Georges Delerue’s music for the films of Francois Truffaut


“In a span of twenty four years between 1959 and 1983 composer Georges Delerue collaborated with director Francois Truffaut on ten films. Compared to Delerue’s massive repertoire of film, TV scores and classical compositions, 350(!) in all, ten is an iota. But the music he wrote for Truffaut is unique in its beauty and the critical role it plays in the films. Rarely in the history of cinema had the combination of visuals and music worked so well together. Truffaut and Delerue belong in a pantheon that includes duos such as Fellini/Rota and Hitchcock/Hermann. This is the story of that collaboration, with a focus on their creative peak, Jules and Jim. In 1945 Delerue moved to Paris to study at the Conservatoire de Paris, where two years later he met composer Darius Milhaud. The famed modern classical composer, who was of Jewish origin, returned to France after he escaped the Nazi regime in 1940 and spent time composing and teaching in the United States. Milhaud had a profound influence on musicians on both sides of the pond. Dave Brubeck and Burt Bacharach are two of his famous students at Mills College in California. … Milhaud noticed Delerue’s ability to move effortlessly between both sides of the music spectrum and encouraged his student to pursue a career of composing for the performance arts – theater, dance and films. … In the 1950s Delerue started his prolific career, composing music for TV and short films and quickly made his way into the emerging French New Wave cinema. His first foray into the movement was with Alain Renais’ Hiroshima Mon Amour. The film’s main composer was Giovanni Fusco (of Antonioni’s Red Desert), and Delerue added his touch to some of the scenes, including the endearing Parisian waltz Valse du café du fleuve. The late 1950s saw the new directors of French cinema falling in love with American jazz. Louis Malle’s 1958 debut Ascenseur Pour L’échafaud (Elevator to the Gallows), a tribute to film noir, got a mesmerizing musical backdrop from Miles Davis who improvised to the moving images. A year later Martial Solal provided a big band jazz soundtrack to Jean-Luc Godard’s iconic debut À Bout de Souffle (Breathless). Delerue and Truffaut’s first collaboration was on the director’s second film Tirez Sur Le Pianiste (Shoot the Piano Player). Released in 1960, the soundtrack was rooted in jazz as well, but of the French style. Truffaut was unhappy with the music for his first film Les 400 Coups (The 400 Blows), written by Jean Constantin, and was looking for a different composer.  …”
The Music Aficionado (Video)
W – Georges Delerue
Discogs (Video)

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