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The French film composers appreciation thread : ep.5 Bruno Coulais

Loïc D

Monkeying with libraries
Hi there,
Lately I thought to expose more of French film composers, probably unknown to most of us.
Why ? Because I think there's a special vibe in French film music, something I can't really find in European and US scoring.

So, I will post here bio & links for composers from any period of time.
Feel free to comment and bring your own favorites here.
Also, if you are a French film composer, please post here too !

Some names I want to cover over the coming months : Philippe Sarde, Bruno Coulais, Erwann Kermorvant, Francis Lai, Vladimir Cosma, Georges Auric, Claude Bolling, Eric Demarsan, Jean-Michel Bernard, Georges Delerue, Michel Colombier, Michel Magne, Darius Milhaud, André Popp, Laurent Petitgirard, Eric Serra, Vincent Scotto, Yann Tiersen, Gabriel Yared, Paul Misraki,...
(I don't plan to cover the most famous like Desplats, Jarre, Legrand, etc.)

Ok, first one of the list

François de Roubaix (1939-1975)

Biography


François de Roubaix was a shooting star among French composers.
Born in 1939, fond of jazz since his childhood, he self-studied music and was one of the first musician to build his home studio back in 1972 and one of the early and most creative adopter of synthesizers and effects.
He has been working for TV, documentaries - notably nature -, and a lot of short movies. He was composing for French singers too.
He career was short, he's been scoring movies in the 60s-70s with a new generation of French directors (Giovanni, Enrico, Melville, Boisset,...).
Aside from his composer life, he used to attend jazz gigs every weekend, playing trombone with friends and renowned jazzmen.
His other passion was the sea. Sadly, the sea took his life in a diving accident in the Canaries island. He was 36.
He was praised by all his peers as a very friendly man, full of passion and curiosity. Most of his collaborators became friends.
He was considered as the most promising composer at the time of his death.
His score for Dernier domicile connu became internationally famous after it was sampled for Robbie Williams' Supreme in 2000.


Personal quote


He's probably one my favorite composer : you can absolutely feel his enthusiasm and passion in every score he made. This is how composing should be !
His writing covers a lot of styles, from irrestible vintage electronic to elaborate classical scores though jazz and rock'n'roll.


Associated directors

Robert Enrico, José Giovanni, Jean-Pierre Melville

Notable awards & nominations

French Cesar Award : Le Vieux Fusil (1975, posthumous)

Some links (tell me if some are not visible)

- Dernier domicile connu (1970)


- Le Samourai (1967)


- Les Dunes d'Ostende (1971)


- Chapi chapo (1974) - the thickest bass ever


- Le Vieux Fusil (1975)


- La Scoumoune (1972)
 

b_elliott

A work in progress.
It is great that you are doing this.
I am a fan of the string quartet which lead me to discovering and collecting all of Darius Mihaud's string quartets. I adore his writing style. He is one composer I find myself going back to year after year. Though this is not particularly film genre music I look forward to your postings.
 
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Loïc D

Loïc D

Monkeying with libraries
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2nd episode, this time focused on a famous one !

I also started a Spotify playlist where I'll add a selection of tracks along the episodes.


Georges Delerue (1925-1992)


Biography


Georges Delerue is one of most famous French composer, with a career starting in France and extending to the US.
He was born in the north of France from a low class family of factory workers, being also a worker until he switched to music studies at 20.
He then moved to Paris, learning theory while playing in jazz bands to finance his studies.
After a few years of ghostwriting, he won classical prizes (Premier Prix de Composition, 2nd Grand Prix de Rome) in 1949 opening a career as composer and conductor at the French National Radio.
He started a career in theater and film scoring in 1959 and soon met the 2 most front figures of the "Nouvelle Vague" cinema, François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard.
He become notified outside France after the 2 consecutive scores for Jules et Jim and Le Mépris.
Aside of Nouvelle Vague movies, Delerue became also famous for comedy action movies like L'Homme de Rio or Cartouche where he showed a more comedic and less dramatic style.
In the 70s he started to collaborate with a new generation of French directors, before getting attention from US directors.
In spite of strong plane fright, he started to develop a split career between France & US.
Notable movies of this period are Platoon, Dien Bien Phu, La Révolution Française, Le Dernier Métro...
He died of a brain stroke in 1992, after having scored more than 350 movies and also TV shows, documentaries, and also 4 operas, 4 ballets, and several orchestral pieces.


Personal quote

Delerue is famous for long largo pieces (Le Mépris, Dien Bien Phu, etc.) but I really like the more lighthearted part of his work, full of spanish and southern touches of arrangement.
His work is huge, but it's worth taking time to discover hidden gem off the beaten tracks (see below : Le Bestiaire d'Amour).


Associated directors

François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Philippe de Broca, Oliver Stone


Notable awards & nominations

Academy Award : I love you, Je t'aime (1980) + 4 nominations
French Cesar Award : Préparez vos mouchoirs (1979), L'Amour en fuite (1980), Le Dernier Métro (1981) + 4 nominations
ASCAP : Twins (1988), Platoon (1990)
Golden Globes : 4 nominations
BAFTA : 2 nominations


Links
- Thème de Camille / Générique - Le Mépris (1969)

- Suite - Rich & Famous 1981

- Suite - Steel Magnolias (1989)

- Le Tourbillon - Jules et Jim (1961)

- Concerto de l'Adieu - Dien Bien Phu (1992)

- Générique - Le Bestiaire d'Amour (1965)
https://youtu.be/6WS-TTn0NoA

- Tours du Monde, Tours du Ciel (1991)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KopB5RqRAjE
 

Mark Kouznetsov

ᴍʀ. ꜱᴋɪʙɪᴅɪ ʙᴏᴘ ʙᴏᴘ
Love French AND Spanish composers. One of my favourite of our generation are Philippe Rombi, Jean Claude-Petit; Roque Banos from Spain. Not a single bad score from them imho.
 
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Loïc D

Loïc D

Monkeying with libraries
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Awwww, 1 month without update. I've been busy these days.

Ok, let's introduce our 3rd episode with :

Gabriel Yared (1949-)

Biography


Yared's career first started out of conservatoire (he studied with Dutilleux) with arrangements of French pop arrangements in the 70's.
His scoring career began in 1980 after a meeting with Jean-Luc Godard.
He became famous for scoring to very popular movies : 37°2 le Matin (a milestone among French 80's movies) and L'Amant, gaining him international fame.
He then crossed the ocean to work in Hollywood and won an Academy Award for The English Patient.
He also scored other notorious american movies like The Talented Mr. Ripley and Return to Cold Mountain.
His famous rejected score for Troy left him dazed and pissed by the 'Hollywood system' and he went back to France to continue scoring various European movies.
Yared is still a very successful composer working with awarded directors.


Personal quote

Born in Lebanon, he carries a mediterranean sense in all his works. Sensitivity and sensuality.
His style is really fit to drama and more specifically love drama with intimate arrangement.
A lot of warmth. It feels like wearing back your old sweater :)


Associated directors

Jean-Jacques Beineix, Jean-Jacques Annaud, Anthony Minghella, Michel Ocelot, Xavier Dolan

Notable awards & nominations

French Cesar Award : L'Amant (1993)
Academy Award : The English Patient (1997)
Golden Globe : The English Patient (1997)
European Cinema Award : Das Leben Der Anderen (2006)
5 Nominations in French Cesar
2 Nominations for Golden Globes
2 Nominations for Academy Awards


Links

- Suite - The English Patient (1996)


- C'est le vent, Betty - 37°2 Le Matin (1986)


- L'Amant - L'Amant (1994)


- Opening - Troy (rejected score)


- Ripley - The Talented Mr Ripley (1999)


- Main Title - Agent Trouble (1987)


PS : Spotify playlist updated
 

South Thames

Active Member
I'll add to that Yared's ravishing music for City Of Angels, which I only know because a friend of mine was very fond of the album back in the day. Never seen the film, but don't imagine it can do anything but detract from my enjoyment of the music.

 

Tatu

Lannister
Delerue wrote the score to Joe vs. the Volcano, one of my quilty pleasure movies. It has a great, soaring theme but also some emotional bits which just hit me the right way. Such as this:
 
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Loïc D

Loïc D

Monkeying with libraries
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Glad too see people contributing here.
So, my next composer is an old one that most of you probably never heard about.
Besides, I keep the Spotify playlist updated, see above.

So, please let me introduce :

Georges Auric (1899-1983)

Biography

Auric's career is split between concert & ballet pieces and film scoring (for around 150 movies !) and spread over 40 years, from 1930 to 1970.
After a formal musical education at Conservatoire de Paris, he soon met Stravinsky & Satie in 1915 thanks to his works as... music critic.
Being only 14, he impressed his pairs and soon joined the famous "Le Groupe Des Six" (The Six) under the patronage of Jean Cocteau.
He started his career by writing music for Diaghilev ballets (!) and was part of the "Boeuf sur le toit" cultural society.
After Les Six drew apart around 1928, he began his career in scoring for French then international movies.
Around 1935, he decided to change his approach of music, droping avant-garde for a simpler popular folk way of writing, under the influence of the then very influencial French Communist Party.
This new style also fit greatly to the blooming film scoring.

He was also the president of SACEM (the French PRO) and had various positions in the music society.
Georges Auric is still considered as someone very important in contemporary French music.



Personal quote

Auric's scores are very accessible, and indeed, very modern, like the missing link between Paris 30's society and Hollywood.
I'd say most of his scores aged very well (cf. "La Belle et la Bête").
Definitely someone to study, along with North or Korngold.

For more about this incredibly creative era of the 20's-30's, I suggest reading :



Associated directors

Jean Cocteau, René Clair, John Huston, Marc Allégret, Jean Delannoy, Jack Clayton, Terence Young


Notable awards & nominations
None, it didn't even exist ;)

Links
- Les couloirs mystérieux - La Belle et la Bête (1946)


- Where Your Heart Is - Moulin Rouge (1952)


- Bonjour Tristesse, sung by Juliette Greco (1958)


- Aimez-vous Brahms ? (Main Theme) (1961)
 
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Loïc D

Loïc D

Monkeying with libraries
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Aaaand, next episode (I'm soooo slow).



Bruno Coulais (1954-)

Biography


Once again a composer with formal training, Bruno Coulais made his start in scoring in 1977 and then pursued a low profile career in movie and mostly television up to 1996.
He was asked to score a fantastic documentary Microcosmos which left all room to the music, earning him a couple of awards.
Then established, he scored a lot of French blockbuster movies & documentaries up to 2001 when he took distance with scoring to turn to more personal projects including hip hop collaborations, children music, Corsican trads, etc.
Also composing for the stage or various events, he returned to scoring with the fabulous success of Les Choristes.
As of now, he has scored over 80 movies, mostly French, and many works for TV.
He is one of the most famous and looked for French composer these days and his a big name in scoring to animation.


Personal quote


Lovers of bombastic orchestral scores, pass your way : Coulais has really his own voice, more intimate and made of touches of music colours. Someone painting with music.
Some of his trademarks are children singing and often ethnic instruments and orchestration.
Definitely someone to discover, even though his career is mostly domestic.
A personal favorite : Song of the Sea (a fantastic animation movie)


Associated directors

Jacques Perrin, Frédéric Schoendorffer, Laurent Heynemann


Notable awards & nominations

French Cesar Award : Microcosmos (1997), Himalaya l'enfance d'un chef (2000), Les Choristes (2005)
French Victoire de la Musique : Microcosmos (1997), Les Choristes (2005)
European Award : Les Choristes (2005)
Annie Award : Coraline (2010)
1 nomination to Academy Awards
4 nominations to French Cesar


Links

Microcosmos - La Nuit (1997)


Les Choristes - Vois sur ton chemin (2005)


Coraline - End Credits (2009)


Les Rivières Pourpres / The Crimson Rivers - Main Them (2000)


Le chant de la mer / Song of the Sea - The Song (2014)
 

LudovicVDP

Active Member
Krishna Levy is born in India and studied in the US... But he's still considered a French Composer since he lives and works in Paris.

I really liked his score for "Le Dernier Trappeur" (which is a beautiful movie)

 

muziksculp

Senior Member
Hi, and Thanks for posting this very interesting Topic.

I'm a big fan of European Film music, and composers.

Thanks,
Muziksculp
 

Maurenon

New Member
Aaaand, next episode (I'm soooo slow).



Bruno Coulais (1954-)

Biography


Once again a composer with formal training, Bruno Coulais made his start in scoring in 1977 and then pursued a low profile career in movie and mostly television up to 1996.
He was asked to score a fantastic documentary Microcosmos which left all room to the music, earning him a couple of awards.
Then established, he scored a lot of French blockbuster movies & documentaries up to 2001 when he took distance with scoring to turn to more personal projects including hip hop collaborations, children music, Corsican trads, etc.
Also composing for the stage or various events, he returned to scoring with the fabulous success of Les Choristes.
As of now, he has scored over 80 movies, mostly French, and many works for TV.
He is one of the most famous and looked for French composer these days and his a big name in scoring to animation.


Personal quote

Lovers of bombastic orchestral scores, pass your way : Coulais has really his own voice, more intimate and made of touches of music colours. Someone painting with music.
Some of his trademarks are children singing and often ethnic instruments and orchestration.
Definitely someone to discover, even though his career is mostly domestic.
A personal favorite : Song of the Sea (a fantastic animation movie)


Associated directors

Jacques Perrin, Frédéric Schoendorffer, Laurent Heynemann


Notable awards & nominations

French Cesar Award : Microcosmos (1997), Himalaya l'enfance d'un chef (2000), Les Choristes (2005)
French Victoire de la Musique : Microcosmos (1997), Les Choristes (2005)
European Award : Les Choristes (2005)
Annie Award : Coraline (2010)
1 nomination to Academy Awards
4 nominations to French Cesar


Links

Microcosmos - La Nuit (1997)


Les Choristes - Vois sur ton chemin (2005)


Coraline - End Credits (2009)


Les Rivières Pourpres / The Crimson Rivers - Main Them (2000)


Le chant de la mer / Song of the Sea - The Song (2014)
Also great is his music for another animated film, The secret of Kells, where this adorable little gem is to be found:
 
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