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.
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.
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 (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.
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
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.
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.
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