The Slipped Disc daily comfort zone (210): So much better in French

Apollinaire as pop song.

 

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  • Léo came to our town to give a recital 47 years ago. He was quite unknown to me and not the sort of musician I would normally have gone to hear but he had such magnetism and sang with such intensity that I’ve been a fan ever since. I strongly recommend his recordings; the ones with piano accompaniment are best – he conducted orchestras himself and the songs became slow and sentimental.

  • Le grand Léo….
    Saw him in concert in the seventies. Needless to say he sang Avec le temps (hard to see how he could have not sung it, it is such an iconic song). Great singer.

  • Takes a poet to set a poet to music without giving in to the temptation to melodize.
    Ferré was the one to do it, because he was a poet through and through.
    Also a melodist to die for, when he chose to be.
    In a generation of powerful and unique artists, he managed to be one of a kind, towering above all others.
    (At times, also a tough bastard; but who isn’t.)

    I interviewed him for a production of his ‘La Nuit’, staged by André Steiger and Roger Zanetti, circa 1981. It was a freezing night in the Swiss lakeside resort of Yverdon-les-Bains, but Ferré would not deign wear on stage anything more than his trademark white shirt, unbuttoned halfway. To thaw him up, I asked the cafetier to keep him steady with his private hot-chocolate-grog mixture. That did the trick. When Ferré stopped shivering, he pulled out his famed Celtiques and — bloody chimney! He coughed all the way through the interview. Back on stage for the second half, he was as spry as a stag in spring.
    Then and there, for once in my career, I decided not to use any of the taped interview. His music, his poèmes, his chansons gave all the answers I really needed, to the meaningful questions anyway.

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