Joseph Kosma was the creator, along with the poet Jacques
Prevert, of the classic 1947 song Autumn Leaves , or Les Feuilles Mortes,
as it was called when it was written. Johnny Mercer provided the poignant English lyrics.
The song has that air of melancholy which many of the best French popular songs share, and
Kosma, a Hungarian by birth, was obviously heavily influenced by the musical atmosphere
of Paris, where he came to live in 1933 at the age of 28.
Most of his musical life was spent composing film music, and in this sphere he is perhaps
best remembered for some highly distinguished scores for classic pre-war films by the
great French director Jean Renoir, including La Grande Illusion in 1937 and
La Regle Du Jeu in 1939, and post-war classics such as Les Enfants du Paradis (1945)
and Les Portes de la Nuit (1946), both directed by Marcel Carnet.
Many of Joseph's best songs were recorded by the great French chanteuse Juliette Greco.