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La Belle Et La Bête

Bill Nelson

album - 25 June 1982

La Belle Et La Bete - Cover


01)  Overture

02)  The Family

03)  Sisters And Sedan Chairs

04)  In The Forest Of Storms

05)  The Castle

06)  The Gates

07)  The Corridor

08)  The Great Hall

09)  Dreams (The Merchant Sleeps)

10)  Fear (The Merchant Wakes)

11)  The Rose And The Beast

12)  Magnificent (The White Horse)

13)  Beauty Enters The Castle

14)  The Door

15)  The Mirror

16)  Candelabra And Gargoyles

17)  Beauty And The Beast

18)  Transition No. 1

19)  Transition No. 2

20)  The Hunt

21)  The Gift

22)  The Garden

23)  Transition No. 3

24)  Transition No. 4

25)  The Tragedy

26)  Transition No. 5

27)  The Enchanted Glove

28)  Tears As Diamonds (The Gift Reverses)

29)  The Beast In Solitude

30)  The Return Of Magnificent

31)  Transition No. 6 (The Journey)

32)  The Pavilion Of Diana

33)  Transformation No. 1

34)  Transformation No. 2

35)  The Final Curtain


La Belle et la Bête is an instrumental album released on Mercury Records in 1982.  The material was recorded at The Echo Observatory, Wakefield, England in early 1982 as a soundtrack for a stage production commissioned by The Yorkshire Actors Co.

It was initially released as a limited edition free album available with both vinyl and cassette copies of The Love That Whirls.  It was packaged in its own album sleeve that slipped inside The Love That Whirls cover (on vinyl), or simply as side two of the cassette edition.


La Belle et la Bête was reissued on vinyl as a double album with Das Kabinett (Cocteau, 1985), sporting new artwork.  It was given its first and only US release on CD (Enigma, 1989) as two albums on one disc (again with Das Kabinett).



La Belle et la Bête was reissued by Esoteric/Cocteau Discs in December 2017 as part of a 3-CD set of Bill's early soundtrack work, entitled Dreamy Screens.


Trial By Intimacy, Das Kabinett, Sounding the Ritual Echo, Chance Encounters in the Garden of Lights,
Map of Dreams, Altar Pieces, Crimsworth,
Sleepcycle & other Cocteau Club eps




"Of course, the big 'hit single' in Cocteau's film canon is 'Beauty And The Beast'.  An absolutely magical telling of a magical fairy tale.  It's stunningly beautiful to look at and the scenes in the Beast's castle have a dreamlike quality that, once seen, will haunt you forever."

"All the music on my Beauty and the Beast album was created for a stage production of Cocteau's classic film.
I attended rehearsals of the play, (which was being staged by 'The Yorkshire Actor's Company'), and with a stopwatch timed each sequence of the action, filling a notebook with information about specific dramatic points and so on.

I then spent a couple of weeks in my home studio writing and recording the music whilst working from the notebook and timings I had taken.  The finished music, (which was recorded on very basic equipment), was then delivered to the Yorkshire Actor's Company who then used it in their live theatre performances of the play.  It was in the form of stereo reel-to-reel analogue tape mixes as there were no cds or digital formats back then.  The theatre music soundtrack depended upon an operator sitting with a reel-to-reel machine, cueing each piece of my music manually, wherever the live action required it.   It actually worked extremely well in live performance.

The album uses exactly the same music and mixes as was used in the theatre, though the album was released as an afterthought.  The music wasn't created with an album in mind or as a 'stand-alone' listening was meant purely as an atmosphere creating device and as a sonic punctuation to the physical/visual drama of the stage-production."

"In some ways, that period of my life was very exciting as there seemed to be a very open-minded spirit in the air.  People were, it seems, a little less less conservative than now and more ready to experiment and foster a more artistic approach to popular music.

These days it seems as if there's a reluctance to open up to beauty and wonder, an element of dumbing everything down to the lowest common denominator. It’s as if cynicism and pessimism has triumphed over good faith and optimism.  Cocteau's work celebrates the artistic vision and the inner life and does so without shame, irony or embarrassment.  Beauty is the brave hero and the Beast is subdued by her power.  A lovely metaphor for the civilising influence of Art."

"Context has a lot to do with it.  Also, not to beat around the bush, it's an 'art' piece, not pop, rock or ambient.  It was also made with very slender resources, minimal recording gear, (four track), and primitive instrumentation.  It's music to accompany a theatrical performance, but, if you can dig it, it also works on its own as semi-abstract sonic fragments, little vignettes of sound.  It's a bit like painting.  Close your eyes and let your imagination project pictures.  It might help to see Cocteau's film, (the music fits it almost as well as it fitted the stage production).  If you like it, great, if you don't, no problem.

Sometimes I make music for lots of people to enjoy, sometimes for just a few to enjoy.  Of course, I personally enjoy making ALL of it and I think of it as just one continuous expression of my creative life.  But, some people might say that Be Bop and Red Noise comprise my mainstream, mass market work, the 'ambient' instrumentals are for folks who like to float, dream and chill, and things like Beauty and The Beast, Caligari and Crimsworth are for art gallery and theatre goers... and so on, (add your own categorisations according to taste, personal bias, etc).  At the end of the day, they're all just aspects of my personality, reflecting my interests, curiosity and passions.

I've often talked about the wide range of music that I enjoy listening to and the equally wide range of film, art and literature.  Add a dash of occultism, esoterica and left of centre philosophy and you'll get an idea of what all this diversity adds up to when I choose tones, textures and forms to express my own inner life.  There's no escaping the fact that its deeply personal music and that it only entertains by accident, rather than design.  But...when in doubt, simply shove it all in a big box and simply call it MUSIC.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Everyone knows music...It’s the food of LOVE.  And we're ALL forever hungry for that."





"It was much later that I first saw Cocteau's film.  Its beauty and gentle strangeness obviously inspired Bill to create his own modest yet sumptuous "sound-play" to suit the Yorkshire stage production of the classic story.

I reckon Bill did a fantastic job, using his clunky old analog technology to great artistic effect, lending the whole work a misty, autumnal "old world" feel.

Nice one, Bill!!"


"I made the fatal mistake of dimming the lights, so that only a bat could navigate around the room.  Then I tripped over the table to put the light up, and retrieve my 'phones.  Once again settled, I lay back in the dark, along with the shadows, and relaxed.

Then the eerie calls of: 'La Belle..La Belle', the grunts of the Beast, and the dreaded thumping heartbeat section just about put the willies up me."


"What I really like about this album (and many other of the early instrumental works) is the synths sound.  Very unique, as if Bill had put them through some distortion device or something, creating a sound that is at once 'broken' and 'poetic' (for want of a better word).  So, not to be missed, surely, and an ideal complementary album to The Love That Whirls."

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