i knew it existed – it just took me a while to come acrosss it. between 1974 and 1983 there existed a project called poesie und musik, publishing records that combined – right: poetry and music. based on texts by heinrich heine, pablo neruda, the (west-)indian chief seattle (and another record with northamerican-indian texts). and one with texts by francois villon. more precise: with the texts of paul zech, based on the poetry of francois villon. (for an explanation you might want to visit my earlier villon post).
this project was headed by the swiss musician rené bardet – for the first three records (the two heine records and the villon record) he worked together with orlando valentini and a certain andreas vollenweider. not much i know about orlando valentini – he seems to have played with various musicians over the time. he passed away a couple of years ago – as did rené bardet, who quit being a musician in the 80s and started to work in the media industry. but as all you (new agers) know, andreas vollenweider rose to international fame during the 1980s and is known now for his solowork as well as for his many collaborations. i have to admit that i always found it amazing the every household in california seemed to have at least one of his cd’s (and one of kitaro, of course)…
but back to 1976, when the three of them published the francois villon record.
i have to admit i was first a little bit disappointed – it starts with an instrumental in the medieval-folks-y style – and it continues to have that kind of style – sometimes more jazzy – for the first couple of songs. well, of course my expectations have been high, since i was on the lookout for this record for a while. but this kind of updated medieval sounding style is just not my cup of tea… first it seems to me like the poetry and the music are rather parallel then together – not unlike the the villon record by richard lauffen i posted earlier (and that is still up). but somehow the poetry of villon seems even further away by trying to put it in a musical context that refers to a time very long gone. somehow it is like seeing shakespeare in an “authentic” performance and then seeing the movie romeo and juliet from 1996 (yep, the one with leonardo di caprio), where the original text (and consequently the play) suddenly makes sense again by moving the visual to the now. or to try to explain it differently: the first couple of songs / ballads seem to be made too obviously like “one sould make it” but seem like not…hm…to have been appropriated enough. but in a way it is interesting to note that the music refers to a time before the texts by paul zech were created… but then comes the last song on the first side – and suddenly it works. it is kind of a romantic, (pop-)ballad flavoured with a spanish guitar. and although rené bardet still declames the text, it is suddenly really poetry and music, together. and the same is true for the second side: it starts with a more blues-y number – which fits the words perfectly and continues to the most amazing track, sommerballade von der armen louise, which is…heartrending.
so – starting at the end of the first side and for the full second side the music and the words re-inforce each other – it’s not just the music giving a nice background… but as usual i think you should listen to it for yourself. poesie und musik: francois villon, ripped from vinyl, including the coverscans (on the back-cover you see the three of them young and cute) you can get here. wikipedia informs me that there is a re-issue of this record planned, but i could not find any other source confirming this information, and andreas vollenweider does not even list this record in his discography on his website. and now make yourself a stiff drink and enjoy mister villons prose!