Yann Tiersen - "Tempelhof"
Yann Tiersen is a French musician and composer. His musical career is split between studio albums, collaborations and film soundtracks. His music involves a large variety of instruments; primarily the guitar, piano, synthesizer or violin together with instruments like the melodica, xylophone, toy piano, harpsichord, accordion and typewriter.
Tiersen is often mistaken for a composer of soundtracks, himself saying "I'm not a composer and I really don't have a classical background", but his real focus is on touring and studio albums which just happen to often be suitable for film. His most famous soundtrack for the film Amélie was primarily made up of tracks taken from his first three studio albums.
Tiersen's music is influenced by the classical training he received when he was a child and by the American and British punk subculture, and by the music he used to listen to as a teenager. His musical style is deceptively simple to recognize but difficult to catalogue. It varies greatly from one album to the next and with the passage of time. His melancholy music and compositional techniques combine elements of Classical and folk music with pop and rock. His delicate but deeply emotional style has been linked to Frédéric Chopin and the great masters of Romantic music, and to Erik Satie, the colourful figure of the early 20th century Parisian avant-garde whose work was a precursor to later artistic movements such as minimalism, repetitive music, and the Theatre of the Absurd. Tiersen is also compared to one of the most influential composers of the late 20th century, the American minimalism, classical–contemporary classical, and ambient music composer Philip Glass, and to British composer of minimalist music, pianist, librettist and musicologist, Michael Nyman, known for the many film scores he wrote during his lengthy career and in regard to him Tiersen is often called the Gallic Michael Nyman.
“I couldn’t play a brass instrument — I tried but I was really bad — I couldn’t play the flute, and the accordion was a keyboard so it was easy.”
Tiersen started playing piano and violin at a young age. In 1983, when he was thirteen years old, he broke his violin and bought an electric guitar. Tiersen only returned to his childhood instrument years later after searching for string sounds to sample. In his albums, Tiersen composes and arranges music incorporating several instruments including keyboards such as piano, electric piano, Fender Rhodes, organ, harpsichord, Bontempi and toypiano, Korg and Moog synthesizers, Mellotron, accordion and melodica, strings as violin, viola, violone and cello, different types of electric, acoustic and bass guitars, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, bouzouki and oud, brasses, like horns, and woodwind instruments such as saxophone, clarinet, bassoon, pipe, oboe and flute, percussions like drums, vibraphone, marimba, tubular bells, tom, cymbal, glockenspiel and tam-tam, and also the sounds produced by Leslie speaker, music box, carillons, typewriters, cooking vessels, chairs, a car or a bicycle wheel. Tiersen plays all of these instruments both in the studio and in concert.
So today, with the rain falling gently around my heart, I choose Yann Tiersen’s "Tempelhof" as my, grey like the color of the sky in her eyes, mist like damp cheeks lifting back into the air, small hearts growing under winter’s snow, song for a, there’s laughter if you listen, music above your head, one more drop back into the ocean, blue blue blue Thursday.