A surprisingly short composition by French musician Yann Tiersen, “C’était ici” is a condensed but flamboyant instrumental piece playing like the introduction to a much longer symphony. The track first appeared on Rue des Cascades (1996), a recording which only met with limited success at the time. It is of course the worldwide box-office triumph of Amelie (2001) which cemented Yann Tiersen’s reputation as a major modern composer and drew the attention of a much wider audience to his work.

Yann Tiersen - C'etait ici (2002)
Yann Tiersen – C’etait ici (2002)

In the original studio version of “C’était ici”, Yann Tiersen was only accompanied by one cellist and played all the other instruments himself (accordion, harpsichord and strings). Released on his eponymous 2002 recording, the musician revisited the same track in a live setting, this time accompanied by a string quartet and the 35 piece orchestral ensemble Synaxis. Sounding like a folk tune from an imaginary republic located somewhere between Tiersen’s native Brittany and Eastern Europe, “C’était ici” is an enchanting composition.