Summer is leaving: Autumn Leaves

Chanson d’Automne‘ composed by Giovanni Bertuccio on a poem by Paul Verlaine. Published by G. Mignani & Figlio (Firenze, s.d.)

Yesterday was that dreadful date, September 21st, the start of the autumn season. For the occasion let’s listen to Charles Trenet’s jazzy version of Paul Verlaine’s famous Chanson d’automne (Autumn Song). In 1944, three years after Charles Trenet’s song was first recorded, the Allies used the first lines of Verlaine’s poem to warn the French Resistance that D-Day was imminent.

Les sanglots longs
Des violons
De l’automne
Blessent (bercent) mon cœur
D’une langueur
Monotone.
Tout suffocant
Et blême, quand
Sonne l’heure,
Je me souviens
Des jours anciens
Et je pleure;
Et je m’en vais
Au vent mauvais
Qui m’emporte
Deçà, delà,
Pareil à la
Feuille morte.

What a perfect start to dig into our collection and unearth a few appropriate sheet music covers to illustrate the melancholic and languorous season.

Valse Septembre‘ by Felix Godin. Publisher: Hawkes & Son (London, 1909). Unknown illustrator.
Septemberrosor‘ by Jules Sylvain and Sverker Ahde. Published by Edition Sylvain (Stockholm, 1931). Illustration by Gelotte.
September Song‘ by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson, published by Chappell (Paris, 1938) and illustrated by Raymond Erny.
Herbstgedanken‘ by Ludwig Siede, publ. by Anton J. Benjamin (Hamburg, 1919) and illustrated by Paul Telemann.
Herbst, Du kamst ins Land‘ by Béla Zerkovitz & Gustav Beer. Publisher: Roszavölgyi & Co (Budapest, 1910). Unknown illustrator.
Entschwundenes Glück – Zwiegespräch‘ by Max Formanowski. Published by Seelig & Co. (Stockholm, 1919). Uknown illustrator.
Mélopée d’Automne’ by Casimir Renard & Sélénio. Publisher: Rouart, Lerolle & Cie (Paris, s.d.). Illustrator: Clérice frères.
Dernière Serenata‘ by Enrico Toselli, published by Delrieu Frères (Nice, 1929). Illustr.: G. Mossa

The ultimate september song though was written (1946) by Jacques Prévert and it’s music composed by Joseph Kosma. The title was inspired by the last words of Verlaine’s poem: Les feuilles mortes. Originally, the tune was created for a ballet but later ‘remastered’ for the film of Marcel Carné Les Portes de la nuit.

Sung by many artists, the song became really notorious the moment that Yves Montand recorded it. We also know it as the worldwide jazz standard Autumn Leaves.

Les feuilles mortes‘ by Joseph Kosma & Jacques Prévert. Published by Altona Muziekuitgeverij (Amsterdam, 1947), unknown illustrator.

To close our post we selected a slightly more poppy version of the bewitching song that so bizarrely marries desolation and yearning. Bye-bye summer.

One thought on “Summer is leaving: Autumn Leaves”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.