Alfred Desenclos – Quintet for Piano and Strings – Marie-Thérése Ensemble – ORTF Broadcast – Circa 1952.
Music of Alfred Desenclos this weekend. His Quintet for Piano and Strings, composed in 1945 and given its premier by Marie-Thérése Ibos and her Ensemble shortly after. This broadcast, some years (it’s assumed 1952, but as is the case with most of these French Radio transcriptions, there are no dates, so it’s guesswork) later and after some 27 performances, Marie-Thérèse Ibos and her ensemble are giving it on the radio.
Desenclos was a self-described “romantic” whose music is highly expressive and atmospheric and rooted in rigorous compositional technique. To support his large family (he was one of ten children), Desenclos had to renounce continuing his general studies and work as an industrial designer in the textile industry until the age of 20, but in 1929, he entered the Conservatory in Roubaix, France, to study piano. Until that time, he had played only as an amateur. He was admitted to the Conservatoire de Paris in 1932, where he won prizes in fugue, harmony, composition and accompaniment, supporting himself by fulfilling the role of ‘maître de chapelle’ (Kapellmeister) at the church of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, in the 9th arrondissement of Paris.
His sacred music belongs to the tradition begun by Saint-Saëns and continued by Fauré. He won the Prix de Rome in 1942, the year in which he co-wrote (with André Theurer) the music to the film The Blue Veil.
Desenclos was the director of his alma mater, the Conservatoire de Roubaix, from 1943 to 1950 (where one of his pupils was film-maker Claude Chabrol’s favorite composer Pierre Jansen) and taught harmony at the Conservatoire de Paris from 1967 to his death at the age of 59.
Marie-Thérèse Ibos came from a family of musicians. Her mother, the violinist Geneviève Auber , was a sister of the composer Louis Auber and a student of George Enescu , her father, the cellist Jean Ibos , was a student of Louis Feuillard and played in the orchestra of the Opéra National de Paris , whose brother Georges Ibos was organist at the Saint-Honoré-d’Eylau church in Paris.
Ibos studied at the Conservatoire de Paris with André Tourret and Joseph Calvet and won first prize in the violin class in 1937. During the Second World War she was one of the founding members of Céliny Chailley-Richez’s piano quintet, and in 1949 she succeeded Ginette Neveu as first violinist.
She later founded the Marie-Thérèse Ibos ensemble, with whom she performed mainly on the radio in the 1950s and 1960s. The ensemble, which existed until the 1990s, initially consisted of the singer Marie-Thérèse Chailley-Guillard, the pianist Ina Marika and the cellist Reine Flachot, later Georges Schwartz took the place of Reine Flachot and Jacques Castérède that of Ina Marika. Her interpretations of Gabriel Fauré’s string quartets and the piano quintets by Armand Merck (with Yvonne Loriod ) and Darius Milhaud were remarkable.
In various formations, Ibos has given French premieres of works such as the piano quintet by Bohuslav Martinů, the Fantaisie pour violon et piano by Alexandre Tansman, the string trio by Alexander Tscherepnin, the Sonatine pour violon et violoncelle by Marcel Mihalovici, the duo for violin and viola by Conrad Beck and the concert dedicated to her and Annie Jodry for two violins and orchestra by Tibor Harsanyi. She also played the violin concerto by Alfred Desenclos dedicated to her and, under the direction of the composer, the violin concerto by Reynaldo Hahn .
I am relatively certain no commercial recordings of this Quintet are currently available and I’m pretty sure this performance has never been made available commercially either.
Enjoy, as always.