Over to France this week for music by the Romanian/French composer Marcel Mihalovici, as performed in this circa 1962 radio broadcast by Guy de Plus, Clarinet and the ORTF Chamber Orchestra, conducted by André Girard.
Marcel Mihalovici (Bucharest, 22 October 1898 – Paris, 12 August 1985) was a French composer born in Romania. He was discovered by George Enescu in Bucharest. He moved to Paris in 1919 (at age 21) to study under Vincent d’Indy. His works include his Sonata number 1 for violin and piano (1920), Mélusine opera (1920, libretto by Yvan Goll), his 1st string quartet (1923), 2nd string quartet (1931), Sonata number 2 for violin and piano (1941), Sonata for violin and cello (1944), Phèdre Opera (1949), Étude in two parts for piano and instrumental ensemble (1951) and Esercizio per archi (1960). Many of his piano works were first performed by his wife, the concert pianist Monique Haas.
Mihalovici was the original composer for the music of Samuel Beckett’s radio play Cascando (1962). His Fifth Symphony features a soprano singing a setting of a Beckett poem, and he used Krapp’s Last Tape as the basis for a small opera, Krapp, ou, La dernière bande. His memories of their friendship are recounted in the collected work Beckett at Sixty A Festschrift by John Calder, Calder and Boyars (1967).
A strong proponent of neoclassicism, during his career Mihalovici embraced a variety of contemporary styles, with a harmonic language ranging from chromaticism to serialism. Romanian folk music influenced his unconventional use of rhythmic variation and instrumental color.
Guy Deplus studied clarinet at the Conservatoire de Paris and received Premiers Prix in clarinet and chamber music. He was a professor of clarinet at the Conservatoire, and is now retired. He taught many French orchestral clarinetists. He was also one of the clarinetists who collaborated with Buffet Crampon on the creation of the Tosca, Festival and RC Prestige clarinets. Together with Pierre Boulez, Deplus cofounded the “Concerts du Domaine Musical”.He was a soloist in the Paris Opera. Deplus received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Clarinet Association (for “Outstanding Performance, Teaching, Research, and Service to the Clarinet).