C1569. ROGER DESORMIERE Cond. RTF S.O.: Divertimento for String Orchestra (Bartok); w.Géza Anda (Pf. & Jacques Neilz (Cello): Piano Concerto #2 in B-flat (Brahms). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-523, Live Performances, 1950 & 1949. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
"Roger Desormiere's teachers were extremely distinguished: he studied flute with Philippe Gaubert, orchestration with Vincent d'Indy, fugue with Charles Koechlin, and harmony with Xavier Leroux. Desormiere then worked as a flautist in various Parisian orchestras before making his debut as a conductor with the Concerts Pleyel in 1921. From 1923 onwards he collaborated with the group of composers known as Les Six, and was himself a member of the Ecole d'Arcueil, which was founded by Erik Satie, Henri Sauguet, Maxime Jacob and Henri Clicquot-Pleyel. He conducted the first performances of ballets choreographed by Massine with music by Satie and Milhaud at the Soirees de Paris, and composed the music for Cocteau's abbreviated production of ROMEO AND JULIET. After a year as chief conductor with the Ballets Suedois, he took the same position with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in 1925, staying with the company and touring widely until 1929. Among the composers who worked with the company and whose music Desormiere conducted were Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Poulenc.
In 1936 Desormiere became chief conductor of the Paris Symphony Orchestra as well as permanent conductor at the OpÃ©ra-Comique, Paris; here he refreshed the repertoire with operas by Chabrier, Ravel and Richard Strauss, and in 1942 led a legendary production of Debussy's PELLEAS ET MELISANDE with Irene Joachim and Jacques Jansen. He had recorded the opera with the same principals earlier in 1941, and this performance has maintained a prominent place in the catalogue ever since, fully justifying its own legendary status. Between 1944 and 1946 he was the director of the OpÃ©ra-Comique, Paris, and during 1945-1946 he was also associate director of the Paris OpÃ©ra.
The importance of Desormiere to contemporary French music cannot be overestimated: he conducted the first performances of such notable works as THE PRODIGAL SON, by Prokofiev (1928), ACTION DE GRACE and TROIS PETITES LITURGIES DE LA PRESENCE DIVINE by Messiaen (1936 and 1945), the Organ Concerto of Poulenc (1939), the Symphony in Three Movements by Stravinsky (1946), LE SOLEIL DES EAUX by Pierre Boulez (1950), and Henri Dutilleux's Symphony #1 (1951).
After his death many paid tribute to Desormiere's generosity of character and distinguished musicianship, perhaps none more eloquently than the composer Olivier Messiaen, who said, 'I shall never forget that, in my youth, he was truly the friend of composers, and the conductor'."
- David Patmore, A - Z of Conductors
"[Anda] was a superb musician, if not always a dead-accurate technician, who excelled particularly in works that demanded and drew from him crisp, rhythmically incisive, some might even say steely and brittle playing. Géza Anda was a fine artist."
- Jerry Dubins, FANFARE, July/Aug., 2004
"In an age of well trained automata set to shine briefly on the competition circuit, Anda's was a wholly personal voice backed by pianism and craftsmanship of a transcendental sheen and precision. Géza Anda's tragic death at the age of 54 extinguished a light that could never be replaced."
- Bryce Morrison, GRAMOPHONE, Aug., 2008