Descente Aux Enfers (1986)/Delerue

September 21, 2011

A relatively new company Music Box Records is dedicated to the release of French soundtrack material. This fourth release Descente Aux Enfers offers music by the talented George Delerue and is an outstanding choice. In addition to the previously released material there is 9 minutes of new soundtrack music in addition to a change in the sequencing.

The story involves the Kolbers, Alan and Lola who are in crisis with their marriage. Starring Claude Brasseur and Sophie Marceau there are affairs, a killing, blackmail, and alcoholism. The French film was shot in Haiti and directed by Francis Girod.

On listening to the score for the first time I expected to hear the usual French sound (accordion and violin) and was surprised to hear none of that from Delerue. “Generique debut” introduces the theme for Alan, a bluesy jazz based melody which easily could have come from a gumshoe film. It is smooth and very easy on the ears with the improvisational material around the theme quite natural. “Alan and Lola” begins with a simple statement on the piano followed by a sad solo flute representing Lola. The interplay between piano and flute makes for a strong track. This is nothing complex, just easy listening. Both the Lola and Alan themes will be heard on several of the tracks in the score and are the major themes. Two very brief tracks are “Bonheur trompe-l’oeil” which begins in a happy fashion with harp but ends on a tragic note. Perhaps this told the story of their marriage. “Le joli jeune home” is an upbeat melody with clarinet solo backed by guitar. “Alan” is a repeat of the theme we heard in “Generique debut,” that sad lost soulful feeling. “La plage” is a minor key tragic cue which enhances the melodrama. “Le spleen d’Alan” continues in a tragic vein with statements from the flute and saxophone. “Alan au bar” is piano lounge material with an easy to listen to solo, a simple melody that sets the mood for the scene. “Baignoire rock” is the type of funky music you’d hear in the 80’s. The guitar is featured in a long extended solo. The solo sax backed by slow extended notes from the strings in “La descente aux enfers d’Alan” while not the melody we heard in “Alan” it is very similar in nature. “Philippe et Lola” begins in tragic fashion with strings offering a funeral somber theme. The flute offers the Lola melody very serene and quiet to end the track. “Feu dans la nuit” offers an extended sax solo, a variation of the Alan theme. More tragedy enters followed by the Lola theme on the flute. “La mort de Kleber” is a tension track with low register notes from the strings. “La mort de mer” is a short track which features the Alan theme on the Sax. “La confession de Lola-Generique fin” offers the Lola theme on the flute along with the sax solo of Alan with upper register strings in the background bringing the film to a conclusion.

Bonus Tracks include “Arrivee a l’hotel” underscore material with the Lola theme. “Maitres chanteurs” offers the clarinet in a slinky cat fashion. “Nocturne” is a brief romantic track featuring the Lola theme. “Le joli jeune home” is a similar version of the track with the xylophone replacing the clarinet. “Flashback metro” provides a bit of tension with tremolo strings a quick reference on the oboe to the Lola theme and it ends with the soulful sax and the Alan theme. “Ma femme douce, ma femme dure” is a quiet track with the flute playing the Lola theme once again.

If you’re taste is toward an easy listening style with a nice dose of jazz this CD will fit nicely in your collection. Very little if any French influence and as I stated earlier it sounds like a soundtrack to an American film without dissonant brass and loud crescendos. Since this is a limited edition release of 1000 units it is best to act sooner rather than later or you might be disappointed. The soundtrack quality being from the 80’s is excellent. The bonus tracks have some slight imperfections as explained in the liner notes. Recommended.

Music Box Records CD# 04


Track listing

1.

Générique début (03:57)

2.

Alan et Lola (03:28)

3.

Bonheur trompe l’œil (01:05)

4.

Le joli jeune homme (01:20)

5.

Alan (01:59)

6.

La plage (01:27)

7.

Le spleen d’Alan (03:27)

8.

Alan au bar (02:40)

9.

Baignoire rock (03:26)

10.

Descente aux enfers d’Alan (01:58)

11.

Philippe et Lola (01:49)

12.

Feu dans la nuit (02:32)

13.

La mort de Kléber (02:01)

14.

La bouteille à la mer (01:25)

15.

La confession de Lola / Générique fin (04:19)
TITRES BONUS:

16.

Arrivée à l’hôtel* (01:23)

17.

Maîtres chanteurs* (01:50)

18.

Nocturne* (00:57)

19.

Flashback métro* (02:08)

20.

Ma femme douce, ma femme dure* (01:10)

21.

Le joli jeune homme (version alternative)* (01:18)
*morceaux inédits

Total Duration: 00:45:39

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