Author Topic: Your Top 10 Favorite French Composers  (Read 10728 times)

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Offline Draško

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite French Composers
« Reply #40 on: January 28, 2018, 09:04:58 AM »
Des Prez
Lully
L.Couperin
F.Couperin
Delalande
Rameau
Alkan
Debussy
Ravel
Poulenc

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite French Composers
« Reply #41 on: January 28, 2018, 09:08:27 AM »
I suppose I’ll give my list now:

Ravel
Debussy
Dutilleux
Poulenc
Honegger (yes, he’s French despite what the music historians say!)
Saint-Saëns
Koechlin
Duruflé
Pierné
Varèse
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Offline GioCar

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite French Composers
« Reply #42 on: January 28, 2018, 09:34:00 AM »
This is the Swiss 20-franc banknote



 ???! You are selling one of the Swiss national heroes to France. Maybe king ubu has something to say... ;D

Offline springrite

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite French Composers
« Reply #43 on: January 28, 2018, 09:37:18 AM »
This is the Swiss 20-franc banknote



 ???! You are selling one of the Swiss national heroes to France. Maybe king ubu has something to say... ;D

Well, it's not like a knife-wielding Swiss Army platoon is gonna come across the border...
Do what I must do, and let what must happen happen.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite French Composers
« Reply #44 on: January 28, 2018, 09:46:11 AM »
Let’s see Honegger was born in France. He spent most of his life there and is recognized as a Swiss composer just because his parents were from Switzerland? That’s like saying I’m actually Irish because most of my ancestors came from there and totally ignoring the fact that I was born and raised in the US. I don’t buy it at all. Honegger’s as French as Béchamel sauce.
“Works of art creates rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Jo498

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite French Composers
« Reply #45 on: January 28, 2018, 09:56:02 AM »
Wasn't Mendelssohn in the middle of his career around that time, though?  Perhaps his case is different because of his family's conversion.
Mendelssohn was a different case because his parents had already converted and he was raised protestant christian.
But Meyerbeer (born Jakob Liebmann Meyer Beer) did not convert as far as I know and he had a regular musical education and career in Germany and Austria. Meyerbeer's father was an important figure in the ca. 1800 Berlin Jewish community and when his wife Amalia (the composer's mother) received an order from the Queen of Prussia the design of the medal was changed for her and the  usual cross replaced by a portrait of the queen.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giacomo_Meyerbeer#Early_years

I am not an expert on European antisemitism but it seems that the first half of the 19th century was not a particularly bad time. Moscheles also had already a successful career as a Jew but converted in his 30s to the Church of England.
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I knew the night had gone.
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Against the drums of dawn.
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Offline André

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite French Composers
« Reply #46 on: January 28, 2018, 12:40:12 PM »
Let’s see Honegger was born in France. He spent most of his life there and is recognized as a Swiss composer just because his parents were from Switzerland? That’s like saying I’m actually Irish because most of my ancestors came from there and totally ignoring the fact that I was born and raised in the US. I don’t buy it at all. Honegger’s as French as Béchamel sauce.

My cd collection is arranged by nationalities/country of origin or of settlement. I have put Honegger, Martin, Lekeu and Franck with the French. I do have a belgian section, which covers both french and flemish-speaking composers (Ysaÿe, Vieuxtemps, van Poot, Gilson, Jongen, Devreese, Meulemans, etc). Why, then, assign Franck and Lekeu (both belgian born) to France? Simply because they were francophones who settled in the Hexagon for the rest of their life (although Lekeu’s was very short). And also because I had a certain number of recordings (let’s say a critical mass, however small) from a lot of belgian composers.

In the case of Frank Martin, he is a pure swiss product, bicultural and bilingual (German-French). So, why not have a swiss section ? Simply because there’s so little composers hailing from there (Huber and Raff are others, and I put them among the austro-german composers). It’s an editorial/executive decision, then, not based strictly on facts such as what passport they held  :D.

In the case of Honegger, it’s not as clear cut as you say. He always kept ties to Switzerland, having started his musical studies at the Zürich Conservatory. He was 17, so presumably he had been sent to live there with a relative (I’m makin an educated guess here). He continued his studies, had most of his career and died in Paris. His 4th symphony is an homage to Basel, a swiss city at the border of both France and Germany. It contains musical references to geggenkusik, traditional carnival tunes from alemanic Switzerland. And it should not be forgotten that the name Honegger is strongly Swiss, not French-based. The Swiss central bank must have had good reasons to consider him one of their illustrious sons. You don’t bestow that kind of recognition on someone whose story, credentials or attachment to the mère-patrie could be questioned.

But, all things considered, the balance of elements plus the absence of a strong swiss musical tradition tipped the scale towards France, but strictly for the purpose of making a practical decision. I might have decided otherwise if I had, say, 20+ recordings of other swiss composers  :D.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2018, 12:45:12 PM by André »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite French Composers
« Reply #47 on: January 28, 2018, 12:47:25 PM »
My cd collection is arranged by nationalities/country of origin or of settlement. I have put Honegger, Martin, Lekeu and Franck with the French. I do have a belgian section, which covers both french and flemish-speaking composers (Ysaÿe, Vieuxtemps, van Poot, Gilson, Jongen, Devreese, Meulemans, etc). Why, then, assign Franck and Lekeu (both belgian born) to France? Simply because they were francophones who settled in the Hexagon for the rest of their life (although Lekeu’s was very short). And also because I had a certain number of recordings (let’s say a critical mass, however small) from a lot of belgian composers.

In the case of Frank Martin, he is a pure swiss product, bicultural and bilingual (German-French). So, why not have a swiss section ? Simply because there’s so little composers hailing from there (Huber and Raff are others, and I put them among the austro-german composers). It’s an editorial/executive decision, then, not based strictly on facts such as what passport they held  :D.

In the case of Honegger, it’s not as clear cut as you say. He always kept ties to Switzerland, having started his musical studies at the Zürich Conservatory. He was 17, so presumably he had been sent to live there with a relative (I’m making an educated guess here). He continued his studies, had most of his career and died in Paris. His 4th symphony is an homage to Basel, a swiss city at the border of both France and Germany. It contains musical references to geggenkusik, traditional carnival tunes from alemanic Switzerland. And it should not be forgotten that the name Honegger is strongly Swiss, not French-based. The Swiss central bank must have had good reasons to consider him one of their illustrious sons. You don’t bestow that kind of recognition on someone whose story, credentials or attachment to the mère-patrie could be questioned.

But, all things considered, the balance of elements plus the absence of a strong swiss musical tradition tipped the scale towards France. I might have decided otherwise if I had, say, 20+ recordings of other swiss composers  :D.

Certainly food for thought here, Andre.
“Works of art creates rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite French Composers
« Reply #48 on: January 28, 2018, 02:55:34 PM »
Yes, but despite his long period there, could you call him a French composer?  ::)

I think he was a composer who primarily benefitted from other pioneers of Polish miniature genres, particularly Szymanowska. That kind of influence made him a national Polish icon, surely.

Offline Christo

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite French Composers
« Reply #49 on: January 28, 2018, 11:10:40 PM »
My cd collection is arranged by nationalities/country of origin or of settlement. I have put Honegger, Martin, Lekeu and Franck with the French.
Nice to learn; my cd collection is arranged the same way. But with Honegger in the Swiss section (mainly Martin, Schoeck, Honegger and Wissmer, no Raff) and Franck in the Belgian (a bit larger because of all the Flemish nationalists). Even have a three cd Liechtenstein section (all three by Joseph Rheinberger  :D) and made a completely arbitrary - seperating Mozart from Beethoven - divide between 'Austria' and 'Germany' because an Austro-German section (I had one, at first) became too big. Also convenient are 'culturally autonomous' sections like Euskadi, Scotland, Wales, the Faroer, the Volga Republics - but not Quebec, I must confess  ;D)
… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Spineur

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite French Composers
« Reply #50 on: January 29, 2018, 04:30:49 AM »
I use the composer first name by alphabetical order.  Although M is the middle of the alphabet, the section A-M has more than 2/3 of the recordings and the N-Z section only 1/3 despite the very thick W (Wolfgang  :-*) section.
Except that there are so many first name that begin with an A in most languages, I really do not know why the imbalance is so large...

Offline NikF

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite French Composers
« Reply #51 on: January 29, 2018, 07:58:43 AM »
Chopin was neither French, nor Polish, nor Turkish, nor Icelander...nor whatever. He was one of the greatest "island" composers of all time. He shot out of nowhere, had no obvious antecedents, and carved his own path relying solely on his own instincts. He's as unclassifiable as it gets.

I like calling him French because he rose to fame there. I want to say he could've rose to fame almost anywhere where his talents would've been nurtured. But France it is. :)

I think this is a really cool and insightful post. Good stuff.
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Offline Christo

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite French Composers
« Reply #52 on: January 29, 2018, 08:28:10 AM »
Chopin was neither French, nor Polish, nor Turkish, nor Icelander...nor whatever. He was one of the greatest "island" composers of all time. He shot out of nowhere, had no obvious antecedents, and carved his own path relying solely on his own instincts. He's as unclassifiable as it gets.

I like calling him French because he rose to fame there. I want to say he could've rose to fame almost anywhere where his talents would've been nurtured. But France it is. :)
I'm afraid we're confusing nationality with nationalism, then. But nationalism was not a real concern to his generation of European composers/musicians, who normally held a more cosmopolitan/Europena outlook, the same applies to e.g. Rubinstein, or John Field, Liszt, Schumann. In other words: nationalism and national styles came one or two generations later, but that doesn't deny Chopin's Polish nationality as well as him being also French. (We even call John Field an "Irish" composer for good reasons, though there was no Irish nationality in his age, nor an Irish 'national' let alone musical tradition, nor did he live in Ireland or even identify with Ireland.)
… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

bwv 1080

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite French Composers
« Reply #53 on: January 29, 2018, 08:35:15 AM »
Solage
Grimace
Josquin
Rameau
Debussy
Messiaen
Dutilleux
Boulez
Dusapin
Murail

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite French Composers
« Reply #54 on: January 29, 2018, 12:58:16 PM »
I suppose I’ll give my list now:

Ravel
Debussy
Dutilleux
Poulenc
Honegger (yes, he’s French despite what the music historians say!) Boulanger
Saint-Saëns
Koechlin
Duruflé
Pierné
Varèse

Since I can’t have Honegger, and since his Swiss-ness has been heavily debated, I'll substitute Lili Boulanger.
“Works of art creates rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite French Composers
« Reply #55 on: January 29, 2018, 01:09:51 PM »
Sauguet
Tournemire
Debussy
Ravel
Koechlin
Magnard
Durufle
Damase
Jean Cras
Honegger (if allowed) otherwise Poulenc for the Organ Concerto.
"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).

bwv 1080

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite French Composers
« Reply #56 on: January 29, 2018, 02:37:57 PM »
On second thought, I will be more inclusive and include composers at one time under French rule

Haydn
Beethoven
Schubert
Rossini
Chopin
Schumann
etc.

Baron Scarpia

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite French Composers
« Reply #57 on: January 29, 2018, 02:48:09 PM »
Since there doesn't seem to be a hard and fast rule, the rule is apparently that if you put a composer on the list you are asserting that you personally perceive the composer as French. Presumably their cultural influences (both ways) have more to do with it than their passport. I originally left Honegger off (I don't remember if I put him back) because he struck me as Swiss rather than French (which implies a somewhat more eclectic set of influences). I did not make that choice based on a detailed knowledge of his background or biography.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2018, 02:49:54 PM by Baron Scarpia »

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite French Composers
« Reply #58 on: January 29, 2018, 05:49:16 PM »
I think this is a really cool and insightful post. Good stuff.

Thanks, Nik! Chopin could be from Saturn and I'd be happy.
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Offline Trout

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite French Composers
« Reply #59 on: January 29, 2018, 05:55:08 PM »
Boulez
Debussy
Dhomont
Fauré
Josquin
Magnard
Messiaen
Murail
Parmegiani
Poulenc