Posts Tagged ‘pronunciation’


French Composers’ Names – Vincent d’Indy

Born in Paris from an aristocratic family, d’Indy studied with César Franck at the Conservatoire de Paris. He also hung out with Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms in Germany, and is famous for having created the Schola Cantorum de Paris in 1894. Cole Porter, among others, studied orchestration and counterpoint with d’Indy.

Vincent d’Indy

Vincent d’Indy was also on the wrong side of the Dreyfus affair

His two-syllable last name is composed of an i nasal (as in vin, pain, plein) resonating right behind one’s nose. The second syllable is just a long dee sound. Here it is:

Link to MP3 — ICIYL – Vincent d’Indy

And as usual, here is a nice HD video of the Berlin Counterpoint chamber ensemble, Sarabande et Minuet.

Vincent d'Indy Sarabande and Minuet – Berlin Counterpoint

Was it useful? Any other composer’s/piece’s name you’d like to see featured? Find us on twitter: @icareifulisten


French Composers’ Names – Gérard Grisey

The third composer in this French composers’ names series that was part of Ensemble l’Itinéraire (along with Tristan Murail and Hugues Dufourt) is another French spectral composer: Gérard Grisey. Born in Belfort (about 34 miles west of the German border) Grisey studied at Trossingen Conservatory in Germany before moving to Paris to study at the Conservatoire with Olivier Messiaen from 1968 to 1972. Other teachers include Henri Dutilleux, György Ligeti, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Iannis Xenakis. Not bad on a resumé.

Gérard Grisey

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French Composers’ Names – Marc-André Dalbavie

Our next installment in our French Composers’ Names series is one of the most exciting French composers these days,  as well as a US favorite. Indeed, Marc-André Dalbavie (born in 1961) has been commissioned by the Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as by Carnegie Hall (for Emmanuel Ax) in 2004 for Axiom.

Marc-André Dalbavie

Marc-André Dalbavie

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French Composers’ Names – Pierre Boulez

Bank holiday here in the US today (Columbus Day) so you will get two MP3s for the price of one. This week’s installment in our French Composers’ Names series is Pierre Boulez. Our London contributor, Steven Berryman, recently reviewed a concert at Southbank Centre and I figured it was high time to feature Mr. Boulez on this blog. I’m sure he’s thrilled.


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French Composers’ Names — Georges Delerue

This week’s composer might be more famous among movie buffs than concert goers. Indeed, in 1981, French magazine Le Figaro dubbed him “Mozart of Cinema” (Georges Delerue le Mozart des salles obscures)…

Born in 1925 in Roubaix (Northern France), Delerue studied with Darius Milhaud and Jean Rivier at the Conservatoire de Paris and started, soon after, what looked like a very promising career in concert music (I would love to hear his opera Le Chevalier de neige (The Snow Knight) based on Boris Vian’s play Les Chevaliers de la Table ronde.) Milhaud advised him to start writing for the theater, and later for movies. This led him to collaborate with a plethora of directors (French or not—he wrote the OST for Oliver Stone’s Platoon in 1986) from Nouvelle Vague auteurs (Truffaut, Godard) to more popular figures (Philippe de Broca, Gerard Oury, etc.) Delerue died in 1992 in Los Angeles.

Georges Delerue

Georges Delerue (1925-1992)

The French u is basically the only issue here, and should not sound like a oo. The two unaccented e in his last name sound like uh for English speakers. The final s in his first name and the final e in his last name are not pronounced.

Link to MP3 – ICIYL – Georges Delerue

I discovered Delerue’s music when I was living in Italy, and was really moved by the track below, part of the soundtrack of La Meglio Gioventù by M.Tullio Giordana (2003). I realized later on that it was originally Catherine et Jim‘s theme in Truffaut’s Jules et Jim (1962).

Georges Delerue – Catherine et Jim

A great recording of his music for Truffaut’s movies is available on Amazon (CD or MP3 download):

Did you know Delerue’s music? Would you like to see another composer featured in this series? Find us on Twitter @icareifulisten


French Composers Names’ — Hugues Dufourt

This week’s composer is Hugues Dufourt, another clever chap. Born in 1943 in Lyons, Dufourt trained both in Philosophy and Music at the highest levels. He was one of the directors of Ensemble L’Itinéraire in 1975 and founded the Collectif de recherche instrumentale et de synthèse sonore (CRISS) with Alain Bancquart and Tristan Murail.

Hugues Dufourt

Hugues Dufourt © Astrid Karger,

His last name features a pure ü and a pure oo sound next to each other. The French u sound, that I often write ü for people who might be familiar with German, is pronounced by saying ee while one’s mouth is in an o shape. Try it, it’s fun. The final consonant (t here), as often in French, is not pronounced. It’s just to score higher at Scrabble.

Here is the MP3:

Link to MP3 — ICIYL – Hugues Dufour

Here’s a video of the Amstel Quartet playing Dufourt’s Saxophone Quartet (1993)… I just love saxophone quartets, don’t you?

Amstel Quartet plays Hugues Dufourt

Was it useful? Any other composer’s/piece’s name you’d like to see featured? Find us on twitter: @tonalfreak.