Henri Martelli

Henri Martelli - writing in the neo-classical style, but with a twist.

Henri Martelli
Henri Martelli – writing in the neo-classical style, but with a twist.

Henri Martelli – Trio for Flute, Piano and Cello – broadcast premier – 1952 – ORTF – Paris

The Music of Henri Martelli this week. Not a household name, but one which was around for most of the 20th century and well known in Contemporary French Music circles.

Born in 1895, Martelli initially studied law, receiving his degree in 1919. But he was also drawn to music and subsequently studied at the Paris Conservatory under Charles Marie Widor. He wrote a considerable amount of pieces from the mid-1920s on. During World War 2 he was Director of Chamber Music Programs for French Radio from 1940-1944.

In 1953 he became Secretary and President of the French section of the International Society For Contemporary Music. Many of his works were performed both in France and the U.S., and he was a highly regarded contemporary composer of the Neo-Classical school.

This trio, for Flute, Cello and Piano was written in 1951, and this performance marks the Radio premier of the work, as performed by Renè Langlois, flue – Roger Alban, cello and Claude Helffer, piano. No exact date (best guess is 1952) but recorded in the studios of the ORTF in Paris.

Since his death in 1980, interest in his work has waned somewhat. Only 3 CD‘s appear in print of his work, and the rest exists in sheet music form. I seriously doubt this Trio was recorded commercially (although I suspect a recording from the early 1950s no doubt was made, I can’t verify it), and certainly this radio premier hasn’t been issued. So it’s a rarity and worth a listen, but be forewarned, the discs were damaged and may sound a bit creaky. Still . . .it’s history.


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