World Premiers this weekend. The French Composer/painter/poet/writer Georges Migot (1891-1976) and the premier of his Piano Concerto, completed in 1962 and given its world premier with this performance on June 26, 1964. Captured for posterity by ORTF in Paris and featuring that network’s symphony Orchestra led by Manuel Rosenthal.
A little background on Georges Migot by way of the Larousse Encyclopedia (gist translation, so . . .):
Of Franche-Comté descent, open to all forms of culture, he woke up early to music, composing a Christmas at fifteen. Admitted to the Conservatoire in 1909 in the composition class of C. M. Widor, he assisted as a listener in all the instrumental classes and took lessons in the history of music from Emmanuel.
Mobilized in 1914, he was seriously wounded in August and after a long recovery, resumed his studies that came to crown the awards Lily-Boulanger (1918), Lepaulle (1919) and Halphen (1920). Finally, in 1921, the prize of the Blumenthal Foundation for Thought and French Art was awarded to him for his entire work, which already included some of his most important chamber music scores (Trio, Quintette ) and symphonic music (the Agrestides). His ballet Hagoromo was premiered at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo (1922). His Two Steles, on poems by Segalen (1925), confirmed his interest in the arts of the Far East. But the French tradition remained for him essential, and he affirmed it not only by writing a book on Jean-Philippe Rameau (1930), but by composing his Book of danceries for orchestra (1929). The work of Georges Migot reached its full maturity with the Zodiac, 12 concert studies for piano (1931-32), the 17 Poems of Brugnon, the poet Klingsor, for voice and piano (1933) and the Trio for violin, cello and piano (1935). Religious music then took on a prominent place: the Sermon on the Mount (1936), the Passion (1941-42) and Saint-Germain d’Auxerre, oratorio a cappella for solos and 3 mixed choirs (1947). The Little Evangelistic (1952), Psalm 118 (1952) and the Requiem (1953) followed. His language never ceased to tend towards a writing more flexible, more transparent, more stripped and freer at the same time.
Spiritualist, he was also an independent. His only official position was that of Curator of the Instrumental Museum, which was entrusted to him in 1949 and continued until 1961. His last years were enlightened by the fervor of a few disciples, but he was not much of a player. In 1973, the city of Besançon paid tribute to him by exhibiting his paintings and graphic works (because he was also a painter, and talented painter) at the Museum of Fine Arts.
The art of Georges Migot is that of a humanist who has never dissociated thought from technique. The personal language he has forged by using free melodic modes and harmonies that seek appeasement more than tension, the instrumental color he uses with the concern for the unity of tone (in the pictorial sense the term), the use of musical forms that exclude contrasts too assertive, all this is part of a religious vision, serene and sensitive to the universe. There is also, at home, the poet: his music has a delicacy of touch, a smiling grace that situates it in the best French tradition.
Enjoy the premier.