Horizons of music in France 1944-1954

Thursday 09 December 2010 - 00:00 to Friday 10 December 2010 - 00:00
Horizons of music in France 1944-1954

Coordination Laurent Feneyrou, François Meïmoun et Alain Poirier

Over the past ten years or so a few major studies (seminars, publications) have dealt with musical life under the Vichy regime (La Vie musicale sous Vichy, edited by Myriam Chimènes, Paris, Complexe, 2001). Similarly, there has been some research into French musical creation in the mid fifties – Jésus Aguila’s thesis Le Domaine musical: Pierre Boulez et vingt ans de création contemporaine (Paris, Fayard, 1992) is one of the principal milestones. Now that these two areas of investigation have been put on the map, it is the history of musical life in the immediate post-war period that remains to be written.

The seminar ‘Horizons of music in France 1944-1954’ is framed by the publication, in 1944, of Olivier Messiaen’s Technique de mon langage musical and the first performances, in January 1954, of the Concerts du Petit-Marigny (to become the concerts of the Domaine Musical the following season).

This seminar will therefore focus on studying certain problems apparent in the musical landscape that emerged after the Liberation. What are the relationships between official modernity (the Groupe des Six in the interwar period, the Groupe Jeune France), and the new generations of composers, brought up in the teachings of Messiaen and Leibowitz? Also, both at the official institutions and in private tuition, what are the methods of teaching composition, and how are they received by the pupils?

What are, for post-war musicians, the venues for concerts and other forms of musical expression (concert societies, incidental and film music)? What are the new grammars of composition? On the fringes of the official musical world, which personalities, for the new creative artistes, contributed to this awareness of being a group apart?

These are some of the issues that will enable a better understanding of a crucial period in modern musical history, one that saw the laying of the æsthetic and intellectual foundations upon which our era still in part lives today.

Horizons of music in France 1944-1954 - 1st session

Thursday 09 December 2010 - 09:30

At the Cdmc

9h30: Welcome and general introduction
Laure Marcel-Berlioz, director of the Cdmc

Teaching composition: preserving and renewing

The panorama of music teaching at the Liberation was shared between the official structures and private tuition. The latter, on the sidelines yet assiduously cultivated, completed the teaching received at the Paris Conservatory, calls it into question, and reveals, at times, its incompleteness. Messiaen himself is a case in point, with his harmony class at the Conservatory and those, less official, for composition and analysis.

9h45: Introduction
Laurent Feneyrou

10h: Composition teaching at the Paris Conservatory (1944-1954)
Rémy Campos

10h45: Method and support in Olivier Messiaen’s teaching of harmony
Yves Balmer and Christopher Brent Murray

11h15: A lethal triangle? The Conjunction of Leibowitz – Boulez – Schaeffer
Esteban Buch

11h45: Round table directed by Laurent Feneyrou

The diffusion and performance of new music in 1945

Some media for diffusing music, like the radio, were encouraged though at the same time censored by the Collaboration; others were completely shut down. The Liberation led to much discussion of music and particularly the new works that were then being revealed. The emergence of these mostly unknown scores also demanded a reconsideration of current performance techniques.

14h30: Introduction
Myriam Chimènes

14h45: Radio, music and modernity in the wake of World War II
Karine The Bail

15h15: Music periodicals in post-war France
Cécile Quesney

16h: Performance conditions for contemporary music in Paris between 1945 and the birth of the Domaine musical
Jésus Aguila

16h30: Roger Désormière at the Réunion des Théâtres Lyriques Nationaux (1944-1948)
Aurélien Poidevin

17h: Round table directed by Myriam Chimènes

Horizons of music in France 1944-1954 - 2nd session

Friday 10 December 2010 - 09:15

At the Cdmc

The singular post-war landscape of music

The war years put paid to the supremacy of the Groupe des Six in the French musical landscape (Francis Poulenc was programmed at most of the Concerts de la Pléiade). However, the period of the Occupation also saw the appointment of Olivier Messiaen as harmony teacher at the Conservatory, dispensing classes that after only a few seasons saw the blossoming of a generation that no longer wanted to have anything to do with the language of the immediate past.

9h15: Introduction
Alain Poirier

9h30 Pierre Boulez’s First Piano Sonata
François Meïmoun

10h: Jean Barraqué, from Beethoven to Webern
Laurent Feneyrou

10h45: Pierre, André, Boris and the others…
Robert Piencikowski

11h15: The writings of Maurice Le Roux, Serge Nigg and Jean-Louis Martinet: a critical analysis
Pierre-Arnaud Le Guerinel

11h45: Through the eyes of a witness:
Michel Fano

14h: André Souris and the post-war period in Belgium
Valérie Dufour

14h30: Approaches to the invention of musique concrète
Marc Battier

15h: Francis Poulenc and the new generation
Nicolas Southon

Writing for images and for the stage

On the borderline between composer and arranger, rare were the young composers of the post-war period who did not write for the stage. The effervescence of theatre companies at the Liberation enabled already established composers (André Jolivet…) and those on the threshold of their careers (Pierre Boulez, Maurice Jarre…) to practice a multi-facetted craft.

15h45: Composers and the theatre: André Jolivet at the Comédie Française, Pierre Boulez with the Compagnie Madeleine Renaud – Jean-Louis Barrault, Maurice Jarre at the TNP
Catherine Steinegger

16h15: The cinema as a laboratory for sound and music
Philippe Langlois

17h15: Synthesis, par Hugues Dufourt

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