mardi 31 juillet 2007

Van Morrison est-il l’Yves Montand du rock ? (dégonflage)

Il y a quelque injustice à voir vieillir non les artistes mais l’usage que l’on en fait. Pendant ma première journée de retour au journal, j’écoute le volume 3 de The Best of Van Morrison. Et il me point la certitude, au bout que quelques titres, que cet homme-là compte parmi le premier contingent des artistes mythiques que l’on oubliera. Car Van Morrison n’est pas un artiste ordinaire, qui sort des disques et part en tournée : il y a une onction particulière sur chacun de ses pas, une aura singulière pour toute son existence. J’ai le souvenir de quelques conversations un peu irrationnelles avec des confrères sur Van Morrison, comme s’il était champion de vérité, exempla médiéval, icône échappant à la main de l’homme. C’est cela qu’on appelle « mythique » dans mon métier : un artiste plus grand que lui-même, ou plutôt dont l’œuvre est en-deçà de ce que l’on en pense – tout cela consciemment, évidemment.
Qu’on ne se méprenne pas : j’aime et je respecte (ce qui n’est pas la même chose) Van Morrison, mais j’ai l’impression (et de plus en plus) qu’on lui attribue collectivement des dimensions qui ne sont pas celles de ses disques et de ses apparitions sur scène. En fait, il me semble incarner la part la plus littérale des genres qu’il traverse – le blues, le rock en mineur, une idée « club » du rhythm’n’blues – sans jamais chercher à le transcender. Son travail n’est pas de tordre, d’étirer ou de dilater la musique qu’il joue, mais d’affirmer les certitudes de celle-ci, d’étaler son pouvoir émotionnel et – assez souvent – son orthodoxie. Son humour et ses clins d’œil aux lettrés (comme quand il cite James Joyce et Samuel Beckett dans Too Long in Exile) ont peut-être pour fonction de masquer ses intentions artistiques foncièrement conservatrices. Il n’y a pas à lui reprocher d’être un classique, bon serviteur de formes dénuées de toute aventure. Seulement, il finit par développer la valeur d’un musicien d’orchestre : une exécution régulière et bien réalisée du répertoire, et de temps à autre (comme pour le concert du Nouvel an de la Philharmonie de Vienne) un petit sommet non dans l’inspiration mais dans les circonstances de la musique (il fait venir John Lee Hooker ou rejoue les retrouvailles avec Georgie Fame).
Je n’ai guère envie de démolir Van Morrison, dont j’aime vraiment les disques (notamment, et pour des raisons à la fois très estimables et très réactionnaires, The Skiffle Sessions, sorti en 2000), mais je me rends compte peu à peu que l’encre de son nom pâlit à mesure que son œuvre parait surtout construite sur le respect des conventions et l’illustration de ses enthousiasmes d’auditeur. Situation embarrassante : je me demande si un de mes artistes « mythiques » a quelque valeur historique définitive (oui, oui, je sais : Gloria ; et alors ?), s’il ne va pas être nettoyé des livres par le départ de la génération qui a aujourd’hui 50 ou 60 ans, s’il reste de sa trajectoire assez pour survivre à sa mort.
Mutatis mutandis, Van Morrison ne serait-il pas l’Yves Montand du rock. Glorieux jusqu’à sa mort puis disparaissant peu à peu des mémoires tant il se révèle qu’il n’a rien apporté d’autre qu’une perfection formelle et donc des émotions formalistes.
J’ai relu tout à l’heure ce qu’il y a deux ans j’écrivais dans Le Monde de la musique à propos de l’album Magic Time : « Ce disque a la solidité des paysages britanniques sous la lune, d’une splendeur à deux dimensions, d’une majesté un peu popote. Un vieil oncle expert en choses simples. » En me relisant, je perçois mieux la litote involontaire : cet album est un peu banal. Superbe, je ne le contesterai pas. Mais banal.

47 commentaires:

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Reecoutez Astral Weeks et Moondance! Si d'autres n'ont pas cette curiosite (ou ce bon gout), tant pis pour eux.
Je serai incapable de vous citer un disque d'Yves Montand...

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