Alain Bernaud- Nocturne For String Orchestra (1961) – ORTF Chamber Orchestra – Gerard Devos, Cond – 1964 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Over to Paris this weekend for another broadcast performance – this one the Nocturne for Strings, written in 1961 by Alain Bernaud and performed in this radio studio recording by the ORTF Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Gerard Devos.
I admit to not being all that familiar with the work of Alain Bernaud, although I should be. Among his many TV and feature film credits is a 1987 re-score to the legendary G.W. Pabst/Louise Brooks silent film Diary Of A Lost Girl. He has also composed the notable Hallucinations for Bassoon and Piano in 1978, which remains a cornerstone in 20th Century French repertoire.
Born on March 8th 1932 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Alain Bernaud was destined for a life in music, having a father who played both violin and viola professionally and a mother who played the piano to a very high standard. In 1938, the family moved to Paris and Bernaud began his musical studies, learning piano and music theory with Marie-Louise Boelmann. He attended the Conservatoire de Paris and studied under Maurice Delage, Déodat Séverac, Florent Schmitt, Paul Ladmirault, Émile Vuillermoz, Désiré Inghelbrecht, Ricardo Viñes and Tristan Klingsor.
His talent for composition saw substantial recognition in 1955 when he won second prize in the Rome Composition Competition and then the First Grand Prize at the same competition in 1957. His compositions range from chamber works to works for symphony orchestra. He has also composed works for French television shows and films. He was appointed the professor of music theory for instrumentalists at the National Conservatory of Music and Dance in Paris in 1963 and professor of harmony in 1971. He retired from these positions in 1999 and now lives in North Brittany, from where he continues to compose and revise some of his earlier works.
If you aren’t already familiar with the music of Alain Bernaud, I would suggest clicking on the play button and giving this one a listen. It is highly evocative and engaging.