Music Of Jean-Michel Defaye With Jacqueline Couchard – soprano, Pierre Germaine – baritone, Rene Lenoty – Tenor With The Lyric Orchestra Of French Radio – 1952 – Past Daily Weekend Gramophone.

Jean-Michel Defaye – known more for his work with the Poet/songwriter Léo Ferré than his serious work – but still well known and well regarded in his native France.

Jean-Michel Defaye: La sotie de la dame qui fut muette – 2nd Place Winner, Prix du Rome, 1952 – soloists, Lyric Orchestra of ORTF, Eugéne Bigot, conductor.

As a sort of companion to the Cantata I ran a few weeks ago (the first place winner of the Prix de Rome in 1952 from Alain Weber), this is the second place winner, featuring La sotie de la dame qui fut muette – the very same Libretto only this time the music is by Jean-Michel Defaye, with soloists Jacqueline Couchard, Pierre Germaine, Baritone and René Lenoty, Tenor. The Orchestra is also conducted by Eugéne Bigot.

Best known for his film music and, in variety, his many arrangements for Léo Ferré, Juliette Gréco, Guy Béart, Les Frères Jacques and others, although he composed a large number of classical works, Jean -Michel Defaÿ, dit Defaye was born in the Paris region, in Saint-Mandé (Val-de-Marne), on September 18, 1932. Ten years later, in 1942, he entered the National Conservatory of Music in Paris in the music theory and piano classes. Barely 13 years old, a fact rare enough to be underlined, he was admitted to the harmony class (Henri Challan) as well as to the counterpoint and fugue class (Noël Gallon), disciplines in which he obtained 1st prize. He also follows the lessons of Nadia Boulanger, who, back from the United States, recently took the class of piano accompaniment. A little later, Tony Aubin welcomed him into his composition class, and after obtaining a 1st prize, he entered the Prix de Rome competition in 1952. This year the subject is The Sotie of the lady who was mute, a lyrical scene by Randal L. Escalada which earned him the first second Grand Prize, behind Alain Weber, another student of Tony Aubin, Jean Aubain and Jacques Albrespic winning the second second Grand Prize tied. In June 1952, during the performance of the cantatas of the 6 candidates (Jean Lemaire and Jacques Castérède in addition to the 4 mentioned above) performed by the Orchester Radio-Symphonique conducted by Eugène Bigot, the music critic and musicographer Claude Chamfray wrote concerning Defaye that he “had been able to underline the character of the characters. We appreciated its sarcastic beginning, its lively and light conclusion. There is substance in his music,” adding in the introduction that the six composers “showed science rather than inspiration, correctness in writing, rather than personality. But the Prix de Rome Competition is not the Salon des Indépendants. Even less an avant-garde exhibition. »[ Le Guide du concert , June 27, 1952, p. 364]

Here is that rare, almost never performed work from the pen of Jean-Michel Defaye in this Radio performance from ORTF in Paris sometime around June of 1952.

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