Friday, October 12, 2007

Autumn Leaves

Fall has arrived. Two days ago the temperature finally dropped, and the nights are cool. The first red splotch of leaves has appeared on a tree near my office building.

It is a bit early for "Les Feuilles Mortes" (literally "dead leaves" -- the original of the song many know here as "Autumn Leaves") since there are only a few autumn leaves around, but the fall mood reminds me of my favorite version of the song and I haven't posted music in a while.

This version is by Yves Montand. I don't have the recording from my childhood, which is my very favorite, but this live one was on e-Snips. Enjoy.

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Here's another live one:

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eSnips Social DNA


I had another one up here, again with Montand speaking the poem first, then singing, but the eSnips link stopped working, so I have removed it. (Thanks to JohnieB for catching this, and boo to eSnips; the link worked when I posted it a day ago.)

I am cutting and pasting my comments on the author and lyricist of the song from the Comments section since many of you will be interested. (French folks, skip this, you know it already.)

"Les Feuilles Mortes"'s lyrics are by the 20th c. French poet Jacques Prévert and the music is by Joseph Kosma, also French, though born in Hungary. Here's a bio of Kosma. The two wrote many songs together, but Prévert was already a poet in his own right. Kosma wrote other music as well. Ken, as you will see, he was involved in your beloved movie Les Enfants du Paradis (Children of Paradise). So was Prévert, in fact. The dreaded Wikipedia is pretty accurate; see their bio of Prévert. We used to read his poems as children in France, as the bio notes. Prévert is in the curriculum!

3 comments:

Kenneth Wolman said...

Oh God, how beautiful! Most people in the States (me included) never heard Montand sing this way. Somehow he always seemed to get cut to pieces when he sang here.

Something happens to French music when it hits here: it gets killed. I fell in love with "La chanson des vieux amants" in 1968 when I heard Judy Collins sing it in translation, but a few years back I heard Jacques Brel himself sing it, and it was like hearing a song I'd never heard before. And I love Judy.

As for "Autumn Leaves," give me Natalie Dessay singing it and I'll be happy, I promise:-).

johnieb said...

I had heard Montand sing before, so I wasn't surprised at that; however, I didn't know "Autumn Leaves" was originally French, in which it sounds so much better. As do many things.

BTW, the link to the final version you recommend is broken.

Jane R said...

Thanks Johnie. The link works, in the sense that it links you to the right page, but it has indeed broken since I posted it, in that the eSnips page won't play. I'm removing it for now.

"Les Feuilles Mortes"'s lyrics are by the 20th c. French poet Jacques Prévert and the music is by Joseph Kosma, also French, though born in Hungary. Here's a bio of Kosma and one of Prevert. They wrote many songs together, but Prévert was already a poet in his own right. Kosma wrote other music as well. (Ken, as you will see, he was involved in your beloved movie Les Enfants du Paradis (Children of Paradise). So was Prévert, in fact. The dreaded Wikipedia is pretty accurate; see their bio of Prévert. We used to read his poems as children in France, as the bio notes. Prévert is in the curriculum.