    And Baltic Sea Summer, Get it Here

    More coming...

    In addition, you might also be interested into getting the Weekly Charts back on your Profile again? user tutal33t was so kind to make a script for it available. Link
    You'd though need to install the Greasemonkey Add-On before in addition to the other plug-in. | Direct Installation Link

    All yours, Celuie
  • The Haunted World of Joe Frawley

    4 Aug 2007, 20:51 by Atelias

    Joe Frawley


    Wilhelmina's Dream

    On a hot, hazy summer Sunday afternoon you climb the steep, narrow stairs up to an attic.

    The attic lies in a house, which you know very well, from your childhood.

    The hatch creaks and groans, then you stand in diffuse light, in the midst of the debris and junk of a long life.

    In this house someone has recently died.

    You puff the dust off a cardboard box. The whirled up dust merges with the diagonally breaking light, to a bright patch between the dirty roof hatch and the naked wood planks at your feet.

    Carefully, almost diffidently you pull off the cover of the cardboard box. It is filled to the top with old photographs. So old that some still have serrated edges. You begin to root through the photos, searching. In one, a man throws a child into the air, with outspread arms to catch him again. The child is you, the man your father. The picture is more than 35 years old.

    The child wears a multicolored, striped sweater and blue trousers with suspenders. The colors are strange, they question themselves: Actually there exist no colors like these. The photo is twisted and uneven, its paper warped by internal tensions. Perhaps, no, probably, no, for sure water once ran over it. Or tea.

    You carry the little box forward and sit down with your back to the wall. You try to remember, along with the photographs (as photographs can also remember, ultimately all objects can remember). For a long time you hold a certain photo in hand, a photo of a summer celebration... multicolored stripes of paper flutter... again these strange colors. In time you close your eyes and the pictures give way to memory, which flows into you like sweet poison.

    Exactly the same I was as I heard "Blue Arcana", and in the midst of the haunted world of Joe Frawley over and over I found myself .. astonished.

    These pictures are not only to be seen, but to be smelled, tasted, and above all to be heard. Someone plays a slightly detuned piano. A record needle is crackling on age-worn vinyl.

    It rustles from rain.

    Steps approach, resounding, and depart again. A young woman's voice says, hesitantly: "The feel… the feelings I… am experiencing cannot really be described," repeating this several times.

    Fragments of violin and bell play, a brief and distant chant quartet, a cello's broad, dark bowing.

    Busy radio voices become louder and again quieter, talk in several languages in disorder, white noise between them, as if someone turns a regulatory wheel to find another station. "The town in dream," says an old man with a trembling voice. "The shadow." "The past."

    Then bell-like tones peal over a sad piano-tapestry. An old woman murmurs a kind of mantra. Now an electronic roar, like a bright pink, then flickering sky above the pictures.

    Now sequences of a women's choir. Now men's voices. Radio traffic. And now a girl's voice, as in practicing a language course: "I see flowers. I see stars. I see flowers. I see stars."

    Morse code. "Her eyes were a very dark blue." A man says clearly and without expression, "Tangerine." A loudspeaker announcement. Screeching of wild birds.


    A mournful soprano floats by, over (again) the cello. Crackling in a megaphone.


    A tangle of voices, like in an airport lounge. A choked voice, "That's all that's left." Again, a voice tangle, overlapping.

    Someone says, "The house was full of books." Then again, "Tangerine." ... "Tangerine." ... "Tangerine."

    "Cinema for the ear" is what the 1971 born Connecticut composer,
    photographer and sound artist calls his, in the first sense of the word, fantastic collages of music, words and noises, which are in truth nothing more than transformed pictures.

    "Cinema for the ear": No word is too much or too little for it. Out of an abundance of frames and screen sequences, stories form themselves, as memories in our dreams add themselves to that bizarre patchwork which seems usually so quickly lost upon waking, but which accompanies us nevertheless, and influences us like nothing else in the world.

    It concerns our memories, and on that account, the haunted world of Joe Frawley expresses nothing but one "tempus fugit": The story of the evaporability of time - here solemn, there heart-wrenching, and always in the infinite melancholy of the emphemeral.

    Because we are here in the grandest story of all... in the story which does not belong to us, because we belong to it... which we do not invent, because it invents us... and which we cannot tell, because it tells us instead.
  • Die verwunschene Welt des Joe Frawley

    29 Jul 2007, 16:04 by Atelias

    Joe Frawley


    Wilhelmina's Dream

    Die verwunschene Welt des Joe Frawley

    An einem heißen, dunstigen Sommersonntagnachmittag kletterst du die steile, schmale Treppe zu einem Dachboden empor. Der Dachboden liegt in einem Haus, das du sehr gut kennst, aus deiner Kinderzeit. Die Luke quietscht und knarrt, dann stehst du in diffusem Licht, inmitten eines Gerümpels, das von einem langen und wunderbaren Leben erzählt.

    Es ist nur wenige Tage her, dass in diesem Haus jemand gestorben ist.

    Du pustest den Staub von einer Pappschachtel. Der aufgewirbelte Staub vereinigt sich mit dem schräg einfallenden Licht zu einer hellen Bahn zwischen der schmutzigen Dachluke und den nackten Holzplanken zu deinen Füßen.

    Vorsichtig, fast scheu ziehst du den Deckel von der Pappschachtel. Sie ist bis zum Rand gefüllt mit alten Fotos. So alt, dass einige noch einen gezackten Rand haben. Du beginnst, in den Fotos zu wühlen und zu stöbern. Auf einem hat gerade ein Mann ein Kind in die Luft geworfen und breitet die Arme aus, um es gleich wieder aufzufangen. Das Kind bist du. Der Mann ist dein Vater. Das Foto ist mehr als fünfundreißig Jahre alt.

    Auf ihm trägst du einen bunten, geringelten Pullover und eine blaue Hose, an Hosenträgern. Die Farben sind seltsam: Sie stellen sich selbst in Frage: Eigentlich gibt es diese Farben gar nicht. Das Foto ist etwas verzogen und uneben, sein Papier verwölbt, in inneren Spannungen. Vielleicht, nein, wahrscheinlich, nein, ganz sicher sogar ist einmal Wasser darüber gelaufen. Oder Tee.

    Du nimmst den Karton mit und setzt dich auf den Boden, mit dem Rücken an die Dachschräge gelehnt. Du versuchst, dich gemeinsam mit den Fotos zu erinnern (denn auch Fotos können sich erinnern. Überhaupt alles kann sich erinnern). Lange hältst du ein bestimmtes Foto in der Hand, ein Foto von einem Kindersommerfest ... die Kinder werfen, so weit sie können, hühnereigroße Sandsäckchen hoch in die Luft, an denen bunte Bahnen aus Papier flattern ... wieder in diesen selbstvergessenen, fremden Farben ... aber du bist schon ganz woanders. Mit der Zeit hast du die Augen geschlossen und lässt die Bilder, die sich vor lauter Erinnerung einstellen, in dich hineinfließen wie süßes Gift.

    Ungefähr, nein, ziemlich genau so ging es mir, als ich "Blue Arcana" hörte und mich dabei mitten in der verwunschenen Welt des Joe Frawley wieder fand ... über und über unbändig staunend.

    Die Bilder, die sich einstellen, sind nicht nur zu sehen, sie sind auch zu riechen und zu ertasten, und hier und jetzt vor allem zu hören.

    Jemand übt auf einem leicht verstimmten Klavier, eine Plattennadel knistert über betagtes Vinyl.

    Es braust von Regen.

    Schritte nähern sich, hallend, und entfernen sich wieder. Eine junge Frauenstimme sagt stockend: "The feel ... the feelings that I ... am experiencing cannot really be described." Sie wiederholt das mehrmals.

    Fetzen von Geigen- und Glockenspiel, ein kurzes fernes Gesangsquartett, ein Cello mit langgezogenem, dunklem Bogenstrich.

    Geschäftige Radiostimmen werden lauter und wieder leiser, reden in mehreren Sprachen durcheinander, dazwischen das helle Rauschen im Radio, wenn jemand an einem kleinen Plastikrad dreht, um einen anderen Sender zu finden. "The town in dream", sagt ein alter Mann mit bewegter Stimme. "The shadow." ... "The past."

    Dann läuten Glocken über einem perlenden traurigen Pianoteppich. Eine alte Frau murmelt eine Art Mantra.

    Jetzt ein elektronisches Dröhnen, wie ein pink leuchtender, später flackernder Himmel über allen Bildern. Jetzt Sequenzen eines Frauenchors. Jetzt Männerstimmen: Funkverkehr. Und jetzt eine Frauenstimme, wie beim Üben von Aussprache und Betonung in einem Sprachkurs: "I see flowers. I see stars. I see flowers. I see stars."


    "Her eyes were very dark blue". Ein Mann sagt deutlich und ausdruckslos "Tangerine".

    Eine Lautsprecherdurchsage.

    Krächzende Wildvögel.


    Ein schwermütiger Sopran schwebt herbei, dazu wieder das Cello. Das Knacken in einem Megaphon.


    Stimmengewirr, wie auf einem Flughafen. Eine erstickte Stimme: "That's all that's left."


    Nochmals ein Stimmengewirr, übersteuert.

    Jemand sagt: "The house was full of books."

    Dann wieder: "Tangerine." ... "Tangerine." ... "Tangerine."

    "Cinema for the ear" nennt der 1971 in Connecticut geborene Komponist, Fotograf und Klangperformancer seine, im ersten Sinn des Wortes, phantastischen Collagen aus Musik, Worten und Geräuschen, die in Wirklichkeit allesamt transformierte Bilder sind, und nichts als Bilder.

    "Cinema for the ear": Daran ist kein Wort zu viel und keines zu wenig.

    Aus einer Fülle von Einzelbildern und Bildfolgen formen sich Geschichten, so wie sich Erinnerungen in unseren Träumen zu jenem bizarren Patchwork fügen, das meist so schnell verloren scheint, wenn wir aufwachen, und das uns doch prägt, begleitet und leitet wie sonst nichts auf der Welt.

    Es geht um Erinnerung, und nur darum.

    Die verwunschene Welt des Joe Frawley erzählt nichts anderes als das "Tempus fugit" des ausgehenden Mittelalters: Die Geschichte von der Flüchtigkeit der Zeit, und wird eben dadurch zu zeitloser Musik - im Gestus mal getragen, mal pathetisch, mal herzzerreißend, stets aber in der infiniten Melancholie der Vergänglichkeit.

    Denn wir sind hier in der größten Geschichte von allen ... in der Geschichte, die uns nicht gehört, weil wir ihr gehören ... die wir nicht erfinden, weil sie uns erfunden hat ... und die wir nicht erzählen können, weil sie stattdessen uns erzählt.

    “Who in the rainbow can draw the line where the violet ends and
    the orange tint begins? Distinctly we see the difference of the color, but where exactly does the first one visibly enter in to the other?" (Herman Melville)

  • Nicolas Clauss / Patricia Dallio - Marcheurs

    17 Jul 2007, 05:20 by Atelias