Durey, Louis (Edmond)

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Durey, Louis (Edmond)

Durey, Louis (Edmond), French composer; b. Paris, May 27, 1888; d. St. Tropez, July 3, 1979. He received training in solfege, harmony, counterpoint, and fugue from Leon Saint-Requier at the Paris Schola Cantorum (1910–14); he was self-taught in orchestration. In 1936 he joined the French Communist Party. During the German occupation (194CMt4), he was a member of the Resistance. He was secretary-general of the Federation Musicale Populaire (1937–56) and of the Assn. Franchise des Musiciens Progressistes (from 1948); he also wrote music criticism for the Paris Communist newspaper L’Humanite (from 1950). In 1961 he received the Grand Prix de la Musique Franchise. Al-though Durey was one of Les Six, he early on adopted a distinct path as a composer. His works owe much to the examples of Satie and Stravinsky. He was at his best writing chamber and vocal works.


DRAMATIC Judith, monodrama for Voice and Piano (1918); L’occasion, comic opera (1923–25; Strasbourg Radio, May 22–25,1974); L’intruse, puppet play (1936); Feu la mere de madame, radio score (1945); Chant des partisans coreens, incidental music (1952); film scores. ORCH.: Carillons (1919; orchestration of a piano duet, 1916); Neige (1919; orchestration of a piano duet, 1918); Pastorale (1920); Fantasie concertante for Cello and Orch. (1947); Ile-de-France, overture (1955); Concertino for Piano, 16 Winds, Double Bass, and Timpani (1956); Mouvement symphonique for Piano and Strings (1963); Sinfonietta for Strings (1966); Dilection for Strings (1967); Obsession (1970; orchestration of a piano piece, 1968). CHAMBER : 3 string quartets (1917, 1922, 1928); String Trio (1919); Sonatine for Flute and Piano (1929); Trio-serenade for Violin, Viola, and Cello (1955); Les soirees de Valfere for Wind Quintet (1963); Octophonies for 8 Strings (1965); Divertissement for 3 Winds (1966); Nicolios et la flute for Flute and Harp (1968). Piano : Carillons for Piano Duet (1916; orchestrated 1919); Neige for Piano Duet (1918; orchestrated 1919); Romance sans paroles (1919); 3 Préludes (1920); 3 sonatines (1926); Nocturne (1928); 10 Inventions (1928); De I’automne 53 (1953); Auto-portraits (1967); Obsession (1968; orchestrated 1970). VOCAL: Eloges for Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass, and Chamber Orch. (1917–62; also for Soli, Chorus, and Orch.); Le printemps aufond de la mer for Voice and 10 Winds (1920); Cantate de la prison for Voice and Piano or Orch. (1923); 3 chansons musicales for Chorus (1948); La guerre et la paix for Tenor, Bass, Chorus, and 8 Instruments (1949); La longue marche for Tenor, Chorus, and Orch. (1949); Paix aux hommes par millions for Soprano, Chorus, and Orch. (1949); Cantate a Ben-Ali for Tenor, Chorus, and Piano or Chamber Orch. (1952); 3 poemes for Baritone and Piano or Orch. (1953); W choeurs de metiers for Chorus and 6 Instruments ad libitum (1957); Cantate de la rose et de I ’amour for Soprano and Piano or String Orch. (1965); many other vocal pieces.


F. Robert, L. D.: L’ame des Six (Paris, 1968); J. Roy, Le groupe des six: Poulenc: Poulenc, Milhaud, Honegger, Auric, Tailleferre, D. (Paris, 1994).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire