So excited to be performing this program for Perth International Arts Festival in Albany WA next week. I often enjoy performing in smaller towns more than in the big cities - there’s a friendliness in close communities that you so rarely find in the big smoke.
Comptine d’un autre été: L’aprés midi by Yann Tiersen. Performed by Sally Whitwell (me!)
I’ve a lovely fan who keeps making me gorgeous videos like this. Am feeling very humbled! He’s even incorporated some of my favourite Australian artists into this one Sidney Nolan, Sydney Long, Max Dupain… He must be like totally psychic or somethin’.
wow wow. i wish i could have heard this live, perched on the floor between all four of them.
I love the intimacy of these Tiny Desk Concerts!
It did get me thinking though… Yann Tiersen’s name is at the front of everything he does because he is the composer/writer. He is not necessarily “up the front” for each individual piece of music he and his band perform, but it’s still always his name.
My producers are lukewarm about my suggestion that I do an album of my original compositions, not because my compositions are no good, but because I am a pianist and will always be seen as behind the ensemble i.e. it’s hard to market something as being all about me when there are singers and violinists and other people ‘in front’. Disappointing :(
How come Yann Tiersen can do it? I guess he just invited his friends to come to the party and, being the instigator of his own projects, put himself at the front (metaphorically speaking). Maybe that’s what I need to do.
Crowdfunding bandwagon, here I come?
La Valse d’Amélie by Yann Tiersen. Performed by Sally Whitwell, piano (me!) from my album The Good, the Bad and the Awkward.
Here’s an excerpt from the digital booklet, if you’re looking for a little extra insight…
"Amélie Poulain (Audrey Tautou), title character of Amélie, is a painfully shy young waitress at the Café Deux Moulins in Montmartre, Paris. Watching the television news the night that Princess Diana is killed in a car crash, Amélie is shocked and drops a bottle cap. It rolls across the floor and hits a tile in the bathroom wall, loosening it to reveal a tin box full of a little boy’s toys, marbles and postcards and tin soldiers and the like. With the help of her neighbour Raymond Dufayel, the Glass Man (Serge Merlin) Amélie tracks down the owner of the box, now a middle aged man. Finding the box, his childhood memories come suddenly flooding back to him, moving him to tears and causing him to decide to contact his family, estranged for many years. Amélie thus decides to devote her existence to helping others, employing ingenious methods of effecting change without ever being discovered. She is not as good at effecting change in her own life, but is eventually very happily united with the equally quirky Nino, fairground worker, porn shop sales assistant and collector of discarded photo booth pictures. It’s a match made in heaven.
Much of Yann Tiersen’s score for Amélie existed some time before the film was made. Director Jean Pierre Jeunet reportedly first heard Tiersen’s music when an assistant played a CD of it on a car journey, whereupon he was immediately struck with it and wanted it for his film. The very Parisian accordion and piano textures, coupled with toy instrument/found object sounds (toy piano, melodica, music box, typewriters, bicycle wheels) means that Tiersen’s music has a very modern and simultaneously rather nostalgic palette. His SIx pieces for piano, Volume 2 are all solo piano works used in the film.”
Just received a contract for my July recital at Brisbane Powerhouse. So excited to be performing a stack of Philip Glass and Yann Tiersen there, Hurrah!!
Day Two in the recording studio today, working on my album The Good, the Bad and the Awkward.
On the menu today will be some Debussy, a little Elena Kats Chernin and a whole lotta Yann Tiersen.
At home, the one who’s Yann Tiersen’s fan is not me, but I like some of his work, and found that this animation is really interesting. Video for “Monuments”. The new album is due to next April.
I have this little fantasy about my future; a boy’s dream about the man he will become, I suppose. You see, I think I’ve reached a point in my life where the concept of adulthood is almost more of a fascination than a fear - I often find myself thinking about the details of my future in a particularly profound and deep way. The one aspect that recurs the most, however, is the idea of fatherhood. It feels strange to be thinking happily about fatherhood at my age, but there was this incident last year where I discovered that children actually can be likeable, and ever since then the idea of being a father has been relatively pleasant.
Anyway, back to this fantasy of mine. Someday in my future, as I sit reclined on the white leather couch in the living room of my hillside-mansion, gazing out at the city lights below me from behind ten-foot-tall windows by the warmth of a marble fireplace, wineglass filled with water and no ice in hand, fluffy purring cat by my side, a boy’s voice will echo out from down the hall.
“Dad?” it says.
I get up from the couch and walk down the hall. I approach the doorway from which the voice came and see my young son awake in his bed, sitting up in the darkness.
“Yes, Xerxes?” I reply. “Can’t sleep again?”
He shakes his head.
“Well, how about I play you a lullaby?”
At that point, I get him out of bed and we both go back into the living room, where we take a seat at the bench of a grand piano. Maybe he’ll think he’s too old for lullabies at this point, but that’s okay. My wife smiles and shakes her head at me (much like you have been doing) from a nearby bedroom doorway because she sees that my time has finally come. I smile at her and then at him, and begin to play the song above.
Call it cheesy or whatever, but I hope that if any part of that fantasy comes true, it’s that I play that song to my kids when I’m older. This is the second song I taught myself on the piano, and it was pretty difficult at that, so this song is a little special for me. The thing I love the most about this song, however, is the images it paints in your head. There are very, very few songs like this for me - where I can just lean back and dream about rain or merry-go-rounds or a child’s head leaning on my shoulder as he drifts off to sleep. It’s like the first song on the sad second-half of the soundtrack to imagination; it just has that ability to make me visualize in all its lovely flow and vibe. That’s what I hope my kids realize when I play this for them: that music is far more than just sound. When they hear this song, I want them to understand just how much music can do, so that they can grow up with the an appreciation for the art that it is.
Oh, and you most likely know the song, but just in case you don’t, it’s called “Comptine d’un autre été - L’après-midi,” from the movie “Amelié.” The name translates to “Nursery rhyme of another summer - afternoon,” but I would rather translate “nursery rhyme” as “lullaby;” you know, just for that extra dramatic bit.
And that’s my fantasy.
I love to read about the kinds of images and stories that various pieces of instrumental music suggest to people. This one’s rather touching! <3
“The Night Gardener”
A touching animation set to Yann Tiersen’s “Comptine d’un autre eté, l’après-midi”
by Gideon Boomer (my brother)
Derrière le sens des mots, des sons, derrière les sons, des sens.
C’est un livre ouvert sur un piano.
I’m actually unsure of the source on this one, but it appears on the back cover of Yann Tiersen’s Six pieces for piano Volume 2 and I like to think he wrote it personally.
Comptine d’un autre ete (Yann Tiersen) Vs. What is Love? (Haddaway)
A charming quodlibet!
Reblogged from alexleefitz:
I’m definitely taking my melodica with me when I fly to Melbourne in two days time to play in this festival.
But I still feel a little unsure about the whole thing. Do I really think they’ll like me playing Yann Tiersen on it?? And Nino Rota??? Lordy, I hope so!