“What I didn’t know was Isabelle and Muriel had been friends from a long time ago but they hadn’t seen each other for more than twenty-five years.”
This song – the first track of Costello’s recent, celebrated album, “Hey Clockface” – is a recitation over an instrumental performance, opening with the plaintive sound of a serpent, a wind instrument which has its origin in the French town of Auxerre in the 1580s.
This is also the approximate historical period of one of Isabelle Adjani’s most acclaimed cinematic performances, in the title role of Patrice Chéreau’s “La Reine Margot.”
Costello continued, “In imagining Isabelle reading Muriel’s adapted verses, I sensed that she would instinctively know what to do, as she had portrayed several characters who lived at the borderline between love and madness, most especially in François Truffaut’s, ‘The Story Of Adele H.’”
The vocal session took place at Nieve and Teodori’s apartment in Paris.
Nieve continued, “Our doorbell rang and Isabelle arrived with an arm full of gifts; incredible cakes from Hotel Meurice, books that she likes, and she immediately kissed us on both cheeks, saying ‘I hope you are not afraid.’”
The two old friends consulted over the final text, Isabelle making a few small amendments to suit her voice before Muriel encouraged her to record a second version of “Revolution #49,” in which Isabelle improvised melodically over a new piano performance by Steve Nieve.
The second rendition of “Revolution #49” will be issued later this year but unfortunately will not be televised.
Before leaving, Isabelle told her friends, “Je suis trop honor, trop heureuse de m’inscribe dans un project aussi somptueux par sa difference” and M. Costello has already promised a brand new composition for the Adjani voice, in thanks for these interpretations.
Revolution #49 (Parlé) is the second Francophone version of a ‘Hey Clockface’ song. “No Flag (Chanté)” — credited to Elvis Costello with Iggy Pop— was released by Concord Records on December 3rd, 2020.
Hey Clockface was released October 30, 2020. Listen to the album HERE.