Magazine Clippings

Franck Pourcel - 1963

Translation with the help of José Peñañoza:


    Frank Pourcel - The Enchanter

    by Claude Obernal - Page 1

His only publicity: his records (more than eight million sold in thirty different countries). Ten years of orchestral recordings, ten years of uninterrupted success. His secret: to charm with any melody of today or yesterday, while remaining always current.

- Frank Pourcel, those who bought one of your records want them all. They continue to collect them as and when they are published. They are never tired of them. How do you explain this phenomenon?

- No doubt due to the fact that, while resolutely keeping the same style, I multiply the color of the orchestrations as much as possible, which creates so many different musical atmospheres. And also because I am constantly evolving, imperceptibly ... Instead of rejecting new things, I follow fashion, take the quintessence of it and adapt it.

We are in Franck Pourcel's office, on the eleventh floor of a building near the Etoile; in this quiet room everything is about music: piano, tape recorders, stereophonic installation; partitions everywhere. But only a few records, because Pourcel would never find enough room at home to fit them all, even with one copy each!

On a table, piles of letters. The most recent bears the headline of a rock band. I read: "We saw you on TV with your orchestra and we admire your "harmonizations"... Keep giving us things like these, Mr. Pourcel!" The latter said to me:

- Some correspondents have written to me regularly for ten years. I try to take into account the suggestions given to me since my goal is to please the majority. I am wary of professional distortion, and, what touches me is not necessarily to the taste of the general public, I do not record exclusively what I like. This is a question in which intuition plays its part ...

- In terms of intuition, what is your greatest success?

- The albums of "Famous Pages". They made the classics accessible to everyone, they even revealed to lots of people who believed them too "strong" for them, composers like Mozart, Schubert, Tchaikowsky, Bizet. Music where the melody dominates and which, therefore, strikes more the heart than the brain. However, when the heart is touched, it is won in advance.

It suffices to listen to Franck Pourcel speak to know that he is from the South. From Marseille. It was in Marseille, at the conservatory, that he gleaned his first laurels early on, and made his first violinist career in opera. But already, in his life, the classic and the varieties were combined since he was also doing cabaret. He left the opera, conducted a cinema orchestra, that of a music hall, and returned to the violin to accompany Lucienne Boyer on her tours.

In 1944, the dream of his life came true. The grand Franck Pourcel's orchestra was formed and was having a memorable broadcast hearing, at the very moment when the first shots of the Liberation of Paris resounded. A little later, in the USA, Brazil and Canada, where he was touring that was to last six years, Frank Pourcel was going to learn about new recording methods. He returned to make his first two sides of records in Paris for Ducretet-Thomson and it was an extraordinary result, given the limited means available to the French studios at the time. Already, he was concerned with technical perfection:

- Even today, he said to me, every time I make a record, I give the maximum, I take my time, I give my full attention to the sound recording. I never say it's good enough for an audience that won't notice certain details and will be happy all the same. I work as if I were only talking to professionals

In 1953, he returned to spend four months in the United States and just returned to sign his exclusive contract with Pathé-Marconi. His conception of the variety orchestra was firmly established. And his records were selling like hot cakes. By 1961 he had achieved all of his goals. He had "reinvented," rehabilitated the violin, an instrument practically wiped out from the variety orchestra for years. He had made it the basic element of his orchestra, the hallmark of his style, the incomparable Franck Pourcel style.

- Why do you never perform on stage with your musicians?

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