Louis Sclavis
"Dans La Nuit", CD

French clarinet-player Louis Sclavis has written many a film score to date. His latest work is dedicated to the silent movie "Dans la nuit" by Charles Vanel.

Writing new music for movies from the beginning of the Twentieth Century seems to be quite popular among experimental and modern classical musicians. And it is perfectly understandable, as movies from that period often lacked spoken dialogues, but were accompanied by a sparse soundtrack instead. Thus, in these productions the music is a vital ingredient to highlight the action - a perfect challenge for any composer.

Louis Sclavis is a well known musician in France's contemporary Jazz circles, and when French film director and producer Bertrand Tavernier asked him to do a new movie score for the 1929 silent movie "Dans la nuit" by Charles Vanel, Louis was certainly amazed by the idea.

In spite of his bona fide attempt to rely on the use of musical elements that used to be popular in 1920ies' France, Sclavis achieved to enhance the melodic structure by means of his trademark improvisations. The music of course has to fit into the tight frame of the movie's plot, but the improvised parts of the score definitely lend a freshness and spontaneity to the music that makes it appropriate listening, even without watching or even knowing the film.

For this production, Louis Sclavis' clarinet was supported by violinist Dominique Pifarely, cello player Vincent Courtois, drummer Francois Merville (percussion and marimba) and accordionist Jean Louis Matinier - a strictly acoustic quintet whose manner and style perfectly blend with the period in which the film was made.

(rb, t: rh)

Label: ECM Records
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"Dans La Nuit" CD cover