Alain, Jehan


Alain, Jehan

Sarabande pour orgue, quintette à cordes et timbales

SKU: 4242 Category:



Jehan Alain – Sarabande pour orgue, quintette à cords et timbales

(b. Saint-Germain-en-Laye,, 3. February 1911 – d. Saumur, , 20. June 1940)

Jehan Alain was born on 3rd February 1911, at Saint-Germain-en-Laye in the western suburbs of Paris (this had also been the birthplace of Claude Debussy); he was the eldest of four talented children. His father, Albert, was a well-known composer and organist, and had constructed a three manual, tracker action pipe organ that rather dominated the family’s living room. Jehan studied piano as a child and then under his father’s guidance started playing the organ. He entered the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 16, and stayed there for 12 years, taking premiers prix in 1933 for harmony and fugue, and for organ and improvisation in 1939 after studying with Marcel Dupré. His composition teachers were Dukas and Roger-Ducasse. In addition to his rare musical gifts, Alain possessed many skills, including drawing (there are many pencil sketches recalling the draftsmanship of Jean Cocteau) and a flair for writing. He was a natural athlete, and a lover of beautiful places, in particular he gained inspiration from pilgrimages to the Abbey of Valloires in the Somme valley, and also from holidays spent in the Alains’ family retreat at Argentière in the French Alps. From 1929 to the end of his short life composition was Alain’s focus, with more than 100 works emerging from his pen. 1935 saw his marriage to a childhood sweetheart, Madeleine Payan, and they would have three children together. A year later Alain began to associate with a group of young musicians who called themselves ‘Jeune France’; this group included Jolivet and Messiaen, and it welcomed musicians from outside its membership to appear as performers at its concerts. As a ‘guest’, therefore, on 17th February 1938 at La Trinité, Paris, Alain premiered his own organ works, Le Jardin suspendu, Variations sur un thème de Claude Jannequin, and the middle movement of his Trois Danses – of which more presently. Afterwards one critic wrote that the works played ‘guaranteed to us the high spirituality of the young school of French organ composers’. By the end of 1939 Alain’s talent was beginning to be known in French musical circles, and several of his works had already been published. With the advent of war, Alain was called to the army in August that year, and took part in the Battle of Flanders and the evacuation at Dunkerque. After a few days in England he returned to France; he was killed by enemy fire on 20th June 1940, at Petit-Puy, near Saumur, while on a reconnaissance mission for which he had volunteered. …


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210 x 297 mm





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