Vincent Courtois Quintet – Finis Terrae (Releasedate: 14.04.2023)
Vincent Courtois – “Finis Terrae”
Inspired and created for one of Jean Epstein’s greatest productions, Vincent Courtois signs an original score and shares his musical interpretation of one of the most iconic silent film in cinema history. Vincent and his ensemble, composed of Robin Fincker, Sophie Bernado, Janick Martin, and François Merville, take us to the edge of the world with untamed and wild music.
Composed for the creation of a film concert in 2021, this score, of undeniable autonomy, feeds our imagination and transports us to the tumultuous coast of Brittany.
The authentic performance of these talented artists on cello, clarinet, tenor saxophone, bassoon, accordion, and drums enhances and strengthens all the sensations conveyed by this beautiful artistic piece which embodies the word “freedom”.
“Since the film concert “In the Night (fr. Dans la nuit)“ directed by Charles Vanel with Louis Sclavis in 2002, my desire to write an original score for a new orchestra never left me. It was in Jean Epstein’s films, and more particularly in his “Breton era”, that I finally found the impulse of the image to trigger the composition. In collaboration with GP archives (Gaumont-Pathé archives) and Stéphane Moquet, director of the Théâtre et Cinéma de Rosny-sous-Bois, I chose to work on the stunning Finis Terrae, shot in natural light on the island of Ouessant in 1929, in which Jean Epstein, more than ever before, seeks the fantastic within the real.” Vincent Courtois
« Strongly evocative, Vincent Courtois’ music has always nurtured a special relationship with pictures and images, whether imagined or fantasized. After showing us his intimate cinematography on the album Bandes Originales, he decided to go one step further by composing his first score for a silent film, and not the least, Finis Terrae (1929), a manifesto from Jean Epstein’s “Breton era”. To express the poetic, fantastic, and marvelous ambiance of this majestic poem about sea and nature, the cellist has invented an atypical instrumentation, in which the low and medium frequencies of the cello, bassoon and tenor saxophone merge with the ‘traditional’ sounds of the accordion, punctuated by a subtle drum line. Soon freed from the images that gave birth to it, the music now sails by and for itself, inviting each listener to project his or her own inner film journey onto it.” Pascal Rozat
Finis Terrae is emblematic of the period when Jean Epstein, a gifted young filmmaker of the 1930s avant-garde, chose to leave the comfortable studios in Paris. He left to film the Brittany islands and initiated a major style, between poetry and documentary. The story is about four fishermen who harvest seaweed on the beaches or at low tide and use it as fertiliser. One of them gets injured. The raging sea holds them back on the islet of Bannec while their families and friends, who stayed on the coast, worry about them. Finis Terrae is a unique testimony of the daily life of these men and women with deeply scarred faces confronted with the power of nature. Vincent Courtois and his ensemble sublimate the rhythm of the montage and the emotion of the shots with slow-motion waves that have gone down in the history of the cinema.
Based on Jean Epstein’s emblematic film, the cine-concert Finis Terrae offers the audience a genuine experience between raw poetry and documentary. 4 performances have already taken place between Paris (La Dynamo Banlieues Bleues), Lyon (Opera de Lyon Undeground), Nevers (Nevers Jazz Festival), and Austria (Jazzfestival Saalfelden). 6 shows are already scheduled this year, at the Théâtre de Nîmes, in the Pyrenees during the Festival d’Anères, and during a tour crossing Paris and Brittany.
Co-production Théâtre et cinéma de Rosny-sous-Bois, la Grande Boutique de Langonnet and La Compagnie de l’Imprévu, in collaboration with GP archives.
« Vincent Courtois classical training endowed him with technique, precision, and instrumental control. His curiosity and eclecticism led him to play with brillant musicians from different backgrounds: Rita Mitsouko, Christian Escoudé, Michel Petrucciani, Michel Portal, to name a few. With Sylvie Courvoisier, Dominique Pifarely, Joëlle Léandre and Joachim Kühn, Courtois returns to his instruments’s classical aspect. His collaboration with Louis Sclavis, with whom he shares a cinematic approach of music, endows him with a fine sens of melody. Strengthened by his many experiences and influences, Vincent Courtois has developed a unique musical exploration. His creative process builds on musical relationships, the balance of personalities and energies, the impact of contrast, ideas of sound, images, incertitude and silence. Creating a musical form where freedom is paradoxically managed with utmost rigor and attentiveness, he gives collective creation a hand and each collaborator a unique position in a spirit of trust and mutual involvement.” La Compagnie de l’Imprévu
Recently, Vincent Courtois composed and orchestrated the soundtrack of the film Ernest and Celestine, a Trip to Gibberitia by Julien Chheng and Jean-Christophe Roger. Released in French theaters on December 14, 2022, the film world premiered at the Annecy International Film Festival last year and competes for the 2023 César for Best Animated Film.
Vincent Courtois will soon be leading the 4th edition of Les Ateliers du Violoncelle alongside its co-founder partners: Noémie Boutin and Éric-Maria Couturier. Guided by curiosity and offering concerts, masterclasses, workshops, and panel discussions, Les Ateliers du Violoncelle provides a space for young cellists to meet and interact with each other, both musically and artistically, in the best environment to seek creation.
Vincent Courtois – cello
Robin Fincker – clarinet and tenor saxophone
Sophie Bernado – bassoon
Janick Martin – accordion
François Merville – drums
Original music composed by Vincent Courtois
Recorded and mixed by Gérard de Haro, assisted by Matteo Fontaine at La Buissonne
Mastered by Nicolas Baillard at La Buissonne
Produced by Gérard de Haro & RJAL for La Buissonne and La Compagnie de l’imprévu
Artwork and photo by Loïc Vincent
Music published by Les éditions du 22 décembre – 22D Music Group