Inspired by Jules Massenet
‘s musical motif from the works Poème d'octobre
, the Hungarian-French composer Joseph Kosma
created a theme of his ballet Le Rendez-vous
(1945), written by the French poet and screenwriter Jacques Prévert
One year later, this work became a movie directed by Marcel Carné, a key figure in the cinema poetic realism, with Prévert’s screenplay. From the same theme of Le Rendez-vous, Kosma composed with the French poet’s lyrics one of his masterpieces: Les Feuilles Mortes. It appears in the end’s credits and some moments hummed by the protagonists, played by Yves Montand and Nathalie Nattier, but soon this song became more popular than Carné’s movie.
Yves Montand was the first to sing it but countless its performers: from Édith Piaf to Iggy Pop for the French version. Eric Clapton, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Eartha Kitt, Bob Dylan, and Barbara Streisand are a few singers who played the English version, Autumn Leaves.
One of the most famous Jazz standards, artists have proposed Les Feuilles Mortes numerous interpretations and sounds over the years.