Tuesday, January 10, 2012
The radio is alive with the sound of Jolivet's music
In 1936 La Jeune France group was formed by the composers seen in the photo above, clockwise from top left Olivier Messiaen, Yves Baudrier, Daniel-Lesur with André Jolivet seated at piano. Messiaen's reputation has endured while the other three languish in obscurity. Which is a pity as the music of André Jolivet in particular - he was the only European student of Edgard Varèse - deserves to be better know. So it is good to see a mini festival of Jolivet's music on BBC Radio 3.
Performances are in the very capable hands of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by contemporary music advocate Pascal Rophé. Centrepiece of the festival is today's broadcast which has Jolivet's Third Symphony framed by music from Messiaen and by Henri Dutilleux. Shame that the programmes are consigned to the weekday afternoon ghetto where they are fronted by Katie Derham whose credentials include presenting the Classic FM Hall of Fame. However the pain caused by Ms Derham's presence is eased by contributions from the composer's daughter Christine Jolivet-Erlih and musicologist and Jolivet authority Caroline Rae.
Those looking for more details of the Jolivet celebration on the home page of the BBC Radio 3 website will be disappointed as 'Discover Steve Reich' is judged to be a safer option. In the mini-festival the BBC National Orchestra of Wales is performing three Jolivet works in three days. At the BBC Proms there have been three performances of Jolivet's music in 117 years, the last in 1997. How about swapping the Sound of Music for the BBC NOW playing Jolivet in the 2012 Proms season? More on André Jolivet in the my serendipitously titled 2009 post Avoiding the hazards of reputation inflation.
* I swear that my New Year's resolution was to be nice to the BBC and yes, it is good that they are devoting airtime to composers other than Mahler and Shostakovich. But why has the Radio 3 website banished all diacritics? The musicians names are Pascal Rophé and André Jolivet, not Pascal Rophe and Andre Jolivet. Presumably the need to be search engine friendly takes priority over linguistic accuracy and simple courtesy. Or is just plain laziness? - the BBC National Orchestra of Wales website uses diacritics. For information the rule On An Overgrown Path is diacritics in body copy but not headlines; a compromise which hopefully keeps both the search engines and scholars happy. Perhaps the Radio 3 management thinks diacritic is another word for a bad review?
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