Week 20: “Les Deux Pianos” by Yann Tiersen

Keeping with the European theme of last week’s entry, this week we move west to France. Yann Tiersen is famous for using the oh-so-French accordion, but also throws into his music the occasional oddball instrument, like the melodica, ondes martentot, and even occasionally a typewriter.

Given his quirkiness, it makes sense that he was chosen to supply music for the movie “Amélie”, released in 2000 and responsible for a generation of quirky indie-girls who decided to cut their hair short and study impressionism. Tiersen’s music was perfect for the movie: each of his tiny compositions have humour, beauty, and sadness all wrapped up in them. “Les Deux Pianos” is an example of the simple brilliance of his songs.

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. Instant happiness. If you were to take a piano piece by Philip Glass and give it some Zoloft, you’d end up with this song.

2. The way the pianos talk to each other. You can almost see two French ladies in an open-air market chatting over each other with elaborate hand gestures.

3. Restraint. At barely two minutes, this song leaves you wanting more. But the Europeans have always been good at knowing when a good thing becomes too much of a good thing.

Recommended listening activity:

Cracking crème brulée with a teaspoon and an impish grin.

Buy it here.