Alain Bancquart – La naissance du geste pour piano et orchestre – Yvonne Loriod – Orchestre de chambre de la RTF, direction Serge Baudo. France, Paris, Maison de la RTF – 1962 – ORTF, Paris.
Going off the (somewhat) beaten path tonight. Admittedly, this post isn’t going to appeal to many of you, but those of you who are interested in music of the 2nd half of the 20th century might find this to be of historic significance. The music of 20th Century French composer Alain Bancquart as interpreted by Yvonne Loriod and the RTF Chamber Orchestra, led by Serge Baudo and recorded at the Maison de la RTF in Paris in 1962. It’s not clear if this is the first performance or first broadcast performance. According to the CDMC site, the premier took place in 1962 with the same orchestra and soloist, but the conductor is listed as Marius Constant, where the broadcast is listed as conducted by Serge Baudo. A mystery I am sure will be solved at some point.
Alain Bancquart was born in 1934 in Dieppe and has lived in Paris since 1941. A violinist and viola-player, he trained at the Paris Conservatory from 1947 to 1958. He studied the violin in the class of Gabriel Bouillon, the fugue and the counterpoint with Simone Plé-Caussade and composition with Darius Milhaud. Independently of the Conservatory, he completed his apprenticeship in compositional techniques with Louis Saguer up until 1963. A talented viola-player, he held the third solo viola desk in the Orchestra National de France from 1961 to 1973; this activity left him time for composing.
Alain Bancquart has done much to champion and promote contemporary music. In 1967 he began to study micro-intervals, working to integrate them in musical syntax, at times going so far as greatly to modify the scordatura of certain instruments. In the same spirit he created, with Tolia Nikiprowetsky, a workshop for instrumental music. This workshop, though short-lived (from 1969 to 1970), had as its aim the study of the problems of contemporary instrument making together with the relationships of instruments with contact microphones. Alain Bancquart was also the instigator of the creation of the Cdmc (Centre de Documentation de la Musique Contemporaine), and of MFA, Musique Française d’Aujourd’hui, a support body for phonographic recordings.
The French pianist Yvonne Loriod was for half a century the inspirer and accredited interpreter of the piano music of Olivier Messiaen, and for three decades his devoted wife. She was also a dedicated champion of the piano works of Pierre Boulez, André Jolivet, Jean Barraqué and Arnold Schoenberg, and an influential teacher.
Loriod won no fewer than seven first prizes at the Conservatoire, including one for piano in the summer of 1943, and studied composition with Darius Milhaud until 1948. But by this time she had decided to become a pianist rather than a composer and started on her successful international career in that year. Although she played Mozart often, including a cycle of 22 of his piano concertos in Paris within five weeks in 1964, her reputation was made in contemporary music, much of which was almost or entirely unplayed by others – one suspects as much for technical as for aesthetic reasons. Other first performances, apart from those of Messiaen’s works, included Boulez’s Second Piano Sonata (1950) and Structures II at Donaueschingen with the composer at the other piano (1961), Barraqué’s Piano Sonata (1957) and Jolivet’s Second Piano Sonata (1959). She also made a number of pioneering recordings in this repertory.
As I said at the start – not for everyone – so I won’t be offended if you skip this. But if you like adventure and you’re interested . . . .
As you know, we’ve suspended our ads in order to make Past Daily a better experience for you without all the distractions and pop-ups. Because of that, we’re relying more on your support through Patreon to keep us up and running every day. For as little as $2.00 a month you can make a huge difference as well as be able to download all of our posts for free (news, history, music). You’ll see a banner just below. Click on that and become a subscriber – it’s easy, painless and does a world of good.