About this Recording
8.223681 - DEVREESE: Benvenuta / L' Oeuvre au Noir / Un Soir, un Train

Frédéric Devreese (b. 1929)
Music to films by André Delvaux


Frédéric Devreese is a composer of operas, orchestral works, concertos, ballets, music for plays and television dramas, chamber music, and, last but not least, film scores. In films for which he provided the music, brief fragments may be heard, arranged for various instruments and edited to suit the duration of the film sequence. Devreese always provides, however, an orchestral version of these scores, with the fragments interwoven into a full musical entity, suitable for performance in the concert-hall. These are then made into film suites, such as Benvenuta (1986), which contains a habanera, waltz and tango, forming a dance suite, preceded by a dreamy prelude. This music is able to stand on its own, but within the film it is intended to provide a further dimension to the original, visual dramatic reality. Without actually being descriptive, the music is of a highly evocative nature. Although the early score for Un Soir, un Train… (1968) is closely related to the typical genre of smooth-sounding French film music, there is no playing to the audience with a singable tune, repeated to the point of tedium. On the contrary, the audience is stimulated into creative synaesthetic assimilation of diverging impulses for the eye and ear. The unifying musical theme is ever present, but assumes different guises, so that the viewer is constantly wondering whether he recognises it or not, rather than being comforted by the mere confirmation of repetition. In this way the elusive leitmotiv of Zénon in L’Oeuvre au Noir (1988) works as an image of youth and travelling, for the departure and for the nightmare of the principal character. The same is true of the main theme of Benvenuta, which maintains an underlying, almost imperceptible presence throughout the various dance movements. In Belle, too, as André Delvaux observes, the musical unit around which the entire film is constructed (“Life ebbs away, life is gone with the wind”), taken from the Bach Prelude in F minor, is the starting-point which is left far behind. Starting from there, Frédéric Devreese wrote all the music for the film, drawing the title-music from it at the beginning and at the end, the song, the more violent music used at certain points and the music corresponding to La Fagne and Belle. It may be added that this is the traditional rôle of the musician, starting from a unit, which is then developed into several parts and variations, depending on the requirements of the work.

Yves Knockaert

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