C2013. PAUL PARAY Cond. Orchestre National de la RTF: Canti del Golfe di Napoli (Rossellini); España (Chabrier); 'Rhenish' Symphony # 3 in E-flat (Schumann); w. JEAN-JACQUES KANTOROW: Violin Concerto #2 in e (Mendelssohn), Live Performance, 2 Oct., 1973, Salle Favart, Paris; PAUL PARAY Cond. Detroit S.O.: Die Hebriden (Mendelssohn), Live Performance, 1 Feb., 1962, Ford Auditorium, Detroit; PAUL PARAY Cond. Orchestre National de la RTF: 'Le Tréport' Symphony #3 in A (Cond. by the COMPOSER), Live Performance, 27 Nov., 1968, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris. [Paray surely was emotionally involved with his 'Le Tréport' Symphony as he sings along in particularly moving passages] (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-1136. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
“Paul Paray swiftly became known as one of the great conductors, a true ‘leader of orchestras’ and soon moved on to the renown Monte Carlo opera and the orchestra of the Opéra de Paris before becoming President of the Colonne orchestra, the most prestigious of Parisian symphony orchestras. Paul was in New York in 1939 when war broke out. Turning down an offer of safe and employment with the NBC symphony orchestra, he returned to a troubled Paris. In 1940 the Germans occupied Paris. It quickly became clear that collaboration meant prosperity but Paul Paray, a man of principles born in an elegant Normandy seaside town, would have none of it. In protest at the appalling anti-Jewish polices of the occupiers he resigned his presidency of the Colonne. His high profile in Paris made this a bold act dangerous lunacy but Paul had been asked by the Germans to do the unthinkable.
The Colonne orchestra was named after is creator Édouard Colonne. A Jew. Paul was ‘requested’ by the new government to rename the orchestra for himself; the Paray orchestra, to cleanse it of its Jewish past. There was more. Would he just give them a list of all the Jewish musicians in Paris? No, Paul would not. Paul moved out of Paris to exile in the ‘free zones’ in the south of France; Marseilles then on to Monaco. Many of the musicians he recruited for these depleted orchestras were Jewish, forced out of their jobs and homes by the Gestapo. In 1942 Paul also finally married his long term partner Yolande Falck, a beautiful girl from Alsace. A beautiful Jewish girl. In Petainist France this was a dangerous decision but Paul would not have politics dominate his heart.
After the war Paul Paray’s reputation as a leader and builder of orchestras became international. This suited him well as he was for a while a little disenchanted with France were ‘collabo’ musicians continued to prosper in spite of their shabby war. He began to take up opportunities away from France, but he did return. As a conductor Paul was described as a model of clarity and elegance. A description that also describes him rather well.
His stratospheric career is well documented as are his many well deserved honours which include: membership of the French Academy of Fine Arts, City Medal of Tel Avivi, Freeman of Detroit (he was resident conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for more than a decade and made it one of the best in the world), Freeman of Monaco and of Le Tréport, Grand Officer of the order of Grimaldi … the list goes on. In 1975 the government of France awarded him its highest honour, the Grand-Croix de la Legion d’honneur.
His brilliant career as a conductor rather overshadowed his first love, writing music and this did matter to him. Paul said ‘nothing can match the joy of creating’ and hoped in the future his music would be recognised. ‘Humanity is such that it is hard to accept that may exist two talents into a single being. I’m classified as conductor … My music, after my death, the future will tell what it may be worth , excluding any notion of fashion and time’ said Paul in a discussion with Jacques Chancel in 1978. Paul continued to compose throughout his life. Notably in 1940 Second Symphony in A, or ‘Le Tréport’. A thoughtful, romantic yet tumultuous piece composed after walks along the cliffs at Le Tréport a short time after the death of his father, Auguste. Feted around the world Paul never forgot his Norman roots.
Paul Paray continued to conduct and build orchestras into his 90s. After a unique, generous life Paul died age 93 on 10 October 1979 in Monte Carlo, shortly after conducting a concert with his good friend Yehudi Menuhin. He is still missed. In accordance with his wishes he is buried at the communal cemetery of Le Tréport, Normandy. Paul Paray left the world a rather better place than when he joined it.”
- NORMANDY THEN AND NOW, 19 April, 2014
“Of Russian heritage, French-born Jean-Jacques Kantorow received all his training as a violinist in the Franco-Belgian tradition at the Conservatoires of Nice and Paris: his teacher at Paris was René Benedetti, who had learnt at the École César Franck. This is reflected in his discography of over 130 recordings, which leans strongly towards the virtuoso repertoire often favoured by French and Italian players throughout history. Within five years of graduating with a premier prix aged thirteen, Kantorow started winning prizes at major international competitions, including the London Carl Flesch, Genoa Paganini and Geneva International.
Kantorow has held residencies with the Orchestre de l’Auvergne, the Helsinki Chamber Orchestra, the Ensemble Orchestrale de Paris, the Tapiola Sinfonietta and the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, and made guest appearances with ensembles including the Orchestre National de Lille, the Orchestre de Lyon, the Hallé Orchestra and the Bamberg Symphony.
Kantorow uses a quite strong vibrato and a depth of intention and tone that is immediately arresting, making his performances strongly communicated. His playing admits variety according to stylistic context in a way that shows considerable thought. Kantorow is a fiery and impassioned player, truly in the spirit of the best of violin virtuosity.”
- David Milsom, Naxos' A–Z of String Players