Georges Delerue

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Georges Delerue
Georges Deleru 2.jpg
Georges Delerue
Background information
Born(1925-03-12)12 March 1925
Roubaix, France
Died20 March 1992(1992-03-20) (aged 67)
Los Angeles, California, USA
Genres Film scores, Classical music
Occupation(s) Composer
Instruments Piano, clarinet
Years active1947–1992
Website www.georges-delerue.com

Georges Delerue (12 March 1925 – 20 March 1992) was a French composer who composed over 350 scores for cinema and television. [1] [2] Delerue won numerous important film music awards, including an Academy Award for A Little Romance (1980), three César Awards (1979, 1980, 1981), two ASCAP Awards (1988, 1990), and one Gemini Award for Sword of Gideon (1987). He was also nominated for four additional Academy Awards for Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), The Day of the Dolphin (1973), Julia (1977), and Agnes of God (1985), four additional César Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, and one Genie Award for Black Robe (1991).

A film score is original music written specifically to accompany a film for the actors. The score forms part of the film's soundtrack, which also usually includes pre-existing music, dialogue and sound effects, and comprises a number of orchestral, instrumental, or choral pieces called cues, which are timed to begin and end at specific points during the film in order to enhance the dramatic narrative and the emotional impact of the scene in question. Scores are written by one or more composers, under the guidance of, or in collaboration with, the film's director or producer and are then usually performed by an ensemble of musicians – most often comprising an orchestra or band, instrumental soloists, and choir or vocalists – known as playback singers and recorded by a sound engineer.

<i>A Little Romance</i> 1979 film by George Roy Hill

A Little Romance is a 1979 American Technicolor and Panavision romantic comedy film directed by George Roy Hill and starring Laurence Olivier, Thelonious Bernard, and Diane Lane in her film debut. The screenplay was written by Allan Burns and George Roy Hill, based on the novel E=mc2 Mon Amour by Patrick Cauvin. The original music score was composed by Georges Delerue. The film follows a French boy and an American girl who meet in Paris and begin a romance that leads to a journey to Venice where they hope to seal their love forever with a kiss beneath the Bridge of Sighs at sunset.

<i>Sword of Gideon</i> 1986 television film directed by Michael Anderson

Sword of Gideon is a 1986 Canadian television film about Mossad agents hunting down terrorists associated with the 1972 Munich massacre. It was first shown on the CTV Television Network in Canada as a four-hour miniseries and later on HBO in the United States. Directed by Michael Anderson and written by Chris Bryant, the film stars Steven Bauer and Michael York. The film is based on the book Vengeance by George Jonas, an account of the incident which has been criticized by some intelligence personnel as fictional, though because of its covert nature is difficult to prove or disprove. In some countries the book was titled Vengeance: Sword of Gideon, from which the movie title is drawn. The story was retold in the 2005 film Munich by Steven Spielberg.

Contents

The French newspaper Le Figaro named him "the Mozart of cinema." [3] Delerue was the first composer to win three consecutive César Awards for Get Out Your Handkerchiefs (1979), Love on the Run (1980), and The Last Metro (1981). Georges Delerue was named Commander of Arts and Letters, one of France's highest honours. [4]

<i>Le Figaro</i> French daily newspaper

Le Figaro is a French daily morning newspaper founded in 1826 and published in Paris. Le Figaro is the oldest national daily in France and is one of the three French newspapers of record, along with Le Monde and Libération.

<i>Get Out Your Handkerchiefs</i> 1978 film by Bertrand Blier

Get Out Your Handkerchiefs is a 1978 French romantic comedy film directed by Bertrand Blier and starring Carole Laure, Gérard Depardieu, Patrick Dewaere and Riton Liebman. The film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 51st Academy Awards.

<i>Love on the Run</i> (1979 film) 1978 film by François Truffaut

Love on the Run is a 1979 French film directed by François Truffaut. It is Truffaut's fifth and final film about the character Antoine Doinel. A significant portion of the film is made up of selected clips from the previous films in the series. It was entered into the 29th Berlin International Film Festival.

Life and career

Delerue was born 12 March 1925 in Roubaix, France, to Georges Delerue and Marie Lhoest. He was raised in a musical household; his grandfather led an amateur chorale group and his mother sang and played piano at family gatherings. By the age of fourteen he was playing clarinet at the local music conservatory. In 1940 he was forced to abandon his studies at the Turgot Institute in order to work at a factory to help support his family. He continued playing clarinet with local bands, eventually transitioning to piano under the instruction of Madame Picavet-Bacquart. He studied Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, and Grieg, and was particularly inspired by Richard Strauss. Following a long convalescence after being diagnosed with scoliosis, Georges decided to become a composer. [5]

Roubaix Commune in Hauts-de-France, France

Roubaix is a city in northern France, located in the Lille metropolitan area on the Belgian border. It is a historically mono-industrial commune in the Nord department, which grew rapidly in the 19th century from its textile industries, with most of the same characteristic features as those of English and American boom towns. This former new town has faced many challenges linked to deindustrialisation such as urban decay, with their related economic and social implications, since its major industries fell into decline by the middle of the 1970s. Located to the northeast of Lille, adjacent to Tourcoing, Roubaix is the chef-lieu of two cantons and the third largest city in the French region of Hauts-de-France ranked by population with nearly 96,000 inhabitants.

Richard Strauss German composer

Richard Georg Strauss was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, which include Der Rosenkavalier, Elektra, Die Frau ohne Schatten and Salome; his Lieder, especially his Four Last Songs; his tone poems, including Don Juan, Death and Transfiguration, Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, Also sprach Zarathustra, Ein Heldenleben, Symphonia Domestica, and An Alpine Symphony; and other instrumental works such as Metamorphosen and his Oboe Concerto. Strauss was also a prominent conductor in Western Europe and the Americas, enjoying quasi-celebrity status as his compositions became standards of orchestral and operatic repertoire.

Scoliosis Medical condition of the spine

Scoliosis is a medical condition in which a person's spine has a sideways curve. The curve is usually "S"- or "C"-shaped over three dimensions. In some, the degree of curve is stable, while in others, it increases over time. Mild scoliosis does not typically cause problems, but severe cases can interfere with breathing. Typically, no pain is present.

In 1945, following his studies at the Roubaix conservatory, Delerue was accepted into the Conservatoire de Paris, where he studied fugue with Simone Plé-Caussade and composition with Henri Büsser. To help support himself, he took jobs playing at dances, baptisms, marriages, and funerals—even performing jazz in the piano bars near the Paris Opera. In 1947 he received an honorable mention for the Rome Prize, and the following year he won the Second Grand Rome Prize. That year at the Theater Festival of Avignon, Delerue conducted a performance of Scheherazade. In the 1949 Rome Prize competition, he won the First Second Grand Prize, and the First Prize for Composition. [5] He began writing stage music during the late 1940s, including for the Théâtre National Populaire, Comédie-Française and the company of Jean-Louis Barrault. [6] He also became friends with Maurice Jarre and Pierre Boulez. [6]

Conservatoire de Paris music school

The Conservatoire de Paris is a college of music and dance founded in 1795. Currently known as the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris (CNSMDP), it is situated in the avenue Jean Jaurès in the 19th arrondissement of Paris, France. The Conservatoire offers instruction in music and dance, drawing on the traditions of the "French School". Formerly the conservatory also included drama, but in 1946 that division was moved into a separate school, the Conservatoire national supérieur d'art dramatique (CNSAD), for acting, theatre and drama. Today the conservatories operate under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Communication and are associate members of PSL Research University. The CNSMDP is also associated with the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Lyon (CNSMDL).

Simone Plé-Caussade was a French music pedagogue, composer and pianist. She wrote mainly works for solo piano and organ in addition to choral works, songs, chamber music, and sacred music. She notably published two volumes of piano music for children.

Henri Büsser French composer and conductor

Henri Büsser was a French classical composer, organist, and conductor.

By the early 1950s Delerue was composing music for short films and writing theatrical music for the Théâtre Babylone and the Opéra Comique. He began collaborating with Boris Vian on a number of projects during this time, including theatrical adaptations of The Snow Knight and The Builders of Empire, an oratorio A Regrettable Incident, and a ballet The Barker. In 1952 he began directing the orchestra of the Club d'Essai for French National Radio and Television, and scored his first television drama Princes du sang. In 1954 he wrote his first compositions for historical spectacles of light and sound, Lisieux and The Liberation of Paris. In 1955 he composed his Concert Symphony for Piano and Orchestra, and on 31 January 1957 his opera The Snow Knight premiered at Nancy and was a popular success. In 1959 he composed his first score for a feature film, Le bel âge. [5]

His career was diverse and he composed frequently for major art house directors, most often François Truffaut (including Jules and Jim ), but also for Jean-Luc Godard's film Contempt (Le Mépris), and for Alain Resnais, Louis Malle, and Bernardo Bertolucci, besides working on several Hollywood productions, including Oliver Stone's Platoon and Salvador .

Art film film genre

An art film is typically a serious, independent film, aimed at a niche market rather than a mass market audience. It is "intended to be a serious, artistic work, often experimental and not designed for mass appeal", "made primarily for aesthetic reasons rather than commercial profit", and contains "unconventional or highly symbolic content".

Film director Person who controls the artistic and dramatic aspects of a film production

A film director is a person who directs the making of a film. A film director controls a film's artistic and dramatic aspects and visualizes the screenplay while guiding the technical crew and actors in the fulfilment of that vision. The director has a key role in choosing the cast members, production design, and the creative aspects of filmmaking. Under European Union law, the director is viewed as the author of the film.

François Truffaut French film director

François Roland Truffaut was a French film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, and film critic. He is widely regarded as one of the founders of the French New Wave. In a film career lasting over a quarter of a century, he remains an icon of the French film industry, having worked on over 25 films. Truffaut's film The 400 Blows came to be a defining film of the French New Wave movement, and was followed by four sequels, Antoine et Colette, Stolen Kisses, Bed and Board, and Love on the Run, between 1958 and 1979.

He composed the music for Flemming Flindt's ballet, Enetime (The Lesson), based on Ionesco's play, La Leçon . During his 42 years career he put his talent to the service of nearly 200 feature movies, 125 short ones, 70 TV films and 35 TV serials. The soundtrack for war docudrama by Pierre Schoendoerffer, Diên Biên Phu (1992), was one of the late notable works.

Delerue composed the music for five of the films made by the noted British director Jack Clayton. Their first collaboration was The Pumpkin Eater (1964), followed by Our Mother's House (1967). In 1982 they reunited for the Disney film version of Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes , but the production was fraught with problems. Unhappy with the sinister tone of Clayton's original cut, the studio took control of the film, and held it back from release for over a year. They reportedly spent an additional $5 million on re-editing the film, cutting some scenes and replacing them with newly shot footage, with the aim of making the film more commercial and 'family-friendly'. To Delerue's great disappointment, Disney also insisted on the removal of his original music (which was considered 'too dark'), and replaced it with a new, 'lighter' score by American composer James Horner. Speaking later about the rejection of his score, Delerue said: "It was extremely painful ... because it was probably the most ambitious score I wrote in the United-States." [7] Delerue's music for the film was only available to collectors in low-quality bootleg copies until 2011, when Disney authorised the release of approximately 30 minutes of music, sourced from Delerue's personal tape copy of the score (which originally ran for over an hour). This was issued by Universal France (along with Delerue's music for the 1991 film Regarding Henry ) in a limited edition of 3000 CDs, as the inaugural release of its "Ecoutez le Cinema!" soundtrack series. Despite this disappointment, Delerue worked with Clayton twice more, on his last feature film, The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1987), and Clayton's final screen project, a feature length BBC TV adaptation of Muriel Spark's Memento Mori (1992), which aired just a month after Delerue's death.

Delerue made cameo appearances in La nuit americaine and Les deux anglaises et le continent. [6]

According to many testimonies he would do and redo some cues to fit the new editing of a sequence without any protestation. He insisted on being allowed to orchestrate and conduct himself in order to polish every detail. Georges Delerue had a great talent for melody and for creating surrounding overtones which encapsulated the spirit of the movies on which he collaborated, enhancing them often beyond the expectations of their directors.

Georges Delerue died on 20 March 1992 from a heart attack in Los Angeles at the age of 67, just after recording the last cue for the soundtrack to Rich in Love. He is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. [5] He left behind his wife, Colette Delerue, whom he married in 1984, and his daughter Claire from an earlier marriage. [8]

Filmography

Georges Delerue composed the musical scores for 351 feature films, television movies, television series, documentaries, and short films. The following is a list of feature films for which he composed the music.

Discography

The following is a select list of albums of the music of Georges Delerue. [9]

Other compositions

Awards and nominations

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References

  1. 1 2 "Georges Delerue". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  2. "Georges Delerue". Soundtrack Guide. Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  3. "Georges Delerue". The Criterion Collection. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  4. "Georges Delerue Biography". BBC. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  5. 1 2 3 4 "Georges Delerue Biography". Official Web Site. Archived from the original on 25 January 2012. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
  6. 1 2 3 Brill, Mark. Georges Delerue. In: The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd Edition. Macmillan, London, 2001.
  7. Stephanie Lerouge, CD liner notes for Georges Delerue Unused Scores (Universal France, 2011)
  8. "Georges Delerue, 67, a Composer On Truffaut and Stone Films, Dies". The New York Times. 23 March 1992. Retrieved 6 March 2012.
  9. "Georges Delerue". Allmusic. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  10. "Awards for Georges Delerue". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 4 March 2012.