This Wednesday, the Eldorado theater in Dijon (France) had the privilege to present music composer Vladimir Cosma
, for an event evening dedicated to his career. A talented violinist himself, long-time collaborator with filmmakers Yves Robert, Claude Zidi or Gérard Oury, Cosma has signed the soundtracks from many timeless classics, from The Party
to The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe
, Knock on Wood
or The Dinner Game
Organized by Philippe Gonin, Senior lecturer in musicology, the evening begins with a short concert. Indeed, four musicology students, Katie, Anne-Elisabeth, Elodie and Adèle, made their instruments speak in order to replay some cult pieces from Vladimir Cosma's career. The composer then returned to the room to the applause of the audience.
The latter was then lent to an exchange hosted by Séverine Abhervé, Doctor of Cinema. Tvore has detached for you the synthesis and analysis below.
1) Arranger for Michel Legrand
Upon his arrival in France, Vladimir Cosma began as an arranger in the service of the renowned professional and composer Michel Legrand, who lacked the time to do all the work that was entrusted to him. The young Vladimir Cosma will thus work as a good second for 5 years, accumulating a varied experience with a man he loved very much. A positive experience that he advises all young people entering the profession: learning alongside someone from the community brings knowledge that cannot be learned on the school bench.
2) Beginning of solo career
One day, Michel Legrand received a call from Yves Robert who offered him to work on his next film, but he refused because he was about to leave for several months to work in the United States. Desperate, Yves Robert asked him if his "little young man" would not be available, but Michel Legrand replied that no, he was going with him to the United States. Vladimir Cosma is saddened by this missed opportunity and insists on joining Michel Legrand, promising him that he will join him in the United States as soon as the project is finished "I would love to make this film". Finally, his mentor answers the phone, calls Yves Robert and says, "I'll give you a gift." Thus Vladimir Cosma obtained his first soundtrack signed for the film Very Happy Alexander
3) Finding your way
Vladimir Cosma did have his style, but it had been put at the service of Michel Legrand and could thus be assimilated to him. In fact, how do you find your way? How can we ensure that the public would never say "he does Michel Legrand?” The young composer's idea was to propose musical themes revolving around a solo instrument. A strong instrument, which stands out from the crowd, producing a melody that remains in memory. He imported the pan flute from his native country to compose the main theme of the film The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe. But here it is, originally, he was asked for a toupee of the James Bond theme and he was then particularly out of the scope of the request. When the film was shown in camera to the bigwigs around the film, the atmosphere was gloomy, and scriptwriter Francis Veber felt that the problem came precisely from this pan flute. Shot down, Vladimir Cosma did not sleep at night. The next day, the director Yves Robert called him to discuss the famous theme and asked Vladimir Cosma what he thought of it. The composer didn't deny it "If you want me to make you a James Bond toupee, I will, but according to me it's with the pan flute that the film works". After reflection, Yves Robert took the side of his composer and left the tape unchanged. When it was released, the film was a huge success and its music marked the history of soundtracks. Obviously, this did not affect the agreement between Vladimir Cosma and Francis Veber either, since they would collaborate again on other films later.
4) Music in freewheel mode
For Vladimir Cosma, it is obvious that music can have a life beyond the film for which it was composed. Some films may be forgotten as their soundtracks survive. They then acquire a life of their own.
5) Giving depth
Vladimir Cosma has always refused to be seen as a humorous film composer. He hates the term "comedy music" and has never sought to create this kind of music. Whatever scene he had to accompany musically, even if it was a funny scene, the composer systematically sought to develop depth. No crazy, no burlesque, always with feelings.
Despite everything, prejudice is hard to overcome. Vladimir Cosma remembers being mediated as making "Prisunic music". Despised, never serious enough.
Fortunately, time transcends stereotypes and its work is now recognized worldwide. Played in concerts, his music has conquered new generations, confirming Vladimir Cosma's status as a master of the genre.
Our next news on music will be focused on Paul Misraki