rock, classical, variety… six musical gift ideas



Michael Berger

Warner Musique, 3-CD set (€19), vinyl (€29.99)

Whereas starmania, the rock opera he composed with Luc Plamondon, comes to life again in a sumptuous production, we can listen to the best of Michel Berger. In three discs, 61 songs signed by him (except “Message personnel”, co-written with Françoise Hardy), which he interprets himself, make his swing and his sensitivity shine.

“The Pianist’s Groupie”, “A few words of love”, “Le Paradis blanc”… all are there. His famous duets, including “Ça balance pas mal à Paris” and “Laissez passer les rêves”, with France Gall, or “La Minute de silence”, with Daniel Balavoine, also present on this anthology, alongside rarer titles. Song remained unpublished, “Vivre”, which gives its title to the box, is a curiosity. And we find, intact, the timeless elegance of Michel Berger’s words, music and voice, source of so much nostalgia.


Julie Fuchs

Sony Classical, 1 CD, €17

It is the miracle of the recording to be able to give to hear an artist incarnate three different characters of the same opera. The soprano Julie Fuchs thus slips into the vocal and psychological personality of the very young Barberine, then into the sparkling spirit of Suzanne and, finally, into the poignant melancholy of the Countess. Its silky timbre and the vivacity of its singing flourish in The Marriage of Figaroby Mozart, his favorite composer.

Accompanied by the Balthasar Neumann orchestra, under the direction of Thomas Hengelbrock, the musician delivers in this CD her diary alongside “Amadé” (the name with which Mozart signs the letters to his loved ones): she embodies with naturalness and affection “these women who leave or who are left but who always sing”, she writes in the booklet. Wonderfully expressing the composer’s complicity with his heroines whose desires and fears sparkle, resplendent with humanity.

Vienna evening

Rudolf Buchbinder

German Grammophon, 1 CD, €23.99

Because he finds “tragic” that Johann Strauss never wrote for his instrument, the pianist Rudolf Buchbinder has concocted a Viennese evening where he virtuoso paraphrases some of the great standards of the king of the waltz. In mirror, the pianist interprets pieces by Schubert, Beethoven or Schumann, in the great tradition of this indefinable Viennese spirit, between lightness and concern, carelessness and prescience of an approaching end.

He thus imagined an entertaining, but refined program, such as one could “savor” it among listeners in good company, in the salons of the Austrian capital at the time of its splendour. “Music speaks to us about the human condition and the world”, assures Rudolf Buchbinder, who indeed addresses the listener in a familiar and friendly way of conversation. With humour, charm, tenderness and, sometimes, a shadow of marvelous sadness…



Etienne Daho, A Secret Book

Sylvie Coma, preface Elli Medeiros,

La Martinière, 384 pages, €49.90

His first hits, “Week-end à Rome”, “Le Grand Sommeil”, “Tombé pour la France”, “shoulder tattoo”, a famous record cover in Saint James sailor top and parrot on the shoulder, his admiration for Gainsbourg and new wave, his friendships with Françoise Hardy, Marianne Faithfull, Jeanne Moreau and Jane Birkin, his influence… Daho, 66, godfather of French pop, is well known.

Étienne reveals himself in this “secret book” written by a friend and prefaced by another, illustrated by sumptuous and unpublished iconography. Childhood in Oran, adolescence in Rennes, fascination with London, “dahomania”… a French destiny is embodied in this story. With its vintage covers from Bowie to Barbara, Blondie or the Stooges, its dedications, its stage shots, its annotated scores and its concert tickets, this beautiful intimate book will appeal to lovers of pop culture.

modern song philosophy

By Bob Dylan, translated from English by Jean-Luc Piningre,

Fayard, 352 pages, €39.90

He chose 66 titles, like the mythical route of the American West. Bob Dylan takes them along the great paths of his thought. With its imposing title which summons philosophy and modernity in the service of the song, the work allows him to sparkle his provocative and brilliant pen in 66 short texts illustrated with eclecticism.

His “philosophy”, the Nobel Prize for Literature delivers it straight away, page 11. “It is said that in “I’m a fool to want you”, Frank Sinatra discusses his feelings for Ava Gardner, but it is completely secondary. What matters is that the listener can make the connection between a song and his own existence. »

Blues, rock, country, soul and folk, Dylan draws on the sources that have irrigated him, honoring Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. He allows himself only one non-Anglo-Saxon title, the Italian romance “Volare”. Pecking between Cézanne and Liz Taylor, his illustrations testify to a curious spirit. His aphorisms hit the bull’s eye and this king of paradox even manages to terrify with the charming bluette “Come On-A My House” sung by Rosemary Clooney.

It is at night that it is beautiful to believe in the light

By Claire-Marie Le Guay,

Flammarion, 192 pages, €19

Borrowing her title from Edmond Rostand, the pianist trades the keyboard for the pen: but her elegant and fervent phrasing, her far-sighted and profound approach to the works are the same. With the complicity of five composers – Mozart, Bach, Liszt, Mahler and Rachmaninoff – the artist explores a palette of emotions, gentle or violent, that great musicians manage to sublimate in their works.

Rich in numerous examples accessible via digital links (in the form of QR Codes), this erudite and sensitive walk invites us to make the link between the inspiration of the creator and the delicious confusion which insinuates itself into each of us at the listening to music that touches us.


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