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Charles Borel-Clerc

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Charles Borel-Clerc


Charles Louis Raymond Francois Borel-Clerc (22 September 1879, Pau, France – 9 April 1959, Cannes, France) was a French composer and oboeist.

His name originally was Clerc, but he added Borel, his mother’s maiden name. He enrolled at the Paris Conservatory of Music in 1896, studying oboe there with Ernest Gillet. At the age of 21, he obtained a first prize for instrumentalist which gave him access to the greatest classical Parisian orchestras. After graduation, he played oboe with several orchestras in Paris.

Borel-Clerc composed operettas, marches, songs, and light salon pieces for orchestra or piano. His most famous work is La Sorella.

He became famous thanks to his hit songs performed by Félix Mayol .He also collaborated with Saint-Granier and composed Un amour comme le nôtre for Lucienne Boyer in 1935. But above all, he owes his notoriety as a composer to Maurice Chevalier who, at the end of the 1930s, had a series of great successes.

It is his meeting with the young Jean Dréjac that makes him legendary. He presented him with several texts and, for one of them, Borel-Clerc composed the music for a work which immediately became part of the heritage of French song from its publication in 1943. It's Ah! Le petit vin blanc, a song created by Michèle Dorlan and popularized by Lina Margy, whose success was amplified at the end of World War II, an air synonymous with rediscovered freedom and joie de vivre.

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