Sometimes you come across a surprising piece of music on the Internet. I don’t even remember what I was looking for, but I ended up on a Russian blog with downloads for collections of guitar music. Amongst others, three volumes Comme des Chansons by a certain Thierry Tisserand.
I had never heard of him, but a little music is always worth trying, so I viewed the sheet music on my screen and took the guitar on my lap. The first volume turned out not to be too difficult from a technical point of view, yet what a nice music! A bit in the spirit of Cees Hartog’s books of pop songs and Spanish tunes.
Thierry Tisserand, you can tell it by the name, is a French guitarist annex guitar teacher who has composed a large number of pieces for all kinds of guitar audiences, from beginners to intermediate players. If you search the Internet, you will hardly find any information about himself, but you will be inundated with YouTube videos of guitar enthusiasts playing his pieces.
Comme des Chansons, freely translated that is Like with Songs. The foreword to the book contains technical clues showing that the pieces are for educational purposes. However, the title is an encouragement, they are not etudes, but songs, music to keep you entertained. With a whole palette of styles and forms in the light muse genre. Roland Dyens’ short foreword to this book is certainly encouraging.
Comme des Chansons 1. Edition Henri Lemoine 27710 HL
The pieces are quite short, so I got a strong memory of Stepan Rak’s Minutova Sola. That was a fun project and you can find the recordings of these pieces elsewhere in this section.
After trying some pieces, I understood the enthusiasm of the Youtube players well and decided to get started myself. With my recording device on standby. The result is this series of recordings from the first book. A striking feat of all these pieces is a certain amount of melancholy. My guitar teacher called that typically French. Well, the land of Musette et Melancolie.
During the recordings, again it became clear that technical simplicity is no guarantee for a well-played piece. Also, with these pieces it took me time and repeated attempts to play the music in a presentable and enjoyable manner. Well, at a given moment you draw a line in the number of attempts, so all pieces are an optimum of this time. Once again, it became clear that recording puts an extra pressure, which mercilessly shows the passages that you have not yet mastered. As a consequence, my satisfaction that it recording did succeed is likewise.
The pieces in brief …
Petite Suite Folk is a folk song-like melody that forms a small suite in various arpeggio patterns. I added a da capo myself, because I liked to linger in the atmosphere for a while.
Anatole is a playful blues piece. I did have to get used to the two-eighth – triplet notation for the swing. A walking piece.
La Panthère bleue shows the characteristics of the Pink Panther version of Mancini. I try to play it stealthily like Inspector Clouseau running on the streets.
Le Limonaire, The Barrel Organ, is an étude-like piece in which you indeed recognize a small portable barrel organ.
Matin d’Hiver, Winter Morning, a somewhat gloomy-sounding piece that speaks of a longing for better weather and spring.
Blues du Lundi, Monday (morning) blues, a logical continuation of the Winter Morning. Who doesn’t recognize that feeling after the weekend?
Samara, a piece about a city on the Volga in the European part of Russia. You can already see the endless communist concrete blocks of flats in front of you when you listen to this piece. Youtube commentary on this piece was that the Slavic melancholy was very noticeable in the performance.
Simple Mambo brings a South American atmosphere with thoughtful cheerfulness. Nice piece.
Barcarolle already sounds a lot more classic. It has taken on the atmosphere of a romantic pop song. That suits a cruise through the canals of Venice, after all, Barcaroles traditionally were the songs of the gondoliers there.
Cabaret brings the atmosphere of a small stage and a cabaret performer with melancholic humor.
Chôro del gato, a folk song about a cat. The designation Chôro already suggests a Brazilian atmosphere, with a skinny street cat sneaking cautiously through the Favelas of Rio.
Jazz de coeur tries to connect Jazz and Blues. That works, a bluesy swing drives a jazzy melody.
Mandarine has a Bossa-Nova atmosphere. I found it very difficult to record it in the required relaxed way. As a consequence, during the guitar lesson I learned the subtle difference between staccato and portato in this piece. On the recording I forgot to silence the alarm clock in my guitar room. Please don’t mind, it is home recording.
Rumba-Houba is the last part of the collection. The melody with rhythm in the bass line, a simple accompaniment on top.