Brian performs in Paris - 19.09.2008


Brian to perform Ballade of Melody Nelson in Paris

The extensive history of Serge Gainsbourg and Jean-Claude Vannier gave birth to compositions and arrangements that have since reached cult status, transcending over time and generations.

Born from this collaboration, Melody Nelson (1971) is one of the first "concept albums" in France: this disc does not merely juxtapose tracks, but tells an actual story, that of an adolescent – Melody – whom the narrator hits with his car. From this accident is born a romance, which ends with the death of the protagonist.

The album, which hardly garnered success at the time of its release, is today considered one of Gainsbourg's best. The album likewise owes much to the arranging and composing talent of Jean-Claude Vannier - an interesting fate for an artist who learned the basics of orchestration by reading a Que sais-je? He has since moved onto a series of prestigious collaborations, including with Dalida, Michel Polnareff, Julien Clerc, Martial Solal, Astor Piazolla and Barbara.

Following Melody Nelson, in 1972, Jean-Claude Vannier composed another project, for which Gainsbourg produced a narrative framework: L'Enfant assassin des mouches. This short, cruel tale, where the child fly-killer ends up stuck to a strip of "child-paper", is a small masterpiece of its genre, but was unsuccessful at its release and rediscovered only recently.

The production of these two works on the stage of the Barbican Centre in London in 2006 became a considerable success. Today, Jean-Claude Vannier repeats this experience, surrounded by prestigious guest artists, which will include Brian performing The Ballade of Melody Nelson with a guest vocal appearance from Martina Topley Bird.


Histoire de Melody Nelson (The Story of Melody Nelson)
Wednesday, October 22, 8pm
Thursday, October 23, 8pm

Venue: Cite de la Musique, 221 avenue Jean-Jaures 75019, Paris

Part One

L'Enfant assassin des mouches (The Child Fly-Killer)
Music and arrangements by Jean-Claude Vannier
Story by Serge Gainsbourg

Part Two

Histoire de Melody Nelson (The Story of Melody Nelson)
Music by Serge Gainsbourg and Jean-Claude Vannier
Words by Serge Gainsbourg
Arrangements by Jean-Claude Vannier

Jean-Claude Vannier, conductor
Orchestre des concerts Lamoureux
Le Jeune Chœur de Paris
Quatuor à cordes d'enfants
Claude Engel, guitar
Thomas Coeuriot, guitar
Graham Clark, electric violin
Gérard Bikialo, piano
Herbie Flowers, bass
Pierre-Alain Dahan, drums
Michel Musseau, sound-effects

Guest artists:
Mathieu Amalric
Alain Chamfort
Daniel Darc
Brigitte Fontaine
Clotilde Hesme
Brian Molko
Seaming To
Martina Topley Bird

Price of ticket: €39
Reservations: 01 44 84 44 84 or www.cite-musique.fr