Sunday, September 3, 2017

Who Are Those Composers ~ Pascal Bastia




Pascal Bastia was born Pascal Simoni in Paris, France on September 11, 1908. He was a 20th-century French operetta composer, songwriter and screenwriter.

Bastia was the son of chansonnier-songwriter, singer, actor, filmmaker Jean Bastia (1878-1940), born in a family from the Corsican village of Vescovato. The cartoonist Georges Bastia and the film director Jean Bastia were his brothers.

He made his debut at 19 with two works written under the pseudonym Irving Paris, “Ma Femme” (1927) and “Un joli monsieur”, but encountered real success under his real name with the operetta “Dix-neuf ans” (1933). This play was the first to be inspired by light jazz introduced in France by Mireille and the Quintette du Hot Club de France around Stéphane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt. The latter appeared in the orchestra that accompanied the recordings of the play. In 1933, “Dix-neuf ans” was presented 300 times at the Théâtre Daunou. The cast was composed of Éliane de Creus (later replaced by Suzy Delair) and Jean Sablon, surrounded by Lily Mounet, Jean Bastia, Reda Caire and some debutantes including Viviane Romance. The work was performed in the provinces, in Amsterdam and Oran. There were more than 1,500 performances all together.

After the war, Pascal Bastia continued his career with ups and downs, mostly in the provinces with “Mademoiselle Star” (1945) or “Gardes françaises” (Reims, 1962). This last play was closer to opéra comique, like Georges van Parys's or Maurice Yvain's latest works. But he would never again find the success of “Dix-neuf ans”.

Pascal Bastia was one of the first composers to not orchestrate his own scores, the American way: “Ma Femme” was orchestrated by André Sablon (elder brother of John), “Un joli Monsieur” by Mac Curthy, “Dix-neuf ans” by Jef de Murel and Michel Emer. On the other hand, he wrote most librettos and lyrics for his operettas.

A singer-songwriter, his songs were interpreted by some of the greatest singers of the day: Jean Sablon, Joséphine Baker, Luc Barney. He also was the author of music and film scripts. He wrote the comedy “Ce monde n'est pas pour les anges” (1950, Théâtre Édouard VII).

Pascal’s lone Euro-western score was a collaboration with Jean-Pierre Landreau on 1960’s “Dynamite Jack” starring Fernandel.


BASTI A, Pascal (aka Irving Paris) (Pascal Simoni) [9/11/1908, Paris, Île-de-France, France – 7/12/2007, Saint-Privat des Prés, Nouvelle-Aquitain, France] – writer, composer, son of chansonnier-songwriter, singer, actor, filmmaker Jean Bastia [1878-1940], brother of cartoonist Georges Bastia [1904-1980], film director Jean Bastia [1919-2005].
Dynamite Jack – 1960 (co)

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