The Louvre Museum’s corridors; the sunset over the Seine’s riverbank, or a coffee in the Latin Quarter, where Georges Delerue’s music sounds in the background… Those are some of the places that sketch the magical outline of this city; songs and artists’ wanderings that made of Paris a place to get lost. Around the Sixties, the figure who, for many, is the greatest composer in French cinematographic music appeared on its cobbled, wet streets. A genius of noble descent and stylish strokes (romantic) who transformed the audiovisual field working alongside the great directors of the cinematographic cultural revolution, which took place at the end of the Fifties in France. The head and the heart of the Nouvelle Vague (ethics and aesthetics of an artistic breakthrough movement) Georges Delerue hobnobbed with the rule-breaking images directors such as Melville, Truffaut or Goddard created for the musician’s skills. The most French of all the Frenchmen… a spotted on definition that stands up on the Frenchie orchestration the musician used in his first works, those which, daringly, defined the origins of the cinematographic movement. Decades later, his original handwriting was still creating picture cards of great beauty, which somehow insisted on the originality that makes French music so different to all the rest.
In 1979, the year Parisian Gilles Grangier directed for TV Les Insulaires, Delerue had already composed some of the most brilliant pages of his repertoire, soundtracks that didn’t go unnoticed for most of the directors of the time, American ones included. With a long, controversial career, the film director hired the services of a touched by the grace Delerue, who that same year would go on to win a golden statuette for Best Original Score with A Little Romance, by US film director George Roy Hill. Without many pretensions, Les insulaires needed a different approach to the one usually used in his American productions, principles that made the musician work on a single idea which would eventually support the score, being the waltz genre the backbone for all the narrative discourse. This leitmotiv uses the French-like sound of the accordion to develop a distinctive melody that sounds, as they normally say, only and exclusively Georges Delerue’s way.
It is quite likely that somewhere in France, walking alongside the Seine’s riverbank in the sunset, or having a coffee in the Paris Latin Quarter, you may hear one of the wonderful melodies this film genius composed, sketching on the stave the, for many, most beautiful, archetypical French picture cards.
Antonio Pardo Larrosa