YALE SCHOOL OF MUSIC (New Haven, USA) Faculty Artists Series Morse Recitals Hall

Friday 30 January, 2009 8:00 PM

Ole Akahoshi, cello and Elizabeth Parisot, Piano
Music by Saint-Saëns, Debussy, Durosoir

John S. Powell Lecturer (pre-concert talk)

Yale Lecture
I would like to begin by explaining some of the interesting connections that resulted in tonight’s concert.
From 1981 to 1985, Ole Akahoshi studied with Pierre Fournier, one of the great cellists of the 20th Century. Fournier was born in Paris in 1906. After early piano studies with his mother, he took up the cello at the age of 9 and studied with the cellist Odette Krettly. He made rapid progress on his new instrument, and was able to win entrance to the Paris Conservatoire, where he became a pupil of Paul Bazelaire, and later Anton Hekking. He graduated at the age of seventeen, in the year 1923. Maurice Marechal called him "the cellist of the future." Even at such a young age, Fournier had tremendous virtuosity, and was famous for his bowing facility.
The following year, 1924, the 18-year-old Pierre Fournier was a member of the Krettly Quartet, led by Odette’s brother, the violinist Robert Krettly. This quartet was known for its programming and early recordings of avant-garde and modern works. In October of 1924, the quartet gave the world premiere of the Second String Quartet by a little-known composer, Lucien Durosoir.
The first half of the concert was devoted to Durosoir’s Quartet, and the second half to Durosoir’s Violin Sonata in A-minor, performed by the celebrated pianist Paul Loyonnet, with the composer on the violin. Loyonnet was another graduate of the Paris Conservatoire, made his debut in 1906 at the age of 17, and subsequently appeared in recital and with orchestras throughout Europe. In 1924, he was at the height of his fame.
So who was this Lucien Durosoir, whose music was being premiered by the Krettly Quartet and Paul Loyonnet?
Durosoir was born near Paris in 1878, and began violin lessons at an early age.
Here is a photo taken in 1890. Two years later, at the age of 14 he enrolled in the Paris Conservatory, where he studied violin with Henri Berthelier.
However after several months he was expelled for insolence he showed toward its director, Ambroise Thomas. Durosoir continued his violin studies privately with Berthelier while, at the same time, studying composition with Charles Tournemire, who had been a student of César Franck. In Durosoir 1898 he was hired as concertmaster of the Orchestre
Colonne. This was an orchestra founded in 1873 by the violinist Edouard Colonne, which performed at the Théâtre du Châtelet. In this magnificent theater the ‘Concerts Colonne’ presented turn-ofthe-century French composers (Bizet, Saint-Saëns, Lalo, Massenet, Fauré, d’Indy, Debussy, Ravel, Widor, Dukas, and Chabrier), rediscovered the genius of Berlioz (especially La Damnation de Faust, which was played 4 to 6 times per year), and also looked further afield presenting works from Mendelssohn, Wagner, Liszt, Schumann, Brahms and others. The orchestra invited the greatest soloists of the time (Sarasate, Pugno, Ysaye), and Pierre Fournier became well-known when he soloed with the Orchestre Colonne in 1925. But Durosoir aspired higher than concertmaster of the Orchestre Colonne, and so in 1899 he left for Germany to study with the violinist Hugo Heermann (left) and to coach with Joseph Joachim.
In April of 1899 Durosoir gave a public concert at the Salle Pleyel, one of the premiere concert venues in Paris (right). This concert was to feature a piano quartet by his teacher, Charles Tournemire—for which Durosoir was assisted by Pierre Monteux and the Swedish cellist Fritz Schneklud, and Tournemire himself on piano (left). Pierre Monteux had trained in violin at the Paris Conservatory, but later changed to viola and would later lead the viola section in the premiere of Debussy’s Pelleas
et Melisande at the Opera comique; in 1911 he became conductor to Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in Paris. Fritz Schneklud was a Swedish cellist who was immortalized in a famous portrait by Paul Gauguin (left). Meanwhile, upon his return from Germany Lucien Durosoir became a highly sought-after concert artist (right).
Durosoir was a strong advocate of modern music, and he introduced French audiences to many works by foreign composers. The 1899 concert (see above) included the premiere of the Violin Concerto in D Minor (1880) by the Danish composer Niels Gade. In a 1901 concert (top left) he gave the French premiere of Richard Strauss’s Violin Concerto in D Minor. A 1903 concert with orchestra featured Brahms’s Violin concerto, with a cadenza supplied by Durosoir’s teacher Hugo Heermann (middle, left). In a 1904 concert Durosoir was the featured soloist for the violin concertos of Max Bruch and Antonin Dvorak (bottom left). According to the review in Le Figaro (right): “He displayed, in the concerto of Max Bruch, the rarest qualities of sonority and musicality, and in the Dvorak concerto an astonishing style and virtuosity…Monsieur Lucien Durosoir, in this lovely performance, ranks among the foremost virtuosos of his time” (19 May 1904).
In addition to modern music, Durosoir’s concert fare often included a piece of ‘early music’: a prelude and fugue, suite, solo sonata, or chaconne by Bach, Corelli’s La Folia, a sonata by Tartini, or a piece by Rameau or Veracini. One of the 18thcentury composers he most admired was Leclair, whose sonatas influenced his later compositions.
From 1903 Durosoir undertook concert tours extending to central Europe, Russia, Germany, Switzerland, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In these tours introduced his audiences to the most modern French works. In a concert given in 1903 at the Berlin Sing-Akademie (right, top), he performed Brahms’s Violin Concerto in D Major on a double-bill with Saint-Saëns’s Violin Concerto in B Minor (left, top). In Vienna he gave Gabriel Fauré’s Violin Sonata for the first time in 1907, and repeated it in 1910 at the Bosendorfer Saale in Berlin (right, top). In Leipzig in 1909 he performed Saint-Saëns’s Violin Concerto in B Minor (left, middle), and in 1911 in the Grossen Musikvereins-Saale (right) in Vienna he played a triple bill of concertos by Beethoven, Brahms, and Dvorak (left, bottom). Everywhere his performances were met with favorable reviews: Durosoir “captivates the public by the loftiness and spirit of his playing” (Neue freie Press, 11 January 1910); “all of these pieces were performed with the same nobility and beauty of execution” (Wiener Mittags-Zeitung, 28 January 1910).
* * * * * * * * * *
Durosoir’s brilliant concert career came to an abrupt halt in August of 1914, with the outbreak of war. He was on vacation in Brittany, in the little seaside town of Plouezéc, when the call to arms sounded. The mobilization poster (left, top) was posted on every town hall, conscripting all men of eligible age to report for active duty. Lucien Durosoir (right) was age 36, twice the age of many of the raw recruits. After twelve months fighting in the trenches he became a stretcher-bearer, and his musical talents came the attention of General Mangin, one of the great French generals of World War I. Mangin was a music-lover, and he recruited Durosoir along with the composer André Caplet and the young cellist Maurice Maréchal (left) along with other musicians in the division to play chamber music. Here is a handmade program (right, middle) of one of scores of concerts given for the General. This particular concert consisted of a Beethoven string quartet, a new work by Andre Caplet, Glazunov’s Serenade espagnole for cello solo, Liszt’s piano piece “Il sospiro”, a prelude and fugue by Bach for violin solo, a piano quintet by Gabriel Dupont, and an arrangement of Wagner’s overture to Parsifal. As Maréchal did not wish to have his valuable cello at the front, he had one built by a luthier out of the wood from ammunition crates (left, bottom).
Incidentally, one of the works on tonight’s program was performed by Maréchal in one of these wartime concerts. In a letter to his mother dated June 10, 1916, Durosoir wrote that: “Maréchal has brought back a Sonata for Cello by Debussy that has just been published. It is truly a lovely thing—subtle and delicate, above all the first part, of which there are three. It is admittedly a fantasy, for the sonata form is hardly observed, but whatever one might entitle this piece it is without a doubt exquisite. It would seem, from what Caplet says, that Debussy is very ill, and his days are numbered. This is a shame, for he is of a refined and delicate temperament, and I believe that he will not have given us everything that we might expect from him.
“MARECHAL a rapporté une sonate pour violoncelle de DEBUSSY qui vient de paraître, c’est vraiment une jolie chose, fine et délicate, surtout la première partie, il y en a trois. C’est certes une fantaisie, car la forme sonate n’est guère respectée, mais que l’on intitule cette pièce comme l’on voudra, il n’est pas moins vrai qu’elle est exquise. Il paraît, d’après ce que dit CAPLET, que DEBUSSY est bien malade, ses jours seraient comptés. C’est dommage, car c’est un tempérament fin et délicat, et je crois qu’il n’aura pas donné tout ce que l’on pouvait attendre de lui.”
The Sonata for Cello and Piano was one of Debussy’s last compositions, and was followed by his Sonata for Violin and Piano. With the sonatas of 1915–1917, there was a sudden shift in the style. The structures were simpler, and the textures leaner. Debussy planned a set of six sonatas, but this plan was cut short by his death in 1918 so that he only completed three.
When Durosoir acquired a copy of the Violin Sonata in 1918, he and André Caplet immediately read through it. You can just make out Durosoir’s name in the upper left corner of the score (see left). He was immediately taken by the refined musical language of this last composition by Claude Debussy, and saw in it the future of serious French music.
Durosoir had renewed his studies of counterpoint and fugue just before the war, and as the years dragged on the urge to compose increasingly seized him. In the beginning, he studied miniature scores sent by his mother to take his mind off of the tedium of military life and the horror of war. When Andre Caplet joined his regiment, they together analyzed scores. Caplet was close friends with Debussy, who sent them his String Quartet for their quartet to play (left, top). In 1915 Emma Debussy sent Caplet her husband’s piano Études, which Durosoir and Caplet were studying when six German bombs fell around their building. Thinking ahead to the end of the war, Durosoir wrote on 12 September 1916: “I begin to compose so as to become accustomed to managing the freer forms, and my efforts, I am convinced, will be fruitful.” During the periods of repose from his stretcher duty, Durosoir continued his study of counterpoint and fugue with exercises “corrected” by André Caplet (left, bottom). Durosoir returned to civilian life in February of 1919. Two years later,
the Boston Symphony Orchestra offered him the position of concertmaster. His old friend, Pierre Monteux (who wasn’t quite this old in 1921), had become director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (1919-1924). When the orchestra lost 30 of its members following a strike in March of 1920, Monteux was able to fashion the orchestra as he pleased. Durosoir was on the point of leaving for Boston when his mother had an accident, leaving her in a wheelchair. Thereafter he moved to the southwest of France, where he devoted his efforts to composition.
Durosoir would occasionally travel to Paris for private performances of his works. But by and large he worked in isolation, and did not seek out publishers for his compositions. Durosoir remained in touch with Caplet, and Caplet attempted to promote Durosoir’s latest compositions. “I will speak with enthusiasm to all my associates of your quartet, which find many times more interesting than all the products with which the group of flashy newcomers overwhelm us,” Caplet wrote to him in 1922 In all, Durosoir composed around forty unpublished works, including pieces for varied ensembles, symphonic works, and chamber music: string quartets, sonatas, trios, short piano works, numerous pieces for piano and a solo instrument.
Tonight you will hear two excerpts from one of Durosoir’s first compositions, the Aquarelles (watercolors). The original version for violin and piano dates from 1920, and was composed shortly after Durosoir had been discharged from the army. These two numbers were rearranged by Durosoir for cello and piano. The Berceuse is a
lullaby that softly moves to the undulating rhythm of a barcarolle. The vigorous and energetic Ronde evokes the classicism of Jean-Marie Leclair, the 18th-century violinist and composer whom Durosoir admired and frequently played in public.
Maide dates from 1931, and is part of a trilogy for cello and piano that Durosoir dedicated to his wartime friend Maurice Maréchal. Shortly after receiving this work Maréchal wrote to Durosoir: I have indeed received the two parts (cello and piano), and I immediately read through mine on the cello, and I think violocellistically that you do not lack for irony in calling this ‘divertissement’, and musically that it is charming…but only for the listener! My God it is difficult. Even taking into account your recommendations “very freely, with charm, and bouncy if possible”! In short, we will work on your piece this summer, and will indeed be amused and diverted…especially if you come dine with us on some Escargots de Bourgogne à la Maréchale!
« Bien reçu les deux parties. J’ai déchiffré immédiatement la mienne au cello et j’ai pensé violoncellistiquement que vous ne manquez pas d’ironie d’appeler cela Divertissement et musicalement que c’en est un, charmant…pour l’auditeur ! Mais Bon Dieu que c’est difficile ! Même agrémenté de vos recommandations « très librement, avec charme , et ricochet si possible » ! Enfin, on vous travaillera cela cet été, et on va bien s’amuser et se « divertir » surtout si vous venez manger quelques escargots de Bourgogne à la Maréchale !… »

 

CHAMBER MUSIC COMPETITION

MUSICIENS ENTRE GUERRE ET PAIX (MEGEP)

PARIS April 2007



(Prizes Lucien Durosoir, André Caplet, Maurice Maréchal, Henri Magne)

The intent of this competition is to pay homage to four musicians who spent the greatest part of World War I together (Lucien Durosoir, André Caplet, Maurice Maréchal, Henri Magne) and to the musicians whose paths crossed in the turmoil at one time or another--namely Lemoine, Cloëz, Mayer, Vierne, Paray, Delmas Boussagol, Vandoren, Nelly Marthyl, etc....

1° The Musiciens entre Guerre et Paix competition awards chamber music prizes for ensembles consisting of:

duo violin-piano

duo cello-piano

trio violin-cello-piano

2° This competition is intended for musicians of less than 35 years in age, either professional or pre-professional in status.

3° The prizes will be awarded after the performance before a jury of a musical program not exceeding approximately 45 minutes, and composed of:
(a) one work by Lucien Durosoir;
(b) of works chosen by the candidates from among those by composers who had served in World War I in the units stationed at the front, the list of which is given in the Appendix.

The works chosen by the ensemble must all be composed for the same configuration of instruments.

4° The selection of candidates will be based on the application file accompanied (if possible) by a recording in support with the choice of the candidates, of at least one work of their usual repertory.

Deadline for applications: February 15, 2007.
The candidates selected will be notified at least 1 month before the date of the contest
.


5° The jury chosen by the organizers will be sovereign.


6° The competition will be endowed with:
the Lucien Durosoir Prize of 3000 Euros, to be awarded to the best trio ensemble
the Maurice Maréchal Prize of 2000 Euros, to be awarded to the best duo ensemble
the André Caplet Prize of 1500 Euros, to be awarded to the second best trio ensemble .
the Henri Magne Prize of 1000 Euros, to be awarded to the second best duo ensemble .

Thee four prizes will be awarded to four different ensembles.


The jury reserves the right not to award all prizes.

7° Once an ensemble has been awarded a prize, it may not participate in the competition a second time.

8° If requested by the Association des Musiciens entre Guerre et Paix, the prize-winning ensembles will kindly participate, free of charge, in a public concert and/or the making of a recording intended to publicize the action of the Association

9° The competition will be organized in the April 2007 at Paris. The place of the competition will be indicated on the letter of invitation addressed to the person in charge of the ensemble.

10° The competition will be a public event.

Additional information may be obtained from the organizers at the headquarters of the Association.

by e-mail

durosoir.megep@wanadoo.fr

or phone
33.(0)1 45 40 72 83


 

ELIGIBLE ENSEMBLE

DUOS

Violin - piano

Cello - piano

TRIOS

Violin - cello - piano

 

APPENDIX I
Works of Lucien Durosoir eligible for the year
2007
:


SONATE (« Le Lis ») pour violon et piano 20'

DIVERTISSEMENT, MAIADE et IMPROVISATION pour violoncelle et piano11'30

TRIO en Si mineur pour violon, violoncelle et piano 26'

The scores of these works are available at the headquarters of the Association: e-mail durosoir.megep@wanadoo.fr , or else at www.foliomusic.com

APPENDIX II
French or foreign composers who participated in World War I, either in the allied armies or in the enemy armies. The works of the following composers are eligible:

ANTOINE George (1892-1918)
Belgian composer, drafted in the Belgian army, wounded, dead in the aftermath of the war
BARLOW Samuel (1892-1982)
American composer, lieutenant in the American Expeditionary Force in 1917. Légion d’honneur for heroism.
BEILSCHMIDT Curt (1886-1962)
German composer, German soldier during World War I.
BENJAMIN Arthur (1893-1960)
Australian composer, served in the British army during 1914-1918.
BLISS Arthur (1891-1975)
English composer, soldier in 1914, wounded in 1916, gassed in 1918.
BOULANGER Lili (1893-1918)
French composer, winner of the Prix de Rome who, with her sister Nadia, created a support association for musicians engaged at the front.
BOULNOIS Joseph (1884-1918)
French composer, killed in action in the Meuse.
BUTTERWORTH George (1885-1916)
English composer, enlisted in 1914, killed in the Battle of the Somme.
CAPLET André (1878-1925)
French composer, winner of the Prix de Rome, liaison office and sergeant, caretaker of carrier pigeons, 4 years at the front in the Fifth Division.
CASTERA (de) René (1873-1955), French composer

DANDELOT Georges (1895-1975)
French composer, Military Cross for bravery in combat.
De BOURGUIGNON (1890-1961)
Belgian composer, wounded in 1914 at the Battle of Melle.
DELVINCOURT Claude (1888-1954)
French composer, wounded in Argonne in December 1915
DUBOSCQ Claude (1897-1938)
French composer, volunteered and was appointed interpreter to the 25th British Division. He was wounded at the front in 1918.
FARRAR Ernest (1885-1918)
English composer, killed at the Battle of the Somme in September 1918.
GURNEY Ivor (1890-1937)
English composer, wounded and gassed during the war.
HAHN Renaldo (1875-1947) Naturalized French, at 38 years he volunteered for yhe army, served three years at the front and was awarded the Military Cross.
HINDEMITH Paul (1895-1963)
German composer, served in the German army during 1916-1918.
IBERT Jacques (1890-1962)
French composer, voluntarily served during the war.
JUERGENS Fritz (1888-1915)
German composer, killed in battle in Champagne.
KREISLER Fritz (1875-1962)
Born in Vienna, naturalized American in 1939 ; drafted in 1914, wounded at Lemberg.
MAGNARD Albéric (1865-1914)
French composer, killed by the Germans
MIGOT Georges (1891-1976)
French composer, drafted, wounded, then honorably discharged.
MOERAN Ernest John (1894-1950)
English composer, seriously wounded and then honorably discharged.
RAVEL Maurice (1875-1937)
French composer, voluntarily served..
RIVIER Jean (1896-1987)
French composer, drafted and gassed.
ROUSSEL Albert (1869-1937)
French composer, volunteered in 1915, commanded a transport unit [?] in Verdun in 1916.
SCHMITT Florent (1870-1958)
French composer, drafted in a territorial unit [ ?].
SCHOENBERG Arnold (1874-1951)
Composer born in Vienna, professor at Berlin, drafted during the war, immigrated to America in 1933.


APPENDIX III
Composition of the application file :

-The application form comprising the name and address of the person in charge of the ensemble and the configuration of the ensemble (example attached).
-Photocopy of a document of identity for each member of the ensemble.
-A letter of recommendation from a professor or a director of a musical institution of higher learning.
-A recording of a work belonging to the repertory of the candidate (CD or cassette).
-Application fee: 20 euros per person (check to be made out in the name of l’ASSOCIATION MEGEP).
-Include 3 stamped envelopes bearing the name and address of the person in charge of the ensemble.

Include a curiculum vitae for each member

 

APPLICATION FORM
I. ENSEMBLE :

NAME OF THE ENSEMBLE (if necessary : ________________________________
Date of creation of the ensemble : _______

Person in charge of the ensemble :
Last Name : ___________________ First Name : ____________________

Address : ____________________ E-mail : ____________________
____________________ Telephone : ____________________

Member N°1 : Member N°2 :

Last Name : ____________________ Last Name : ____________________
First Name : ____________________ First Name : ____________________
Address : ____________________ Address: ____________________
____________________ ____________________

Instrument : ____________________ Instrument : ____________________
Level : ____________________ Level : ____________________

Member N°3 :

Last Name : ____________________
First Name : ____________________
Address : ____________________
____________________

Instrument : ____________________
Level : ____________________

II. Programme :

A. Work of Lucien Durosoir presented:


_________________________________________________________________

 

B. Other works presented :


_________________________________________________________________


_________________________________________________________________


_________________________________________________________________


_________________________________________________________________


_________________________________________________________________


Precise timing of the program: ________ minutes.


Items to be included in the application file:

Photocopy of a piece of identity for each member of the ensemble;
A letter of recommendation from a professor or a director of a musical establishment of higher learning or from a recognized musical personality;
A recording (CD or cassette) of a work belonging to the repertory of the ensemble;
Application fee : 20 euros per person (check made out in the name of l’ASSOCIATION MEGEP) ;
Three envelopes bearing the name and address of the person in charge of the ensemble.

 

 

 

 

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