November 2001 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Curio Corner

Compilation: Charles Trenet
La Mer  

  ASV CD AJA 5401   [71:55]

Charles trenet complation

Charles Trénet was such a legend that when he died French television and radio programmes were side-lined to announce the news. Trenéts inimitable style, his often naughty wit, his keen sense of observation are all paraded through this compilation of 25 numbers recorded between 1935 and 1950. It includes, of course, that famous 1946 recording of La Mer (Beyond the sea). This evergreen was written within the space of ten minutes on SNCF toilet paper on a journey from Paris to his home in Norbonne. Other key numbers are here including the hauntingly nostalgic Mes Jeunes Années (In My Younger Days), and Douce France (Gentle France). Among his Paris-inspired songs are: Oiseaux de Paris, Le Grand Café, and especially the glittering, sentimental, haunting Retour è Paris. La Vielle (The Old Woman) has an infectious insouciance but also a tragic seam and separation saddens the lovely Jardins du mois de mai (Gardens in the month of May) and unrequited love, the tango rhythms of Annie-Anna. French popular chanson at its best.

Ian Lace


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