Serge Franklin (1934- ), a composer of over 100 films today was just getting started when he scored this French godfather type film in 1982. I can’t comment on the film as I’ve not seen it but this fifth release from Music Box Records is a soundtrack which I’ve listened to several times for the writing of this review. The limited edition release is limited to 750 copies so it is best to act sooner rather than later as this is an excellent release. The Philips LP release (6313 290) has been expanded with over twenty five minutes of unreleased material. This is my first experience with Franklin and I’m sorry that I’d not discovered him sooner.

 

Le grand pardon is the main title which offers a combination of guitar, strings, and bandoneon (accordion like) with the guitar starting off the melody and it quickly changes with the strings taking over the main theme. The orchestration by Franklin has excellent counterpoint as there are many things happening at the same time. If I didn’t know better I wouldn’t have been surprised if this was a theme for an Italian western! It is one of three themes that are repeated throughout the score.

 

Generique debut* are quiet strings with a beat box (new at the time) with the bandoneon. This is strictly underscore material and a previously unreleased track.

 

Jazz forever* another unreleased track is a big band swinging upbeat cue, well orchestrated with brass taking the melody and running with it. No extended solos are offered by any instrument except two brief motifs from the piano.

 

Up to date is another big band swing track with a similar style to the previous track. The sax section plays a more prominent role but the brass still gets there time.

 

La pegre a la une* guitar offers the main theme and then it concludes with the urgent percussion and bandoneon.

Bettoun et le Sacriatain* is another version of the main title with a phrase of urgency taken from the generique track.

 

La guerre du casino* is a very quick lush tenor sax solo which turns into dissonant underscore.

 

Give me la salsa is a vocal by Tina Provenizano, a pop song typical of the 80’s with a disco beat.

 

Romance a Biarritz* offers piano and chamber strings followed by guitar which plays a somewhat solemn version of the family theme.

 

Bazck is a Jewish theme which includes a playing of the horn of the ram before it turns into the generique urgency track.

 

Sur le ring* begins with the main theme in a shortened version.

 

Mort de Roland et Viviane* is chamber music that begins the track followed by a solo piano theme of the family.

 

Casino de Biarritz is a slow dance band two step somewhat romantic and well orchestrated.

 

Le grand mambo* is a standard arrangement of a mambo dance theme.

 

Bettoun libre* is the main theme again featuring the guitar.

 

Pour suite les quais disco beat with the generique theme.

 

Maduro con queso a funky rock beat dominates this track with a choral background. An improvisational trumpet solo is offered.

 

Nuit blanche is another version of the main theme, something Franklin used often in this score.

 

Par King* is a disco version of the generique theme another well used motif.

 

La loi du talion string plucking, drum machine, and urgent strings offer some very good underscore material. A good track.

 

Generique fin* is the main theme again and as previously stated is well used throughout the soundtrack.

 

Theme d’amour (piano solo)* is the family theme in a very lush solo piano arrangement.

 

Le grand pardon is the concluding track offering a vocal from Herbert Pagani of a disco beat version of the main theme.

 

The mastering quality came from a good source and is clean with crisp treble. Liner notes are very adequate and informing about the film and music. It is nice to see Music Box Records enter the market with a unique product. I look forward to more titles in the future.

 

 

 

1.

Le grand pardon (03:43)

2.

Générique début* (03:37)

3.

Mi violon mi flamenco (03:11)

4.

Jazz forever* (03:27)

5.

Up to date (02:28)

6.

La pègre à la une* (01:10)

7.

Bettoun et le Sacristain* (01:09)

8.

La guerre du casino* (00:33)

9.

Give me la salsa (sung by Tina Provenzano) (03:13)

10.

Romance à Biarritz* (01:58)

11.

Bazak (02:15)

12.

Sur le ring* (01:32)

13.

Mort de Roland et Viviane* (01:37)

14.

Casino de Biarritz (03:26)

15.

Le grand mambo* (02:35)

16.

Bettoun libre* (02:19)

17.

Poursuite sur les quais (01:30)

18.

Maduro con queso (02:33)

19.

Nuit blanche (02:07)

20.

Parking* (02:37)

21.

La loi du talion (03:18)

22.

Générique fin* (03:01)

23.

Thème d’amour (piano solo)* (03:05)

24.

Le grand pardon (sung by Herbert Pagani) (03:16)
*previously unreleased

Total Duration: 00:59:40

 

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

Music Box Records

August 24, 2011

I am pleased to announce that Music Box Records has agreed to become part of my ever growing companies to participate in the recording of the month. On 9/21/11 Music Box is offering two new releases to its ever growing collection. The small French based company offering  Descente Aux Enfers, a Georges Delerue score and Le Grand Pardon, from the pen of Serge Franklin. Both releases contain new unreleased music. I look forward to reviewing this material.