Overlooked composer of the 20th century who went from Atonal to Political.

The French National Orchestra With Pierre Dervaux Play Music Of Jean-Louis Martinet – 1963 – Past Daily Weekend Gramophone

Overlooked composer of the 20th century who went from Atonal to Political.
Jean-Louis Martinet – French composer of the 20th century who went from Atonal to Political.

Jean-Louis Martinet – 2 Pieces for Strings and Percussion – French National Orch. Pierre Dervaux, cond. 1963 – ORTF Transcription Service – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

Overlooked composers of the 20th Century this weekend. 20th century French Composer Jean-Louis Martinet was a student of Charles Koechlin and Olivier Messiaen and much of his early works were of the Atonal school. But in 1950 he abandoned that approach in favor of a more conventional point of view. He migrated to Canada in 1970 where he stayed until 1976 before returning to his native France.

French composer Jean-Louis Martinet was born on November 8th 1912 in Sainte Bazeille, Lot et Garonne. He studied fugue with Koechlin at Schola Cantorum before attending the Paris Conservatory and studying composition wih Roger Ducasse and conducting with Münch and Désormiére, taking the premier prix for composition in 1943. He studied in Messiaen’s analysis class alongside Boulez and studied 12-note serialism with Leibowitz in 1945, similarly like Boulez. In 1945 he also completed his first large-scale composition – the symphonic tone poem Orphée – which derived its style from Messiaen, Debussy and Stravinsky. After this his style showed the clear influence of serialism, but in a very different way to Boulez. His style is more classical in its serialism in that it is much less richly elaborated in rhythm and colour. He was awarded the Grand Prix Musical of the city of Paris in 1952 and around this time he decided that in order to reach a larger audience, he needed to simplify his style. As such the works that followed were quite Bartókian in the frantic opening rondo and more like Messiaen in the modal lyricism of the closing slow section of the Mouvement symphonique no.1 – the first accomplished, tonal piece in this new style. He lived for a brief spell in Montreal where he was a professor at the conservatory between 1971 and 1976, after which he returned to France before passing away in Paris on December 20th 2010.

This weekend it’s his 2 Pieces for Strings and Percussion, in a radio performance by the French National Orchestra conducted by Pierre Dervaux and recorded around 1962. I don’t believe this piece has been recorded by anyone else, and I am reasonably sure this is the only recording available, which hasn’t been heard since it was first recorded. More rarities.

Something unfamiliar this weekend. Enjoy and read more about him.

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1 thought on “The French National Orchestra With Pierre Dervaux Play Music Of Jean-Louis Martinet – 1963 – Past Daily Weekend Gramophone

  1. fantastic to be able -at last- to be back to your great posts…..Dervaux premiered several pieces by Martinet. this good composer is almost forgotten today. MANY thx for this one. I never heard that piece.
    PS: Dervaux was a percussion player too !

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