Fais Que Ton RÍve Soit Plus Long Que La Nuit

a look at the music of Vangelis Papathanassiou

Introduction
In 1972 Vangelis created one of the most curious albums in his oeuvre, Fais que ton rÍve soit plus long que la nuit (literally 'have your dream last longer than the night'). The sleeve of the first issued LP also mentions 'PoŤme symphonique', literally 'Symphonic poem'.
Being just freed from his ties with Aphrodite's Child, Vangelis seems eager to prove his artistic value and sets out to compose a work about what must have been a personal experience when he arrived with Aphrodite's Child in Paris in 1968.

The 1968 Paris student riots
In 1968 France had been strongly ruled by general Charles de Gaulle for over 10 years. Around March 22nd student leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit started with demonstrations against the American intervention in Vietnam war. After the demonstration some students where arrested by the police. This was the start of many new and some very heavy demonstrations and riots.

On May 3rd the Sorbonne university is cleared by the police. From that moment on there where demonstrations and riots nearly every evening in Paris and other cities all over France. On Friday May 10th after a day of demonstrations about 10.000 students spontaneously started setting up barricades in the Quartier Latin. Most of the barricades

The next day the whole world saw on television the devastation that was left behind. Burnt out cars, the remnants of the barricades, paving stones, broken glass and tear gas canisters scattered across the ground. The trade unions called for a day of general strike and massive demonstration for Monday 13 May. Over a million people marched through Paris that day, and after that strikes were all over France. People demanded the resignation of the government in general, and president Charles de Gaulle in particular. Big demonstrations were now daily and strikes committees were more and more taking over the power.  An explosion of graffiti, songs, posters and comic strips was all over Paris.

After threats of president De Gaulle to call for a state of emergency and to have the army involved, the national union of students in the end calls off all street activity to avoid further clashes. Although De Gaulle is elected again as president of France in April 1969 he retires soon after. The Paris riots in May 1968 mark the start of a new time of social reforms in France.

Tracklist
The album sleeve only specifies both sides, A and B, no tracklist is included. The music also consists of just the two parts, one on each side, no separate tracks.

Face A: Fais que ton rÍve soit plus long que la nuit -15'32

Face B: Fais que ton rÍve soit plus long que la nuit -15'25

 

Credits

Credits on the LP.

 

Discography

CD
2008 "Paris May 1968"

LP
1972 Reprise 54009 France (gatefold, black cover)
1975 Philips 9112 003 Greece (black cover)
1979 Reprise 54009 France (yellow/pink or yellow/red cover)

Single
1972 Reprise 14226 Fais que ton rÍve soit plus long que la nuit


Recording studio
The music of Fais que ton rÍve soit plus long que la nuit was recorded at Europa Sonor Studio in Paris, France.

 

Lyrics
For all the lyrics of this album, go to : Fais que ton reve soit plus long que la nuit lyrics

 

Review
The title of this short album "Fais Que Ton RÍve Soit Plus Long Que La Nuit" translates as "make your dream last longer than the night". It is sub-titled "PoŤme Symphonique" which in turn refers to a genre of composition created by Franz Liszt in his mid 19th-century Weimar years, also taken up by Dvorak late in life and as a music form perfected by Richard Strauss before switching to opera. Unlike earlier genres, it had no fixed form or duration and was basically a vehicle for expressing some extra-musical idea or event, usually from the world of heroic literature, without using actual texts as in opera.
All this by and large applies to this example by Vangelis, where the "extra-musical events" are provided by the 1968 Paris student uprisings against the establishment. Of course, he and the rest of Aphrodite's Child were actually in Paris at the time, recording their first album. Even more to the point, they'd just fled from a more desperate situation in Greece, where the establishment was formed by a dictatorship. It's anybody's guess to what extent, if any, the young Greeks took part in those Paris events but it's probably safe to say they got involved emotionally and completely sympathised with the anti-establishment movement.
Some years later, Vangelis evidently set out to capture some of the excitement and passion generated by those involved, in a whirlwind collage of sound-effects, chansons, instrumental passages, choirs, heated discussions, radio-bulletins and more. At the same time, it also sounds like a remembrance of days gone by, a sort of documentary telling "this is how we remember things", the "we" being a 22-member list containing what I suspect to be just friends of Vangelis, not trained musically or anything (the only well-known name is violinist Michel Ripoche). This would be very fitting, because the whole album breathes an atmosphere of "innocent working-class folk" feeling caught up in and rebelling against the powerful and somewhat sinister system of society. This last aspect comes out most in the first half of the album, the second has more of the sweet taste of victory afterwards. Each has, as a sort of motto, its own little impromptu poem, written on some Paris buildings at the time: the first about seeking victory ("l'espoir de la victoire", sung at the end of Part I), the second about the freedom afterwards to basically do what you like ("le rÍve est rťalitť", sung at the start of Part II).
Part I then, lasts approximately 15 minutes and starts off with a mayhem atmosphere of shots being fired, sirens and shouting, during which two short choruses are heard, naive "la la la" folk-tunes. It continues with a female voice plus violin singing another wordless melody. All this is accompanied by Vangelis on the piano, but suddenly his organ and percussion come in, which set a sinister, slightly Mediterranean mood, sometimes broken by a snippet of folk-chorus or heated street discussion. The female vocalist and chorus return, singing the poem and ending with the same chorus heard at the very start.
 

Part II also lasts some 15 minutes and starts off with a few seconds from the 1968 Aphrodite's Child hit "Rain and Tears", then the second poem is sung by all. Like in Part I, it continues with a nice wordless chanson by the female vocalist, again with the violin. Another snippet of a street discussion before a very melancholic and achingly beautiful interlude by Vangelis on the organ, followed by more sound-effects and happy choruses. Here the shots fired sound more like victory shots by the happy crowd, sometimes saluted by a solitary and slightly shaky trumpet. A short radio-bulletin reminding us of the fighting that took place introduces the encore, a rather nostalgic-sounding conversation between Vangelis' descending piano figure and the chorus.
This project shows Vangelis in collage-mood again - it was recorded at Europa Sonor Studio, where presumably that other collage, "All The Seats Were Occupied" from final Aphrodite's Child album "666", was also created. There isn't much recognisable Vangelis music in it - some choruses sound like traditional material arranged by Vangelis, who adds a bit of organ and piano here and there and probably wrote "l'espoir de la victoire". The chorus that starts and ends Part I reappeared some years later as "Athenes Ma Ville" on Melina Mercouri's 1974 album "Si Melina m'Etait Contťe" and was covered by Milva in 1980 ("Christine" in the German version, "Gavroche De l'An 2000" in French). But it's certainly quite unique in his oeuvre, as one of very few instances of anything approaching a political statement (Mercouri's album also comes to mind, being a sort of protest-album without protest-songs). The use of sound-effects from external sources would only really be repeated on "Albedo 0.39", and the collage-technique would only sporadically be used in later years.

Review by Ivar de Vries

 

 

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