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PE0206. CHARLES TRENET: Five Songs; 'Mr. NOBODY plays Trenet'. Actually, none other than ALEXIS WEISSENBERG playing Trenet Songs: Coin de rue; En Avril, à Paris;
Vous oubliez votre cheval; Boum!; Vous qui passez sans me voir; Ménilmontant - from an early Lumen disk! (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 78-065. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
“Sometime in the 1950s there appeared on the Lumen label an extended play 45-rpm record called MR. NOBODY PLAYS TRENET. It contained unusually creative and entertaining piano settings of six songs by the French singer-songwriter Charles Trenet. The identity of ‘Mr. Nobody’ was kept secret until a few years ago, when it was revealed to be Alexis Weissenberg. It is easy to see why Weissenberg chose to adopt a pseudonym for this recording. At that time a serious classical pianist dabbling in such trivialities as popular song would most likely have been compromising his own career. From the moment I was introduced to this recording by a friend, I was anxious to play the arrangements myself. But since Weissenberg never wrote them down, I had to create a score. Luckily, the whole experience of transcribing the songs was pleasant—despite my devoting an entire month to it. Anyone who is familiar with Trenet’s songs in their original form will be delightfully surprised by what Weissenberg has done with them. Unusual touches abound: in ‘Coin de rue’, an evocation of the narrator’s childhood, the listener is treated to the sounds of a barrel organ; the ‘oom-pah’ rhythm of ‘Boum!’ becomes a foxtrot, while the moderately paced ‘Ménilmontant’ is transformed into a headlong moto perpetuo.”
- Marc-André Hamelin
“Each of these disks, from Canadian engineer Yves St Laurent… [feature] St Laurent’s natural transfer – made without filtering, like all his dubbings – it is easy to listen to, despite the surface noise.”
- Tully Potter, CLASSICAL RECORD QUARTERLY, Summer, 2011