Vladimir Cosma: a musical score of French cinema

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My Memoirs from Dreams to Reality, by Vladimir Cosma. plain. 514 pages. Color and black and white photos. 24,90€. October 2022

Vladimir Cosma looks back at the star-studded career that made him the composer whose film scores have reached most French ears.

“… the name Vladimir Cosma is associated with the greatest directors… This slogan on the back cover is not without some astonishment, and hence some doubt as to the appropriateness of seriously immersing oneself in the 500 pages of this book. My Dream Memoir to Reality, written by the official composer of the French cinema entertainer. Oury, Zidi, Molinaro, Veber and others, if they filled theaters knowing how to “make an honest man laugh”, were generally considered to be styleless filmmakers. We will be more lenient with Yves Robert, Pascal Thomas, Pierre Richard, who are surely the most charming directors of the consequential address book of French-Romanian composers, whose meticulous and smiling knowledge claims no more status than we would be more willing to give, to remain holding on to French cinema, to Georges Delerue (Godard, Truffaut…) to François de Roubaix (Giovanni, Enrico, Korber…) who died too soon, even to Philippe Sarde (Sautet, Téchiné , Tavernier…), to a Michel Legrand trained by Jacques Demy to the pinnacle of inspiration, or even to Michel Colombier fromA room in the city which France shunned in 1982 in favor of the composer Ace of Aces (released the same day as Demy’s opera masterpiece): Vladimir Cosma!

From his birth in Paris in 1940, from his youth in Romania (where he studied violin in Bucharest recently shaken by the Second World War) into a family whose father was a conductor and friend of Sergiu Celibidache and his mother, sports champion and footballer occasional cards with Eugene Ionesco, to his sure exile in France, exiled Cosma’s journey was, in fact, filled with starry encounters. At the age of 11 he wrote down his musical ideas in a large notebook (real “ war chest where will he draw his whole life from); at the age of 12 he had already played, before being suspected, in Stalinist Romania in his youth, for seeing too much of the West; at the age of 22 he arrived in Paris of Jean Wiéner (“ Your son is music itself… “), Martial Solal, Paul Kuentz (Cosma comes from a famous ensemble), Claude Bolling, or even Michel Legrand, whom he describes as his mentor, and who was his assistant on several titles including the immortal Demoiselles de Rochefort. Cosma is also part of the prestigious flock (Gerschwin, Bernstein, Glass, etc.) owned by Nadia Boulanger: “ Contemporary music, anyone can make it, but no one else can write YOUR music. Never forget who you are and where you come from! » Teachings that, if not useful for him to compile « perfect slow » Reality to Party by Claude Pinoteau, allowing him to overcome the escape to The Big Blonde with black shoes and even a sensation for dodecaphonism Kings of Jokes !

It was a meeting with Yves Robert in 1968 that marked the start of a rich career of 186 works for cinema (nine titles for 1973 alone!) and 122 for television (which is kind of sweet). Chateauvallon, Love legacy). Filmmaker fromWe will all go to heaven will use Cosma in all of his films fromblessed alexander. A solid ability to blend into the world of laughter in every way, responsiveness and very easy diplomacy (able even to compose from a hospital bed!) allowed Vladimir Cosma to be invited to Idiot dinnerto make fun of Disturbed and Bad luck Alfredto choose between Wings or thighsdo Onion Raceand to dance tightly Santa Claus is trash

The person crowned by Jean Carmet ” good luck charm for filmmakers never denying its origins: certain themes composed in the Balkans became the signature anthem of French cinema. The music, generally bubbly and relaxed, seems to tend to drown out the feeling of not belonging ” no talent for happiness “. If he does not despise the occasional flirtation with the inconsistencies and impersonality of so-called variety music, he always displays a subtle concern for appropriate colors (” The contribution of the solo musicians I employ is very important. ”): mariachi instrument from Goatmelancholy whistle of friendsclandestine crickets from Pagnol by Yves Robert, without forgetting the panpipes and cimbaloms from tall blonde, who was very reluctant to film Francis Veber’s music boldly denying its high potential. It was Veber who was finally about to lay down his hands:” Music enters my films reluctantly. » « There he is L’Emmerdeur” handled pretty well Cosma in the end…

The book is full of anecdotes: dance developments Rabbi Jacobcold sweat from Tall Blondeseagulls accompany Anny Duperey when Marilyn enters An elephant deceives a lotLouis de Funès’ fascination with Annie Girardot under the tutelage of Madame in Disputediva wishes from… Divasmusical duel with the great Morricone Ace of Aces“section inspection” of Ball de Scola, Veber’s doubts about music (one of his most charming writers). friends (“” whistling music is jinxed “), the rabbit from the strange Chet Baker, the Cosma-Le Pen telephone exchange Summer 36the ineffable connection with Mocky, who preferred to tell his films rather than show them, and how Charles Pasqua himself, from 1990, encouraged Cosma to direct himself, successfully, in France and abroad, concerts entirely devoted to his compositions.

Sometimes this familiar man hears strangers whistling tall blonde or hers Rabbi Jacob behind the wheel of a car or at a construction site … Hence a fulfilled man, who can also rejoice in the baptism of the two music schools that bear his name, in homage to the art of inexhaustible riches which he practices with the zeal and rigor of a craftsman: “ Film music is not a genre unto itself, but an outlet, an opportunity for self-expression. “Better say to myself” music composer instead of being a composer of film scores, he also composed several concertos, which were deeply moving Cantata 1209 in the Bag of Béziers, and two operas included Marius and Fanny, created in 2007 in Marseille, by a French-Romanian couple formed by Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorgiu: a nice tip of the hat to a Romanian composer who has become a poet of French cinema.

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More information

My Memoirs from Dreams to Reality, by Vladimir Cosma. plain. 514 pages. Color and black and white photos. 24.90€. October 2022

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