The French Foreign Legion concert & Eric Demarsan
A rare encounter
The poet Paul Eluard once said: "Chance does not exist, there are only rendez-vous". It is thus to an encounterthat we invite you, that of a grand composer, Eric Demarsan, and the marching band French Foreign Legion, a regiment of 146 nationalities. The Legion is at the heart of numerous films, such as Denys De La Patelliere's cult film “Un Taxi pour Tobrouk”, marked by the powerful dialogue of Jaques Audiard, and the auras of the actors Charles Aznavour and Lino Ventura. Mixer of timbres, image man, Eric Demarsan is the author of more than a hundred film scores. We notably own him the original sound tracks of “L'armée des ombres” and “Le cercle rouge” by Jean Pierre-Melville and more recently of the series “Pigalle” by Hervé Hadmar and Marc Herpoux. From this unusual rendezvous is born, after hours of re-writes and rehearsals, a unique concert, where the expression of all the harmonic qualities of the Foreign Legion may be expressed. The Major Emile Lardeux conducts his musicians to the most emblematic compositions of Eric Demarsan’s career. It culminates with seven young students from the Aubagne Conservatoire who will come and interpret the song “L'oiseau” from the series “Sébastien parmi les hommes”. This unique, not-to-be-missed concert, highlights Aubagne as a city of the world.
The bow and the reedby Éric Demarsan
And to say that everything began as in a fable, with a bow, a reed and a stretched hide, a hollowed out tree trunk, that resonate... With a quiver, a breath and the oscillation of their wavelengths, this trio was already an orchestra without knowing it... for the bow gave birth to all string instruments, the reed to all wind instruments and stretched hide and wood to all percussion instruments. Music is the only universal "language". If it is understandable by everybody it is because its codes are the same the world over. It is that which is its force and its beauty and which creates links between men, who lack only the wisdom to taste each morning all the joys of the world. Igor Stravinski compared film music to wallpaper. He wanted to say that music must support the image and the story, without overriding... Undoubtably! But film music is also music that we can listen to, with or without its images. What is also great about it, is that we can adapt it to all forms of orchestra. The melodies and their counterpoints stay the same, only the instrumentation changes. That is the difference between a symphonic orchestra and a harmony... and we will have the proof with this concert given by la Musique de la Légion étrangère (Music of the French Foreign Legion). Battle is often in the air for Legionnaires... But when they blow into their instruments, it is to send troops of notes to your ears and enchant them with the sound of their flutes, which are filling with musical champagne.
Éric Demarsan "passeur d'expérience"
Eric Demarsan was awakened to music at the age of six, he learnt piano with his grandmother, who was both a painter and a musician, but his artistic vocation was "revealed" to him by the glissando of a bar pianist at the age of twelve, "Imposed" commercial studies yielding little fruits, she studied harmony, counterpoint, fugue and orchestration, notably with Julien Falk. After spending thirty months in the army, Eric Demarsan goes up to Montmartre where he plays piano until dawn in the bars and cabarets of the Place du Tertre. He accompanies on the piano artists and singers who perform and finds himself in the company of Bernard Dimey (with whom he composes several songs, some of which for Jean-Claude Pascal), Marian Kouzan, Henri Salvador and above all Michel Mange, whose assistant he becomes at Château d'Hérouville from 1965 to 1967. During this period he learns, alongside him, numerous orchestration techniques as well as the tricks that make an orchestra "sounds". He works as an orchestrator on several Michel Magne films, such as the series of “Angélique marquise des anges”, “Fantomas”, “Mélodie en sous-sol”, “OSS 117 à Bangkok” and many others.... along with the music of certain films by François de Roubaix that he orchestrates, arranges and directs, notably “Le samouraï" by Jean-Pierre Melville. He subsequently composes the music for the series “Sébastien parmi les hommes" along with the original soundtracks of a hundred or so films, the first of which are “L'armée des ombres" and the "Cercle rouge" by Jean-Pierre Melville, followed afterwards by “Section spéciale” by Costa Gravas, “5% de risque” by Jean Pourtalé, “Les spécialistes” by Patrice Leconte, “Roberte ce soir” by Pierre Zucca, and six films by Jean-Pierre Mocky amongst which is “L’Ibis rouge”. In the year 2000, he becomes the favorite composer of Guillaume Nicloux, for whom he composes the music of “Une affaire privée”, “Cette femme là” and “Le concile de Pierre” before establishing a new collaboration with Hervé Hadmar on three T.V. series, “Les oubliées”, “Pigalle, la nuit”, and lastly, “Signature”. Melody maker, arranger, composer, sound marrier, tone mixer, image man, Eric Demarsan loves this craft which allows a composer to write musical scenarios in parallel to stories and images. "Sometimes it happens, that we find the right theme in the title of the film". Which is precisely what happened with the beautiful film by Edouard Luntz: “L'humeur vagabonde”. In his collaborations, he tries to build an osmosis with the director. He particularly likes it when the stage director tells him his film as this allows him to journey in his mind, as if he was the characters. "Think music and image simultaneously, as in a song, when the text and the music are the fruits of the same inspiration, so that they become inseparable in the public memory. For each film, each director, it is a different and passionate adventure every time, allowing one to dive into the universe of another."
Hailing from the région of Maine and Loire, The Major Emile Lardeux, Director of Military Music, obtained his diploma from the Angers Conservatory of Music, André Isoir organ class. He completed his national service requirements in the 3rd Military Region Band in Rennes and enlisted in 1980. In 1986 he obtained his qualifications as Assistant Director of Military Music. Following these beginnings, in 1988 he completed with sucess his requirements as Director of Military Music. In 1989 he was promoted 1st lieutement followed by capitain in 1994. The Major Lardeux is decorated with the Silver National Defense Medal (Artillery). On the first of June 2008 he was confided the direction of the Foreign Legion Band.
Major Emile Lardeux, conductor, wanted to join this project for several reasons. It first offers to more than sixty musicians of the Foreign Legion the opportunity to work with a great composer of film music, a man of great generosity with whom it is a real pleasure to work, Mr. Eric Demarsan. In addition, this project is a challenge since it takes place in a field in which we don’t necessarily expect the French Foreign Legion marching band : film music. Finally, it enables the discovery of a world of music with orchestrations tailor-made for an harmonic orchestra, proving the value of the phalanx, not confined in the military music repertoire.
The French Foreign Legion music
The French Foreign Legion marching band is known for his participation in major military events. His passage through the Champs Elysees on July 14, opening parade of the Foreign Legion, is probably the most famous recollection for the public. The music of French Foreign Legion is also in great demand, in France and abroad, for many international military music festivals. The Legion also performs frequently for civilian events. As such, it can be regarded as the ambassador of the Foreign Legion and the French army. The variety of his repertoire and the talent of its musicians allow a wide spectrum of registry, from classical to modern. The Music counts a total of 65 members: 1 officer, 12 non-commission officers and 52 military from the ranks. The battery consists of 18 musicians, gathering drums, snare drums, cymbals, bass drum, bugles and trumpets of cavalry, and finally the fifes. The harmony consists of 32 musicians including clarinets, saxophones, trumpets and horns, trombones, bass, baritones and sousaphones. In complete formation, the French Foreign Legion marching band can either perform as classical orchestra or jazz orchestra. It is also possible for the Legion to perform in smaller ensembles with a quintet and an octet of copper.