giovedì 5 aprile 2018

SIMENON SIMENON. A CHARMING MUSIC TUNE

About the signature tune in the Rupert Davies series 

SIMENON SIMENON. UNA PICCOLA MUSICA AFFASCINANTE 
A proposito della sigla musicale nella serie con Rupert Davies 
SIMENON SIMENON. UNE CHARMANTE PETITE MUSIQUE 
A propos de la musique du générique de la série avec Rupert Davies 

In 1965, my parents sent me strictly to bed, when the Rupert Davies Maigret was coming up at 9.00 pm on Saturdays in the new German TV channel, ZDF, directly after the announcer had told us a ban for the next film concerning young people. I often have been wondering how a lovely and very sympathetic young woman like Victoria Voncampe could do that to me. I had to leave the TV room instantly. My father explained, the very first minutes of some of those crime shows would perhaps be the worst of the whole episode for me, because there an awful scene could be shown, such as a person being killed with a weapon or with the murderer's bare hands. In those cases I had to hurry out of the room, if not, I would have had to expect a punishment to follow sooner or later. 
But I stopped on my way directly behind the closed door and pricked up my ears for at least to listen what was coming up on TV. Sometimes I heard a desperate cry or loud voices of persons struggling, or the sound of a shot, that's right. But, after that, there would always follow that catching Maigret signature tune, played by the Ernst August Quelle orchestra. This tune can be interpreted to be rather bright and cheerful, whereas the original English tune by Ron Grainer, born in Australia, always started with very smashing, dark and serious rhythms, as I got to know years later. So, I think, the introductory scenes of the Rupert Davies Maigret films had almost always simply to have a smashing, dark and serious end which atmospherically and ingeniously would be caught up by the first times of the Grainer music. But the film beginnings do work very well with the Quelle music as well, I can assure you. Both Maigret themes, the English and the German one, were extraordinary popular in their own countries and both had to be published on shellac records, although, at least in Germany, it was very unusual in those times to bring out TV tunes to be bought in record shops. The Grainer Maigret music appeared even in the British charts, and, a few years later on, Quelle's Maigret theme was used in cinema publicity films of Gauloise cigarettes to provide a suitable musical background for the happy French life presented in those ads. 
I did not know anything of all of that during the first run of "Maigret" in Germany and in the years after that. Once, as a 13-year-old boy, I had to go shopping for special things in Osnabrück, the town next to the small village Lotte, where my parents' house was situated. By the way, I was born in Osnabrück as well. Thus I was searching for the specialities to buy in a big town supermarket, where there was playing a piped music in the backgrounds. That was radio music with some announcements in between. Suddenly I had to pause because of my recognising some very familiar music tunes, which caught me instantly, as always when I heard them. What was that? Yes, indeed it happened to be the Quelle Maigret theme! At first I couldn't believe my ears, overwhelmed by such a surprise, and I kept like being petrified until the end of that piece of music. Afterwards there was no announcer to comment the unexpected occurrence. So, after the shopping, I went straight to the next radio & record shop to ask the shop assistant what was going on. She didn't know, therefore I insisted on asking the shop manager, Mr. Friedemeyer, in person. "Yes, the Maigret theme will come out in the next future", he said. "You will have to wait a few weeks, and if you want me to provide it for you, I will gladly do it. I am a Maigret fan myself." I ordered the record at once and soon could play the Maigret theme (and the Maigret blues from the back side of the record) as often as I wished on the record player at home. 
I was really very happy, so happy, that I wrote a letter to Ernst August Quelle to tell him my gratitude (his address I had gotten from the ZDF in Mainz). Of course, I also asked him, when there would be the Maigret series on TV again. At that time, he didn't know. As a kind of consolation he sent me a piece of paper with the first notes of his Maigret theme written on it by himself. Now, after a long time, thank you again, Mr. Quelle! 
I don't know what is more catching in the opening scene of "Maigret": Rupert Davies striking a match on a rough wall to light his pipe in the dark, or the fabulous Parisian musette. The wall belonged to Place Pigalle in Paris, as I once read in a magazine. That's where they filmed authentic French outdoor scenes for the first episode of the Rupert Davies Maigret series as well: "Murder in Montmartre". 
The gif shows a water colour picture which I painted as a youngster. To make it more attractive and to fill it with some more life and Maigret atmosphere, I combined it for you with pipe smoke. I have never seen a colour photo of that scene, so I risked a try to paint it. 

Berthold Deutschmann 

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