Nouvelles Vagues/Traffic Quintet/Desplat

October 14, 2007




While working on an article for Alexandre Desplat’s new soundtrack Lust, Caution, I became somewhat intrigued with a selection “Dinner Waltz” which was performed by the Traffic Quintet. Something quite unusual was the addition of a double bass, seldom included in a (5) piece ensemble performing classical music. Upon doing a little additional research I discovered this CD which is a selection of film music of famous french film directors. What a wonderful find to discover these transcriptions from Desplat. On the Naive label (#V5093) this CD is available through Screen Archives Entertainment at the time of this writing. Included are (13) different films (3) of which are composed by Alexandre himself. Some of the more familiar films to US readers are Jules and Jim, A Passage to India, and King of Hearts. 



One track that immediately got my attention was Peur sur la ville (Night Caller) a 1975 Henri Verneuil action thriller film starring Jean-Paul Belmondo with music by Ennio Morricone. For those of you who are familiar the track begins very much like his 1982 film The Thing with the thump thump thump before the theme appears. While there is no percussion the bass almost doubles as one on this track as well as others on the CD performing drum like sounds. This is no ordinary sounding soundtrack cue. It is filled with off the wall melodies, constant rhythm from the bass, and dissonant harmony. This track alone is well worth the price of admission!

Gato Barbieri is primarily known as a light jazz saxophone player supreme but also did one soundtrack of note, The Last Tango In Paris, and Desplat features it on three separate cues. The 1972 film starring Marlon Brando likely attracted as much attention as it did because of the sex scenes. The haunting main theme is one of the few themes that is performed in a more traditional sounding quintet style. It is quite straight forward and easily recognizable to anyone who has heard the theme before.

This is one CD that immediately got my attention from the very first track! It is chamber music but it isn’t. It is jazz like but it isn’t. It is a soundtrack compilation but a completely different set of works performed that many of you have never heard before. This is a CD that classical, jazz, and soundtrack listeners can all enjoy. Highly recommended!






2 Responses to “Nouvelles Vagues/Traffic Quintet/Desplat”

  1. Mark Says:

    I’m listening to this now Tom, thanks for introducing it to me. Track 2, “Le Mépris” by Delerue is a magnificent transcription!

  2. Martijn Says:

    Very interesting review.
    As jazz, film music and chamber music all appeal to me, this should be an interesting addition to my collection (it helps of course immensely that there is some Delerue on the CD. Incidentally, wasn’t Desplat Delerue’s arranger on many of his scores?)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: