Coin de rue
Vous oubliez votre cheval
En avril, à Paris
Vous qui passez sans me voir
An excerpt from the foreword by Marc-André Hamelin
In 1956 or thereabouts, the Belgium-based Lumen label released an extended-play 45-rpm record called Mr. Nobody Plays Trenet. It contained fabulously creative and entertaining piano settings of six songs by the French singer-songwriter Charles Trenet (1913–2001). The identity of ‘Mr. Nobody’ was unknown until fairly recently, when it was revealed to be that of Alexis Weissenberg. Before I met him for the first time in 2004, I had assumed that the reason for not issuing the recording under his own name had something to do with the fact that, at that time, a serious classical pianist dabbling in such trivialities as popular song would most likely have been compromising his own career. (How times have changed! This kind of thing is welcomed, even encouraged, by record companies now.) But while that may have been a concern for him, I was shocked when he told me that he simply didn’ t think the end result was good enough!
“En avril à Paris” performed by Marc-André Hamelin
“Ménilmontant” performed by Alexis Weissenberg