Louis Durey

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Portrait of Louis Durey in 1930 DureyLouis1930.jpg
Portrait of Louis Durey in 1930

Louis Edmond Durey (French:  [dyʁɛ] ; 27 May 1888 3 July 1979) [1] was a French composer.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.



Louis Durey was born in Paris, the son of a local businessman. It was not until he was nineteen years old that he chose to pursue a musical career after hearing a performance of a Claude Debussy work. As a composer he was primarily self-taught. From the beginning, choral music was of great importance in Durey’s productivity. His L'Offrande Lyrique (1914) has been called the first piece of French twelve-tone music. [2] The first of his works to gain recognition in the music world was for a piano duet titled Carillons. At a 1918 concert this work attracted the interest of Maurice Ravel, who recommended him to his publisher.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.

Claude Debussy 19th and 20th-century French classical composer

Achille-Claude Debussy was a French composer. He is sometimes seen as the first Impressionist composer, although he vigorously rejected the term. He was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Maurice Ravel French composer

Joseph Maurice Ravel was a French composer, pianist and conductor. He is often associated with impressionism along with his elder contemporary Claude Debussy, although both composers rejected the term. In the 1920s and 1930s Ravel was internationally regarded as France's greatest living composer.

Durey communicated with his colleague, Darius Milhaud, and asked him to contribute a piano piece that would bring together the six composers who, in 1920 were dubbed Les Six . This joint project was L'Album des Six . Despite the acclaim they received, Durey did not participate in the group's 1921 collaborative work Les mariés de la tour Eiffel , [3] a decision which was a source of great irritation to Jean Cocteau.

Darius Milhaud French composer and teacher

Darius Milhaud was a French composer, conductor, and teacher. He was a member of Les Six—also known as The Group of Six—and one of the most prolific composers of the 20th century. His compositions are influenced by jazz and Brazilian music and make extensive use of polytonality. Milhaud is considered one of the key modernist composers.

Les Six organization

"Les Six" is a name given to a group of six French composers who worked in Montparnasse. The name, inspired by Mily Balakirev's The Five, originates in critic Henri Collet's 1920 article "Les cinq Russes, les six Français et M. Satie". Their music is often seen as a reaction against the musical style of Richard Wagner and the impressionist music of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel.

L'Album des Six is a suite of six piano pieces published in 1920 by Eugène Demets, and written by the members of the group of French composers known as Les Six.

After the Les Six period, Durey continued with his career. Never feeling the need to belong to the musical establishment, he voiced his growing left-wing ideals that put him in an artistic isolation that lasted for the rest of his life.

Following the break with Cocteau, Durey withdrew to his home in Saint-Tropez, Var, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, in the south of France. In addition to chamber music, at Saint-Tropez he wrote his only opera, L'occasion. In 1929, he married Anne Grangeon and moved back to Paris the following year. In the mid-thirties he joined the Communist Party and became active in the newly formed Fédération Musicale Populaire. During the years of the Nazi occupation of World War II, he worked with the French Resistance as a prominent member of the Front National des Musiciens and wrote anti-fascist songs. After the war he embraced hard-line communism and his uncompromising political attitudes hindered his career. Needing to earn a living, in 1950 he accepted the post of music critic for a communist newspaper in Paris.

Saint-Tropez Commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Saint-Tropez is a town on the French Riviera, 100 kilometres west of Nice in the Var department of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of southeastern France.

Var (department) Department of France

Var is a department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in Southeastern France. It takes its name from the river Var, which flowed along its eastern boundary, until the boundary was moved in 1860. The Var department is bordered on the east by the department of Alpes-Maritimes, to the west by Bouches-du-Rhône, to the north of the river Verdon by the department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and to the south by the Mediterranean Sea.

Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur Administrative region of France

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur is one of the 18 administrative regions of France. Its capital is Marseille. The region is roughly coterminous with the former French province of Provence, with the addition of the following adjacent areas: the former papal territory of Avignon, known as Comtat Venaissin; the former Sardinian-Piedmontese county of Nice, whose coastline is known in English as the French Riviera, and in French as the Côte d'Azur; and the southeastern part of the former French province of Dauphiné, in the French Alps. Previously known by the acronym PACA, the region officially adopted the name Région Sud in December 2017. 4,935,576 people live in the region according to the 2012 census.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s he continued to compose but produced nothing of significance. His work on Vietnamese themes in the 1960s, based on his disgust with the turmoil France had left in Vietnam (formerly French Indochina) and the ensuing Vietnam War, seemed at that time in Paris to be a voice in the wilderness. He set poems by Ho Chi Minh and Mao Zedong. Other works include a string quartet, a flute sonatina, and Images à Crusoe. [2]

Vietnam Country in Southeast Asia

Vietnam, officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula. With an estimated 94.6 million inhabitants as of 2016, it is the 15th most populous country in the world. Vietnam is bordered by China to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west, part of Thailand to the southwest, and the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia across the South China Sea to the east and southeast. Its capital city has been Hanoi since the reunification of North and South Vietnam in 1976, while its most populous city is Ho Chi Minh City.

French Indochina Federal state in Southeast Asia

French Indochina, officially known as the Indochinese Union after 1887 and the Indochinese Federation after 1947, was a grouping of French colonial territories in Southeast Asia.

Vietnam War 1955–1975 conflict in Vietnam

The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, and in Vietnam as the Resistance War Against America or simply the American War, was an undeclared war in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was officially fought between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. North Vietnam was supported by the Soviet Union, China, and other communist allies; South Vietnam was supported by the United States, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand and other anti-communist allies. The war is considered a Cold War-era proxy war from some US perspectives. It lasted some 19 years with direct U.S. involvement ending in 1973 following the Paris Peace Accords, and included the Laotian Civil War and the Cambodian Civil War, resulting in all three countries becoming communist states in 1975.

Probably the least remembered of Les Six, Louis Durey died at Saint-Tropez in 1979. [1]

Piano works

1916-8Op.7Deux pieces pour piano a quatre mains, "Carillons" (1916) and "Neige" (1918)
1917Op.9Scenes de Cirque
1919Op.21Romance sans paroles (for L'Album des Six )
1920Op.26Trois Preludes
1920Op.28Prelude et Élégie
1921Op.29Deux études
1921(?)Op.30Le Blé en herbe
1926Op.36Trois sonatines
1928Op.40Nocturne en Re bémol
1924-8Op.41Dix Inventions
1951Op.68Dix Basquaises
1953Op.75Six Pieces "L'Automne 53"
1956-7Op.83Concertino pour piano, seize instruments a vent, contrebasse et timbales


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