L'Integrale (15Cd) Box set, Limited Edition
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Réédition en digipack de l'album original J'arrive avec ses 9 titres paru en 1969, ce disque reprend les chansons que Brel a écrites alors qu'il a arrêté le tour de chant et qu'il a monté L'Homme de la Manche. Il se passionne également pour le cinéma pour lequel il vient d'endosser le rôle de compositeur ("La Bande à Bonnot") et va devenir acteur mais aussi réalisateur. De cet album après un an sans chanson, il reste "Vesoul", chanson terrible et magnifique à la fois (avec Marcel Azzola à l'accordéon), "Un enfant" que Petula Clark avait chanté sur scène dès son Olympia 1965, "Je suis un soir d'été" et "La Bière", ces quatre titres constituant le dernier super-45 tours de Brel, le seul qui ait été extrait de ce 30 cm. Les cinq autres morceaux du disque sont la reprise du standard "J'arrive", mais aussi "L'Éclusier", "L'Ostendaise", "Regarde bien petit" et surtout "Comment tuer l'amant de sa femme quand on a été élevé comme moi dans la tradition". Si les titres sont plus souvent cosignés par Gérard Jouannest que par François Rauber, c'est cependant ce dernier qui est au pupitre de l'orchestre. --A.B. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
This album covers some of the highlights of Brel's music. Songs like Les bergers, Une ile and Vesoul are more seldom heard, but imaginative and magical, like his best songs are. Also included there are several songs from his last album, like Vieillir, Jojo and Orly, which sounds remarkably like an entire play, where Brel is the narrator and the audience, feeling everything that goes on between an unknown couple in Orly - with the most beautiful music around him, sometimes like a whisper, sometimes like thunder. His voice had more soul and humanity than any other singer's.
What is missing is some of his earlier recordings from the 50's. Songs like Seul, La mort and La tendresse would have given an even better insight to his themes - loneliness, mortality and love, of which he (supposedly) said: "I'd rather not use the word. Maybe tenderness is a better one." I don't remember the actual quote, but the meaning was: people use 'love' in all the wrong ways, making it mean things, that have nothing to do with love. They can say: "I know this hurts, but I'm doing it because I love you." "I want to own you because I love you." But try using "...Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
To improve your knowledge of French, you may also want to purchase a book with all of Brel's French lyrics as well. I recommend the book "Jacques Brel, Oeuvre Integrale" published by Robert Laffont S.A. in 1982 (ISBN 2-221-01068-X or -8). More readily available from Amazon.com is the collection of Brel lyrics in the book "Tout Brel" (ISBN: 2264033711).
Best Songs on Disc 1:
"Amsterdam" is one of Brel's most famous songs. It's about the sailors who disembark in this Dutch port and how they deal with the vicissitudes of their lonely lives and the dreams that haunt them once they reach the shore.
"La Fanette" is Brel's poignant song of teenage love found and love lost one July on the beaches of the Belgian coast. Brel acknowledges she was beautiful, and he was not, but he sang up a storm for her to prove his love and she loved him back. Then he laments how he could ever have been crazy enough to believe all the things he thought they'd share together, and laments that he believed that much in himself, as he describes how he found out the hard way their relationship was over.
"Ne Me Quitte Pas" is Brel's most famous torch song, in which he uses exquisite imagery to press his suit with a girl who has already left him, descending in the end into abject desperation as he struggles to maintain a link, any link at all, with the object of his love. Frank Sinatra was moved to sing an English version of this song ("If you leave me"), which unfortunately doesn't do justice to the stunning poetry of the French original. This is my favorite song of the entire Jacques Brel repertoire because of the power and the haunting beauty of the poetry, Brel's impassioned voice and the evocative music!
"Quand On N'a Que L'amour" (When We Have Only Love) is Brel's quintessential theme song (circa 1960) for idealistic young lovers who believe that love conquers all, in stark contrast to Brel's later more jaded songs, ranging from "Le Prochain Amour" (on the 2-CD collection Infiniment) in 1961 to "La Chanson des Vieux Amants" (Song of the Old Lovers, Track 15, Disc 2) in 1967. "Quand On N'a Que L'amour" strikes a similar tone of optimism as another Brel song, "Au Printemps", which is not included in this collection.
Best Songs on Disc 2:
"Le Plat Pays" (The Flat Country) is Brel's nostalgic homage to his home country of Belgium, sung with great affection in French and in Flemish, the two national languages of Belgium. Although he grew up in Belgium, he spent nearly his entire musical career in Paris, France.
"Les Vieux" (The Old People) evokes a ticking clock as a metaphor for the passage of time. It paints a painfully honest portrait of life in the twilight years, set to the beat of a grandfather clock, a triangle and a small orchestra.
"Marieke" is a nostalgic song about a first love that played out on the beaches of Belgium one summer in his teen years. It alternates charmingly between Flemish and French, the two national languages of Belgium.
"La Chanson des Vieux Amants" (Song of the Old Lovers) is a wonderful nostalgic look back at a romance of 20 years: all the storms the couple has endured, and "the sweet tender marvelous love" that continues today even as their "tender war" persists. To me, Brel's passionate singing and the wonderful piano and orchestral accompaniment evoke all the romance and nostalgia of a World War II era Casablanca, making this one of Brel's greatest classic songs.
Other highly recommended Jacques Brel CDs you can find on Amazon.com include:
Title (ASIN#) No. of Songs
Infiniment (B0002PUHGU) 40 songs with great English translations
Quand On N'a Que L'amour (B00000IYC9) 49 songs
Vol. 1-Special Edition (ASIN: B000042OFF) 16 songs
Les Flamandes (B000006UOA) 21 songs
Les Bonbons (B0000AKOLD) 14 songs
Ballades Et Mots D'amour (B00003Q56T) 30 songs
Master Series: Jacques Brel (B0000046O5) 16 songs
Volume 1 - Grand Jacques (B00000DXQY) 15 songs with "Sur La Place"
Grand Jacques Integrale 172 Titres (B000025BD8) 172 songs (10-CD set)
What's even more fabulous than the CDs, however, is the 3 volume DVD set released in 2003: Jacques Brel: Comme quand on etait beau. (ASIN: B0000AQJPR). The set includes 7.5 hours of live and staged performances as well as interviews and home video footage. Everything that the heart of a Jacques Brel fan desires to capture the essence of this very theatrical artist in a way that an audio-only recording can not.
Also of great interest: the VHS video "Jacques Brel" (ASIN: B0001P1XG4), a video biography on the life and music of Jacques Brel. Full length documentary features extensive live footage and interviews with Brel himself as well as his daughter and associates. It is also available on DVD, but only from Films Media Group.
'Fils de' - this is the only record I've found that includes this lovely, powerful plea for equality and protection of life, Brel at his most loving and sincere, leaving cynicism completely. And how the music builds up behind his voice and carries him... Who doesn't want to sing with this orchestra?
'Comment tuer l'amant de sa femme?' The eternal question handled like only Brel can. A true philosopher notices a much better solution, of course. Hilarious in the same way Monty Python's songs. This one is also hard to find from other records. If you don't know French already, get somebody translate this! It's worth it!
'Vesoul' is a tongue-twister and hilarious, too, and the arrangement is absolutely breath-taking! This one can be found on other records, too, but the last songs in his native language are rarities. Fun to listen, and as impossible to sing along as 'Vesoul' - you just need to be native to get your tongue working like this.