28 October 2017

A wonderful anecdote about Lucien Durosoir (about my enthusiastic discovery of this entirely unknown French composer of the generation of Ravel, see my blog post of October 11, and my review of his string quartets). I had lunch today with dear old friends, he a composer, she not particularly a music person. So we spent a long French lunch (but it’s Saturday, okay?) chit-chatting about this and that. Now, in the wake of my discovery of Durosoir’s quartets, I had ordered and have received the CD of his works for violin and piano, and I’ve been listening to it, first in an unconcentrated, “dipping into it” manner, in the car. First impression: fabulous music, confirming my enthusiasm for Durosoir. It strongly evokes the violin-piano music of George Enesco – and that’s a huge compliment coming from me, because I think Enesco’s violin-piano music is fabulous. Can’t wait to lend Durosoir’s violin-piano works a true concentrated listen and write a review.

So, I had been listening to those works of Durosoir while driving to my friend’s house, and at one point in the conversation with them, not that I thought it would be particuliarly interesting to them, especially since I had left the CD in the car and couldn’t play it to them so it would remain very abstract, but just because we were chit-chatting about this and that and a moment came when we had exhausted the subject we had been chit-chatting about, I mentioned my recent discovery of this great, totally unknown composer. I described a bit the biography of Durosoir, not actually mentioning his name, both because I was keeping it as a punch-line of sorts, and also because, well, who cares the name? It wasn’t essential to my story, the guy could have been called John Doe or Jean Dupont, it didn’t make a huge difference for my interlocutors. So I bla-blaed my way through the composer being a concert violinist, trained by Joachim, premiering Brahms’ Violin Concerto in France, deciding in the trenches of the 14-18 conflict, at the age of 40, that he’d become a composer, and indeed becoming one, but remaining totally unknown because living in total seclusion his a house in the Landes region in France’s south-west, and…

And that’s when my she-friend stepped in and said: “oh, yes, Lucien Durosoir!”

My jaws dropped to the ground, I was speechless, how could she…. I mean…. unknown composer… she not being particularly involved in music… WTF?…..

Turns out her parents come from the same Landes region and are acquainted with the Durosoir family, that the Durosoir son regularly organizes concerts in the Durosoir mansion there, the parents regularly attent and she’s even met the Durosoirs!

I mean… what are the odds? I wasn’t even going to mention Durosoir because I thought it would be of little interest to my friends… I don’t believe in anything like fate, and that’s why I love it so much when improbable coincidences occur (except when it’s a piano falling from the 7th floor exactly when I happened to be walking under…).

Among many other activities, I’ve been listening lately to music of Jacques Ibert, and enjoyed it a lot, his Concertos for Cello, Saxophone and various other works for small, predominantly wind ensembles. I’ve published my review already, but I need to complete it with some comparative listening.

Comments are welcome