Oct 22, 2009

Autumn Leaves (Learning by Singing)

Autumn Leaves is one of the most beautiful popular songs I’ve ever heard. Originally, it’s a 1945 French song titled "Les feuilles mortes (The Dead Leaves)".

The music was composed by Joseph Kosma, a Hungarian-French composer. The French lyrics was written by poet Jacques Prévert.

Following is an English Translation for the French Lyrics.

Les feuilles mortes 
(The Dead Leaves)
French Lyrics: Jacques Prévert
Oh, how I wish that you would remember
The happy days when we were loving friends!
At that time life was more beautiful,
And the sun more brilliant than today.

The dead leaves are gathered in a shovel.
You see, I haven’t forgotten!
The dead leaves are gathered in a shovel,
Memories and regrets as well.

And the wind from the north carries them off
In the cold night of oblivion1.
You see, I haven’t forgotten,
The song you sang to me.
This is a song that resembles2 us.

You who loved me, I who loved you,
And we lived, the two of us, together.
You who loved me, I who loved you,
But life separates those who love each other
Very gently, without making noise.
And the sea erases on the sand
The footsteps of separated lovers.
1 oblivion/əˋblɪvɪən/
►when something is completely forgotten or no longer important
-- And by the end of the war, the issue had fallen into oblivion.

►the state of being unconscious or of not noticing what is happening:
-- He longed for the oblivion of sleep.
-- He had drunk himself into oblivion.

2 resemble/rɪˋzɛmbl/[transitive not in progressive or passive]
►to look like or be similar to someone or something
-- It's amazing how closely Brian and Steve resemble each other.
-- He grew up to resemble his father.

* reassemble/riəˋsɛmbl/[easy to confuse with “resemble”]
►[transitive] to bring together the different parts of something to make a whole again, after they have been separated
--The equipment had to be dismantled and reassembled at each new location.

►[intransitive] if a group of people reassemble, they meet together again after a period apart
--Parliament reassembled after a seven-week break.

Let's listen to the French version sung by Juliette Gréco.

The following French-English hybrid version was sung by the blind Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and his fiancee Veronica Berti.

The English lyrics was written by American songwriter Johnny Mercer in 1947.

Autumn leaves
Lyrics: Johnny Mercer
The falling leaves drift by the window,
The autumn leaves of red and gold.
I see your lips, the summer kisses,
The sunburned hand I used to hold.

Since you went away the days grow long.
And soon I'll hear old winter's song.
But I miss you most of all, my darling,
When autumn leaves start to fall.

Let's listen to Frank Sinatra.

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