Darasse, Xavier

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Darasse, Xavier

Darasse, Xavier , French composer, pedagogue, and organist; b. Toulouse, Sept. 3, 1934; d. there, Nov. 24, 1992. He was reared in a musical family. His mother was an organist, and it was the organ that Darasse studied before pursuing training at the Paris Cons. Among his mentors there was Olivier Messiaen, with whom he studied analysis. Darasse was active as an organist until an accident in 1976 compelled him to concentrate on composition and teaching. From 1985 to 1991 he was prof. of organ at the Lyons Cons. In 1991 he became director of the Paris Cons. The organ played an important role in Darasse’s approach to composition. It was his intent to explore its capacities as a wind instrument with a judicious handling of registration and color. He also wrote much vocal music of estimable quality. His opera Portrait de Dorian Gray was left unfinished at his death.


DRAMATIC Monsieur Bonhomme et les Incendiaires, musique de scene after Max Frisch (Toulouse, May 15, 1967); Les Violettes, musique de scene after Georges Schehade (1967); Rugby dans le cuir, film music (1987); Portrait de Dorian Gray, opera after Wilde (1990–92; unfinished). ORCH.: Antagonisme III (Toulouse, June 27, 1968); L’Instant d’après, sym. for 23 Winds (1977; Radio France, Paris, Feb. 11, 1978); Instants éclatés (Schweinfurt, Nov. 16, 1983); Instants passés (Paris, April 7, 1989). CHAMBER : Antagonisme II for 6 Instruments (Paris, June 1966) and IV for 2 Trumpets and 3 Trombones (1972; also for Horn, 2 Trumpets, and Trombone, 1976); Organum Vlll-In memoriam Jean-Pierre Guézec for Wind Quintet, Organ, and Percussion (Metz, Nov. 25, 1972) and IV for 2 Percussionists and Organ (1981; also for Organ and 3 Percussionists, Le Havre, May 30, 1981); Étude concertée for 2 Violins and Vibraphone (Boulogne sur Seine, June 20, 1979); Per sonare for Trumpet, Trombone, and Percussion (Toulouse, Oct. 3, 1979); Belles “Bells” for Carillon (1980); Dont’Lose Toulouse for String Quartet and Piano (Toulouse, July 1980); Trio for Violin, Viola, and Cello (1981; Radio France, Paris, Jan. 25, 1982); Carillons-De plus en plus loin for Clarinet and Piano (Blanc-Mesnil, Feb. 1982); Concert…tot ou tard for Piano and Percussion (Paris, Dec. 6, 1984); Magnificat for Organ and Chorus ad libitum or 2 Instruments (1986); Grazioso, hommage a Maurice Ravel for Cello (Montpellier, July 1987); Musiques pour Santi-Paul Cap de Joux for Trumpet, 4 Trombones, and Percussionist (Saint-Paul Cap de Joux, Aug. 8, 1987); Septembre for String Sextet (Villeneuve d’Ascq, April 13, 1989); Actions for Wind Quintet (Eglise Saint-Jacques de Muret, Dec. 15, 1990). KEYBOARD: Piano : Etude (1978; Saint-German en Laye, April 8, 1979). Harpsichord : Masques I (Paris, Dec. 3, 1985) and 771 (1992). Organ : Trois Pieces (1961–62); Organum I (Royan, March 24, 1970), II (Paris, May 19, 1978), III (1979; Chartres, Sept. 21, 1980), V (Orleans, Oct. 30, 1983), VI (Paris, March 15, 1987), and IX (1991); Pedal-exercitum (1985). VOCAL: Le Charmeur de serpent for Voice and Piano (1945); Deux Melodies de Boris Pasternak for Soprano and Piano (1959); Quatre Discors d’amor for Soprano and Piano (1960); Les Rois mages, cantata for Tenor, Bass, and Orch. (Paris, July 4, 1964); Antagonisme I for Reciter, Piano, Marimba, Vibraphone, and Violin (Paris, June 1965); Les Visions de Cassandre, cantata for Mezzo-soprano, Bass, Chorus, and Orch. (Paris, July 3, 1965); Psalmus for Chorus (1970; Innsbruck, July 1971); Messe des Jacobins for Voice, Chorus, Winds, and 2 Percussionists (Toulouse, Oct. 27, 1974); Musique d’ouverture “Paix etjoie” for Soprano and Chorus (Paris, July 2, 1977); A propos d’Orphee I for Mezzo-soprano, Violin, and Percussion (Radio France, Paris, March 13, 1978), II for 3 Sopranos, Chorus, and 6 Percussionists (Breme, Oct. 10, 1984), and III for Mezzo-soprano, Horn, Percussion, and Piano 4-Hands (Radio France, Paris, June 2, 1987); Messe pour Montsen at for Soprano, Chorus, and 2 Pianos or Organ (Liverpool, July 15, 1978); Romanesques, “cantate nocturne” for 6 Soloists, Horn, 2 Percussion, and Chorus (Paris, Nov. 4, 1980); Psaume XXXII, Exultate for 6 Soloists and 15 Instruments (Paris, Nov. 15, 1985); Odes élémentaires “aux enfants de I’Essone” for Chorus and Percussion (1986); Organum VII for Chorus (1988; also for Organ and Soprano ad libitum); Mélodies pour le “Psautier des dimanches” for Chorus (1988); Messe pour les Paroisses for Chorus, Congregation, and Organ (Auch, Oct. 1989; rev. 1990 and 1991).

—Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire