Jump to content

Sous le Ciel de Paris - David Barnert


Recommended Posts

I hadn't noticed this quite recent and excellent recording of "Sous le Ciel de Paris" by this forum's member David Barnert :

 

"Sous le Ciel de Paris" is a famous musette-accordion tune - a genre that is surprisingly rarely tackled on the concertina. Outside of member tona's records, there aren't many attempts that I know of.

 

David, do you have some others pieces of this kind in your repertoire? I don't know if you've already listened to "À Paris dans Chaque Faubourg", it's a beautiful tune that's not often played, but of which a few magnificent versions on the accordion exist - Armand Lassagne's one for instance or the one Joe Rossi recorded with an accordion quatuor. If you like this kind of music, I'm sure you could make a great arrangement of it.

 

If anybody here knows of other adaptations of the musette genre to the concertina please feel free to post them.

Edited by ritonmousquetaire
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you, ritonmousquetaire and Didie. I have really enjoyed arranging and learning this tune. It is a first attempt for me to play anything like this. I was planning to do a youtube of it soon, and had forgotten that I did the soundcloud. I was baffled by the title of your post (How did he know? Where did he get it?) until I read it.

 

Here’s how it came about:

 

In April, I was contacted by a woman who was directing a play for the Schenectady Civic Players (some 20 miles from my home in Albany) and wanted a concertina player as part of the cast. Somebody gave her my name. The play is “The Madwoman of Chaillot,”  which takes place at a sidewalk cafe in Paris. The script calls for a “street singer” and doesn’t mention a musician, but this director wanted me to play and other characters to sing.

 

I am not an actor and have very little experience appearing on stage in theatrical productions, but here I am. We are well into rehearsals now and open in two weeks.

 

https://www.civicplayers.org/the-madwoman-of-chaillot

 

I will be playing a lot of French music, mostly small snips of a measure or two, to comment on or punctuate the action or dialogue. When the curtain rises on Act I, I am playing this tune and the waitress sings and some patrons join in (in English, “Under Paris Skies”—the English lyrics tell a very different story from the French).

 

I made the recording early in the process to give the cast something to practice with. However, I recorded it in A minor (when I made the arrangement, I didn’t know anybody would be singing along), which is a fine key for the instrument, but not for singing. So I re-arranged (and relearned) it in E minor for the actress playing the waitress. She wanted F minor, but that’s awkward on a 46-key Hayden, so I got her to drop to E minor. I was able to use much of the A minor arrangement on new buttons (that’s the beauty of Hayden’s system) but had to push some octaves around in the left hand.

 

But the actress had to leave the production and another actress was brought on who had learned to sing the song in C minor. Same problem as F minor for me, so I proposed D minor and she went for it. Fortunately, playing it in D minor is exactly like playing it in E minor, just one button to the left (thank you, Inventor). After the production has played and closed, I will record a youtube, probably in D minor.

 

I performed it in D minor last week in the talent show at the NorthEast Squeeze In. I heard people in the audience humming along, and I was complimented by Randy Stein, so I guess I must be doing something right.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

David > That's quite a fun story! I thought you had just recorded it for pleasure, hadn't guessed that this record actually was the first step in your acting career! ? Playing the concertina in such a setting must be an interesting challenge - are you also required to act while you play (not necessarily talking, but interacting with the other characters etc)?

 

Looking forward to hear your latest arrangement - it'll be interesting to see how you managed to adapt it to the different key. Speaking of the arrangement, how did you come up with this one - especially for the bass part? Did you work by ear, or did you use a sheet music?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, ritonmousquetaire said:

are you also required to act while you play (not necessarily talking, but interacting with the other characters etc)?

 

Minimally. I engage the waitress when she begins to sing. I laugh with the others when the rag picker makes a joke. My only spoken lines are as part of a crowd, the jury in the mock trial. We all say it together. “Guilty.” “Yes, Countess.” That sort of thing. I am under strict instructions not to engage the audience.

 

5 hours ago, ritonmousquetaire said:

it'll be interesting to see how you managed to adapt it to the different key.

 

Adapt it to a different key from the one it is published in or from the one I have already arranged/learned it in? Of course, I did both.

 

5 hours ago, ritonmousquetaire said:

Speaking of the arrangement, how did you come up with this one - especially for the bass part? Did you work by ear, or did you use a sheet music?

 

A bit of both. First I found many youtube recordings and listened to them over and over for ideas. For instance, the descending bass line in measures 5 - 8 I heard here and appropriated for my arrangement. Some of the chords I took from here. Of course, material from both sources had to be transposed into the key I was working in (initially, A minor). Finally, I fell back on my favorite trick playing the Hayden (also the guitar): follow the melody with a parallel bass line a 10th (that is, an octave and a 3rd) below. Sometimes that is all I need for accompaniment, sometimes I add a middle voice or two to make a chord.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/29/2018 at 5:05 AM, David Barnert said:

I performed it in D minor last week in the talent show at the NorthEast Squeeze In. I heard people in the audience humming along, and I was complimented by Randy Stein, so I guess I must be doing something right.

 

Stuart Dean photo’ed and video’ed the whole weekend and just posted the results today. Here’s my (imperfect) performance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a nice project David - that's the great thing about playing concertina - you can end up being involved in all sorts of unusual productions. I do hope you'll post a photo of you onstage in all the kit ? I like the arrangement too - will you drop the melody line when the actress starts singing, or double her?

Good luck with the remaining rehearsals and break a leg...

 

Cheers,

 

Adrian

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/2/2018 at 5:17 AM, adrian brown said:

I do hope you'll post a photo of you onstage in all the kit ?

 

I assume somebody official will take some photographs of the production (maybe the dress rehearsal) and hopefully make them available to the cast. The audience is not permitted to photograph the performances.

 

On 10/2/2018 at 5:17 AM, adrian brown said:

will you drop the melody line when the actress starts singing, or double her?

 

Double. I tried dropping the melody out, but it didn’t work well. She needs the backup.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/1/2018 at 3:38 AM, David Barnert said:

 

Stuart Dean photo’ed and video’ed the whole weekend and just posted the results today. Here’s my (imperfect) performance.

 

Great! Also, it's a nice example of the way you can come up with an arrangement in a different key for the same piece. It sounds great in D, and you're obviously having fun playing it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/11/2018 at 4:21 AM, adrian brown said:

Looks great David and it must have been heaps of fun to do?

 

I enjoyed the experience of the production, although I don’t expect I’ll ever do something like that again. As I put it to the director, “I have a very full life. The last thing I need is a new hobby."

 

The video was not fun to do, but I felt I had to make it. As I mentioned, I had to force the smile, and you wouldn’t believe how many takes the whole thing took (I lost count).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...