Author Topic: Jean-Michel Damase (1928-2013)  (Read 4525 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Jean-Michel Damase (1928-2013)
« on: January 04, 2015, 06:24:56 AM »
Not expecting any replies to this (well, not more than 2000 anyway 8)). But, anyone know this? I impulse bought it a while back but have only just played it and only played the Symphony (1952). What a lovely work! I really recommend it. It will cheer you up, I bet if you are feeling low. I don't know much Faure apart from the Requiem and Pavane but apparently it shows the influence of Faure as well as Honegger (one of my favourite composers) and Roussel. Even my not-generally-classical-music-loving daughter commented on how much she liked it as she walked through the room where I was listening to it. It is an eloquent, melodic and charming work but not without considerable depth. I love discovering new music and this has been a lovely find for me:

"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

pjme

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Re: Jean-Michel Damase (1928-2013)
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2015, 07:56:53 AM »
I remember that, say 30-40 years ago, his name appeared quite regularly on France Musique. Not only as a composer, but also as an interpreter of Fauré, Ravel and others.

This website gives more information :



http://www.chezdamase.com/


Offline Fagotterdämmerung

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Re: Jean-Michel Damase (1928-2013)
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2015, 11:09:44 AM »
  Thanks for the heads-up!

  I have nothing useful to add as I've never heard of this man, but in general, I love second-rate French composers. So much first-rate music emanates from them.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Jean-Michel Damase (1928-2013)
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2015, 11:40:11 AM »
Thank you both for the replies. The website is very helpful. I have now listened to the whole CD and really enjoyed it; very eloquent and civilised music although the Symphony is quite special and I have already listened to it through four times with increasing pleasure. The darkly lyrical opening and  powerful closing sections are especially fine.
The Symphony reminded me a bit of the music of John Foulds, in works like 'April, England'. Ravel also came to mind.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2015, 11:50:24 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

pjme

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Re: Jean-Michel Damase (1928-2013)
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2015, 12:08:59 PM »
And You Tube gives us a chance to discover more:

Here Damase is playing his own  "Spring rhapsody"

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/2VQdM61L_gc" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/2VQdM61L_gc</a>

and his first (1949) pianoconcerto:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/PdhghrlBBAg" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/PdhghrlBBAg</a>

Peter

pjme

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Re: Jean-Michel Damase (1928-2013)
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2015, 12:16:52 PM »
Damase playing Fauré in 1956: subtil et vraiment poétique.. Beautiful!

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/Hu_CqZqsDWA" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/Hu_CqZqsDWA</a>

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Jean-Michel Damase (1928-2013)
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2015, 12:40:28 PM »
Many thanks for the You Tube extracts. I shall look forward to listening to them. Enjoying the Symphony again at the moment - can't stop playing it.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline chezdamase

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Re: Jean-Michel Damase (1928-2013)
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2015, 07:42:52 AM »
Hello Everyone,

I created and have maintained Chez DAMASE since 1997. I'm so pleased to read of people discovering and enjoying Damase's music and work. I spent some time with him and can say he was as generous, kind, and modest as his music. If anyone has any questions or comments, please feel free to reply or message me privately.

I'll share one of my favorites. A score that, in my opinion, should be programmed along side An American in Paris or Le boeuf sur le toitLa croqueuse de diamants (literally "The Diamond Cruncher" but best translated as The Gold Digger).

http://soundcloud.com/chezdamase/la-croqueuse-de-diamants

(Sorry I couldn't figure out how to embed from Soundcloud)
« Last Edit: January 07, 2015, 04:42:06 AM by chezdamase »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Jean-Michel Damase (1928-2013)
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2015, 12:48:35 PM »
Hello Everyone,

I created and have maintained Chez DAMASE since 1997. I'm so pleased to read of people discovering and enjoying Damase's music and work. I spent some time with him and can say he was as generous, kind, and modest as his music. If anyone has any questions or comments, please feel free to reply or message me privately.

I'll share one of my favorites. A score that, in my opinion, should be programmed along side An American in Paris or Le boeuf sur le toitLa croqueuse de diamonds (literally "The Diamond Cruncher" but best translated as The Gold Digger).

http://soundcloud.com/chezdamase/la-croqueuse-de-diamants

(Sorry I couldn't figure out how to embed from Soundcloud)

Hello! How very nice of you to contribute and welcome to the forum. I just bought the Dutton CD illustrated in the opening post and fell in love with the fine Symphony; such an engaging and charming work but also one of considerable power and depth with a movingly affirmative ending. In fact the whole CD is great. How wonderful that you knew Damase! I am not surprised to hear that he was a kind and generous-hearted man, his music has a definite human warmth about it and I shall enjoy discovering more of his music, including the download which you kindly posted. Best wishes, Jeffrey
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

pjme

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Re: Jean-Michel Damase (1928-2013)
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2015, 03:59:10 AM »
Thanks , indeed , for all the information on Jean - Michel Damase...Chez Damase.

I recently bought (2 huge and heavy volumes) the writings (1917-1947) of Dutch composer Willem Pijper - who was famous (and not always loved) for his critical points of view. Damase is not mentioned, but many now forgotten compôsers are. Do you like/study/collect composers other than Damase, f.i., George Migot, Marcel Delanoye,  Alexis Roland-Manuel, Henri Rabaud etc???
Pijper's writings offer an amazing and fascinating insight into the musical world in Amsterdam , Utrecht and Rotterdam ca. 1920-1935.



"Het papieren gevaar" - The paper danger

Peter
« Last Edit: January 07, 2015, 05:33:01 AM by pjme »

Offline chezdamase

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Re: Jean-Michel Damase (1928-2013)
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2015, 01:31:31 PM »
Hello! How very nice of you to contribute and welcome to the forum. I just bought the Dutton CD illustrated in the opening post and fell in love with the fine Symphony; such an engaging and charming work but also one of considerable power and depth with a movingly affirmative ending. In fact the whole CD is great. How wonderful that you knew Damase! I am not surprised to hear that he was a kind and generous-hearted man, his music has a definite human warmth about it and I shall enjoy discovering more of his music, including the download which you kindly posted. Best wishes, Jeffrey

It really does make all the work worthwhile to hear about someone discovering and enjoying his work!

There isn't much available – and most of it is chamber music – but for further listening I'd recommend:

Music for Flute, Harp, and Strings. Aside from the piano, Damase had an affinity and unique gift in his writing for harp and flute. The former as a result of his harpist mother, Micheline Kahn (to whom we owe a great deal, but few realize) and the latter a result of friendships with great flutists, including Jean-Pierre Rampal. (That France was, at the time, the center of the world for both instruments certainly didn't hurt.) The Quintet and Trio are early works and contain some remarkable writing, the Sonata for Flute & Harp is really a milestone, and the Variations on "Early Morning" are a great example of compositional form for which he had particular love.

Piano Music by Jean-Michel Damase by Nicholas Unwin. A recording that, more than any other available, best shows the range of his writing. Unwin is incredible, too. These are exceptionally demanding works and he makes them sound effortless.

There are other works available I'd consider essential listening, 17 Variations for wind quintet, which has been called a masterclass in writing for that combination; Sicilienne variée for harp; Sonate en concert for flute, piano, and cello; Concertino for harp and orchestra; Rhapsodie for horn and orchestra.

If you can find a recording, the 2007 production of his opera Colombe was broadcast on Radio France. YouTube has a couple samples, but they only hint at the joy of the whole work. The curtain hadn't closed before to ovations began, if that gives you any indication.

Well, that's probably more than anyone wanted, but I hope it's helpful.

Michael

Offline chezdamase

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Re: Jean-Michel Damase (1928-2013)
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2015, 02:19:45 PM »
I recently bought (2 huge and heavy volumes) the writings (1917-1947) of Dutch composer Willem Pijper - who was famous (and not always loved) for his critical points of view. Damase is not mentioned, but many now forgotten compôsers are. Do you like/study/collect composers other than Damase, f.i., George Migot, Marcel Delanoye,  Alexis Roland-Manuel, Henri Rabaud etc???
Pijper's writings offer an amazing and fascinating insight into the musical world in Amsterdam , Utrecht and Rotterdam ca. 1920-1935.

"Het papieren gevaar" - The paper danger

Peter

Very imposing volumes, indeed. I didn't know anything about those works. I've played a piece by Pijper, but it's been some time. I should look for more. Not surprisingly, I've found very little written about Damase by colleagues or critics.

And yes, I do indeed like/study/collect quite a few under-appreciated composers. In addition to those you mentioned, I'd add Jean Cras, Manuel Rosenthal, Dag Wirén, Henk Badings, Pierre-Max Dubois, and Eugène Bozza to name a few. I'm not sure you can include him anymore, but I remember scrounging for any little piece by Jean Françaix, too. Now, a fair share of his orchestral catalogue have modern recordings.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Jean-Michel Damase (1928-2013)
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2015, 03:04:27 AM »
Hello Everyone,

I created and have maintained Chez DAMASE since 1997. I'm so pleased to read of people discovering and enjoying Damase's music and work. I spent some time with him and can say he was as generous, kind, and modest as his music. If anyone has any questions or comments, please feel free to reply or message me privately.

I'll share one of my favorites. A score that, in my opinion, should be programmed along side An American in Paris or Le boeuf sur le toitLa croqueuse de diamants (literally "The Diamond Cruncher" but best translated as The Gold Digger).

http://soundcloud.com/chezdamase/la-croqueuse-de-diamants

(Sorry I couldn't figure out how to embed from Soundcloud)

Michael, I listened to 'The Gold Digger' with much pleasure and agree with your comments. It is very charming and enjoyable, bringing to mind, at times the music of Poulenc, Gershwin, Stravinsky and also Georges Auric's beautiful and magical score for 'La Belle at La Bête' which is one of my favourites. I have greatly enjoyed discovering the music of Damase although his Symphony 1 remains my favourite. Henri Sauguet is another French composer whose music I have enjoyed discovering,especially his deeply moving 'Expiatoire' Symphony. Jeffrey
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline chezdamase

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Re: Jean-Michel Damase (1928-2013)
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2015, 06:42:11 AM »
Michael, I listened to 'The Gold Digger' with much pleasure and agree with your comments. It is very charming and enjoyable, bringing to mind, at times the music of Poulenc, Gershwin, Stravinsky and also Georges Auric's beautiful and magical score for 'La Belle at La Bête' which is one of my favourites. I have greatly enjoyed discovering the music of Damase although his Symphony 1 remains my favourite. Henri Sauguet is another French composer whose music I have enjoyed discovering,especially his deeply moving 'Expiatoire' Symphony. Jeffrey

I'm so pleased you enjoyed it! Like much of his music, he wraps some quite progressive ideas in delightful disguises. I find that especially true of his approach to harmony within his very tonal language.

It's been some time since I listened to La belle et la bête – thank you for mentioning it. The same is true of Sauguet. I have several of his symphonies that I really should spend more time learning.

I'll include one more link to a Damase work that many have enjoyed, his Silk Rhapsody, commissioned for an silk trade event on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean. (Just the idea of that seems so far away.) It's very easy to enjoy and you can hear many ideas he wove into works throughout his career.

http://youtu.be/YWmEPKDPbk8

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Jean-Michel Damase (1928-2013)
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2015, 11:03:09 AM »
I'm so pleased you enjoyed it! Like much of his music, he wraps some quite progressive ideas in delightful disguises. I find that especially true of his approach to harmony within his very tonal language.

It's been some time since I listened to La belle et la bête – thank you for mentioning it. The same is true of Sauguet. I have several of his symphonies that I really should spend more time learning.

I'll include one more link to a Damase work that many have enjoyed, his Silk Rhapsody, commissioned for an silk trade event on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean. (Just the idea of that seems so far away.) It's very easy to enjoy and you can hear many ideas he wove into works throughout his career.

http://youtu.be/YWmEPKDPbk8

What an endearing piece (Silk Rhapsody)! This is a most civilised, enjoyable and humane work. Even my wife, who does not generally share my taste in classical music ( ::)), commented positively on it as she passed through the room where I was listening to it. It has a slightly 'Chinese' feel to it, as appropriate for the theme of the music, reminding me a bit of the music of Avshalomov, whose First Symphony I enjoy very much. Thank you very much for posting such an enjoyable work!
« Last Edit: January 11, 2015, 11:07:21 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Jean-Michel Damase (1928-2013)
« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2015, 10:44:19 PM »
Just to say how much I am still enjoying the Damase disc featured in my original post. I am now really enjoying the civilised, humane and touching Piano Concerto 2. Admirers of Poulenc and Ravel should enjoy this music which I find very touching and the Symphony is a powerfully affirmative work, notwithstanding a darkly ominous sounding opening.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2015, 10:46:19 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Jean-Michel Damase (1928-2013)
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2018, 12:45:26 AM »
Am still enjoying the wonderful 'Symphonie' (1952) greatly. It is one of the most charming and inspiriting works I know and always helps to cheer me up if I am feeling a bit down. Kyle (Kyjo) likes it as well.
 :)
« Last Edit: October 03, 2018, 12:47:08 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Biffo

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Re: Jean-Michel Damase (1928-2013)
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2018, 01:32:23 AM »
Am still enjoying the wonderful 'Symphonie' (1952) greatly. It is one of the most charming and inspiriting works I know and always helps to cheer me up if I am feeling a bit down. Kyle (Kyjo) likes it as well.
 :)

There seems to have been a flurry of interest back in 2015 and nothing since, until today. I have never heard of Damase so I tried Spotify, the Symphonie didn't show immediately so I listened to the Ballade for Harp and Orchestra - a pleasant piece. After a bit more searching the Symphonie eventually appeared but I will have to save it for later.

Offline pjme

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Re: Jean-Michel Damase (1928-2013)
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2018, 02:49:28 AM »
The symphony is on YT now - thanks to Gunnar Frederikson (lots of good music on his YT account);

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/YFQS4AEpaI4" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/YFQS4AEpaI4</a>

Indeed a well balanced , well orchestrated work that radiates warmth or has, at least, a general positive "vibe".

A very nice discovery!
Peter

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Jean-Michel Damase (1928-2013)
« Reply #19 on: October 03, 2018, 06:00:22 AM »
Thanks so much Biffo and Peter. Biffo I hope that you listen to it (it is not very long) and I'd be delighted to hear your views, whether positive or negative. Personally I think that it is a most endearing work - very charming but with a certain slumbering power which I find very attractive.

Thanks again.
Jeffrey
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).