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Martin, Frank (Théodore)

Martin, Frank (Théodore)

Martin, Frank (Théodore), greatly renowned Swiss composer and pedagogue; b. Geneva, Sept. 15, 1890; d. Naarden, the Netherlands, Nov. 21, 1974. He studied privately with Joseph Lauber in Geneva (1906–14), who instructed him in the basics of the conservative idiom of Swiss music of the fin de siècle, and then had lessons with Hans Huber and Frederic Klose, who continued to emphasize the conservative foundations of the religious and cultural traditions of the Swiss establishment. However, Martin soon removed himself from the strict confines of Swiss scholasticism, encouraged in this development by Ernest Ansermet. In 1918 Martin went to Zürich, in 1921 to Rome, and in 1923 to Paris. He returned to Geneva in 1926 as a pianist and harpsichordist. Martin taught at the Inst. Jaques-Dalcroze (1927–38), was founder and director of the Technicum Moderne de Musique (1933–39), and served as president of the Assn. of Swiss Musicians (1942–46). He moved to the Netherlands in 1946, but also taught composition at the Cologne Hochschule für Musik (1950–57). His early music showed the influence of Franck and French impressionists, but soon he succeeded in creating a distinctive style supported by a consummate mastery of contrapuntal and harmonic writing, and a profound feeling for emotional consistency and continuity. Still later he became fascinated by the logic and self-consistency of Schoenberg’s method of composition with 12 tones, and adopted it in a modified form in several of his works. He also demonstrated an ability to stylize folk-song materials in modern techniques. In his music, Martin followed the religious and moral precepts of his faith in selecting several subjects of his compositions. In 1944 the director of Radio Geneva asked him to compose an oratorio to be broadcast immediately upon the conclusion of World War II. He responded with In terra pax for 5 Soloists, Double Chorus, and Orch., which was given its broadcast premiere from Geneva at the end of the war in Europe, May 7, 1945; a public performance followed in Geneva 24 days later. He publ. Responsabilité du compositeur (Geneva, 1966); M. Martin ed. his Un compositeur médite sur son art (Neuchâtel, 1977).

Works

dramatic:Oedipe-Roi, incidental music (Geneva, Nov. 21, 1922); Oedipe à Colone, incidental music (1923); Le Divorce, incidental music (Geneva, April 1928); Roméo et Juliette, incidental music (Mézières, June 1, 1929); Die blaue Blume, ballet music (1935); Das Märchen vom Aschenbrodel, ballet, after Cinderella (1941; Basel, March 12, 1942); La Voix des siècles, incidental music (Geneva, July 4, 1942); Ein Totentanz zu Basel im Jahre 1943, outdoor dance spectacle (Basel, May 27, 1943); Athalie, incidental music (1946; Geneva, May 7, 1947); Der Sturm, opera, after Shakespeare (1952–55; Vienna, June 17, 1956); Monsieur de Pourceaugnac, opera, after Molière (1960; Geneva, April 23, 1963). orch.: Suite (St. Gallen, June 14, 1913); Symphonie pour orchestre burlesque (1915; Geneva, Feb. 1916); Esquisse (Geneva, Oct. 30, 1920); Entr’acte pour grand orchestre (1924; also as a Concerto for Winds and Piano, and as the Chamber Fox Trot, Boston, Dec. 20, 1927; all based on the Ouverture et foxtrot for 2 Pianos); Rhythmes, 3 symphonic movements (1926; Geneva, March 12, 1927); 2 piano concertos: No. 1 (1933–34; Geneva, Jan. 22, 1936) and No. 2 (1968; ORTF, Paris, June 24, 1970); Quatre pièces brèves (Geneva, Nov. 21, 1934; also for Guitar or for Piano, 1933); Danse de la peur for 2 Pianos and Chamber Orch. (1935; Geneva, June 28, 1944; based on the ballet music Die blaue Blume); Sym. (1936–37; Lausanne, March 7, 1938); Ballade for Alto Saxophone and Strings (1936–37); Du Rhône au Rhin, march for Band (Zürich, May 6, 1939); Ballade for Flute and Orch. (orchestrated by E. Ansermet; Lausanne, Nov. 27, 1939; based on the Ballade for Flute and Piano; also for Flute, Strings, and Piano, Basel, Nov. 28, 1941); Ballade for Piano and Orch. (1939; Zürich, Feb. 1, 1944); Ballade for Trombone and Chamber Orch. (1941; Geneva, Jan. 26, 1942; based on the Ballade for Trombone and Piano, 1940); Petite symphonie concertante for Harp, Harpsichord, Piano, and Double String Orch. (1944–45; Zürich, May 17, 1946; also for Full Orch. as Symphonie concertante, 1946; Lucerne, Aug. 16, 1947); Ballade for Cello and Chamber Orch. (1949; Zürich, Nov. 17, 1950; based on the Ballade for Cello and Piano); Concerto for 7 Winds, Percussion, and Strings (Bern, Oct. 25, 1949); Violin Concerto (1950–51; Basel, Jan. 24, 1952); Concerto for Harpsichord and Small Orch. (1951–52; Venice, Sept. 14, 1952); Sonata da chiesa for Viola d’Amore and Strings (1952; Turin, April 29, 1953; based on the Sonata da chiesa for Viola d’Amore and Organ, 1938; also for Flute and Strings, 1958; Lausanne, Oct. 15, 1959); Passacaille for Strings (1952; Frankfurt am Main, Oct. 16, 1953; based on the Passacaille for Organ, 1944; also for Full Orch., 1963; Berlin, May 30, 1963); Pavane couleur du temps for Chamber Orch. (1954; based on the piece for String Quintet, 1920; also for Piano, 4-Hands); Études for Strings (1955–56; Basel, Nov. 23, 1956; also for 2 Pianos, 1957); Ouverture en hommage à Mozart (Geneva, Dec. 10, 1956); Ouverture en rondeau (Lucerne, Aug. 13, 1958); Inter arma cantas (Geneva, Sept. 1, 1963); Les Quatre éléments, symphonic études (1963–64; Lausanne, Oct. 5, 1964); Cello Concerto (1965–66; Basel, Jan. 26, 1967); Erasmi monumentum for Organ and Orch. (Rotterdam, Oct. 27, 1969); Trois danses for Oboe, Harp, String Quintet, and String Orch. (Zürich, Oct. 9, 1970); Ballade for Viola and Wind Orch. (1972; Salzburg, Jan. 20, 1973); Polyptyque: Six images de la passion du Christ for Violin and Double String Orch. (Lausanne, Sept. 9, 1973). chamber: 2 violin sonatas: No. 1 (1913; Thoune, July 10, 1915) and No. 2 (1931–32; Geneva, Oct. 7, 1932); Piano Quintet (1919); Pavane couleur de temps for String Quintet (1920; also for Piano, or for Chamber Orch., 1954); Trio sur des mélodies populaires irlandais for Violin, Cello, and Piano (1925; Paris, April 1926); Quatre pièces brèves for Guitar (1933; also for Piano, and for Orch., 1934); Rhapsodie, quintet for 2 Violins, 2 Violas, and Double Bass (1935; Geneva, March 10, 1936); String Trio (Brusses, May 2, 1936); Sonata da chiesa for Viola d’Amore and Organ (1938; Basel, Dec. 8, 1939; also for Flute and Organ, 1941, Lausanne, June 11, 1942, for Viola d’Amore and String Orch., 1952, and for Flute and String Orch., 1958); Ballade for Flute and Piano (1939; also for Flute and Orch., 1939, and for Flute, String Orch., and Piano, 1941); Ballade for Trombone and Piano (Geneva, Sept. 1940; also for Trombone and Chamber Orch., 1941); Petite fanfare for 2 Trumpets, 2 Horns, and 2 Trombones (1945); Ballade for Cello and Piano (1949; also for Cello and Chamber Orch.); String Quartet (1966–67; Zürich, June 20, 1968). keyboard: piano: Overture et foxtrot for 2 Pianos (1924; also as Entr’acte pour grand orchestre, as a Concerto for Winds and Piano, and as the Chamber Fox Trot); Quatre pièces brèves (1933; also for Guitar or for Orch.); Petite marche blanche et trio noir les grenouilles, lerossignol for 2 Pianos (1937); Huit préludes (1947–48; Lausanne, March 22, 1950); Clair de lune (1952); Au clair de lune for Piano, 4-Hands (1955); Études for 2 Pianos (Cologne, Oct. 28, 1957; based on the Études for String Orch., 1955–56); Étude rythmique (Geneva, Feb. 22, 1965); Esquisse (Munich, Sept. 1965); Fantaisie sur des rhythmes flamenco for Piano and Dancer ad libitum (1973; Lucerne, Aug. 18, 1974). organ:Passacaille (Bern, Sept. 26, 1944; also for String Orch., 1952, and for Full Orch., 1962). vocal:Trois poèmes païens for Baritone and Orch. (1910; Vevey, May 20, 1911); Ode et sonnet for 3 Treble Voices and Cello ad libitum (1912); Les Dithyrambes for 4 Soloists, Chorus, Children’s Chorus, and Orch. (1915–18; Lausanne, June 16, 1918); Le Roy a fait battre tambour for Alto and Chamber Orch. (1916); Chantons, je vous en prie for Chorus (1920); Quatre sonnets à Cassandre for Mezzo-soprano, Flute, Viola, and Cello (1921; Geneva, April 7, 1923); Mass for Double Chorus (1922, 1926; Hamburg, Nov. 2, 1963); Chanson du Mezzetin for Soprano and Mandolin or Oboe, Violin, and Cello (1923); La Nique à Satan for Soprano, Baritone, Choruses, Winds, Percussion, and Piano (1928–31; Geneva, Feb. 25, 1933); Cantate pour le temps de Noël for Soloists, Mixed Chorus, Women’s Chorus, Boy’s Chorus, Strings, Harpsichord, and Organ (1929; unfinished; completed by the composer’s widow, Maria Martin, and the conductor Alois Koch; Lucerne, Dec. 4, 1994); Le Vin herbé, secular oratorio in 3 parts (part 1, 1938; Zürich, April 16, 1940; parts 2 and 3, 1940–41; 1st complete perf., Zürich, March 28, 1942); Cantata pour le 1er août, secular cantata for Chorus and Piano or Organ (Geneva, Aug. 1, 1941); Der Cornet, song cycle for Alto and Chamber Orch., after Rilke (1942–43; Basel, Feb. 9, 1954); Sechs Monologe aus “Jedermann,” song cycle for Baritone and Piano, after Hofmannsthal (1943–44; Gastaad, Aug. 6, 1944; also for Baritone or Alto and Orch., 1949); In terra pax, oratorio brève for 5 Soloists, 2 Mixed Choruses, and Orch. (1944; radio broadcast, Geneva, May 7, 1945; 1st public perf., Geneva, May 31, 1945); Dédicace for Tenor and Piano (Geneva, July 6, 1945); Golgotha, passion oratorio for 5 Soloists, Chorus, Organ, and Orch. (1945–48; Geneva, April 29, 1949); Quant n’ont assez fait, do-do, song for Tenor, Guitar, and Piano, 4-Hands (Lauren, Oct. 9, 1947); Trois Chants de Noël for Soprano, Flute and Piano (private family perf., Amsterdam, Dec. 25, 1947); 5 Ariel Songs for Chorus (1950; Amsterdam, March 7, 1953); Le Mystère de la Nativité, Christmas oratorio for 9 Soloists, Mixed Chamber Chorus, Men’s Chorus, Mixed Chorus, and Orch. (1957, 1959; Geneva, Dec. 23, 1959); Pseaumes de Genève, cantata for Chorus, Boy’s Chorus, Organ, and Orch. (1958; Geneva, May 1959); Drey Minnelieder, song cycle for Soprano and Piano (1960); Ode à la musique for Chorus, Brass, Double Bass, and Piano (1961; Bienne, June 23, 1962); Verse à boire for Chorus (1961; Amsterdam, June 26, 1963); Pilate, oratorio breve for Baritone, Mezzosoprano, Tenor, Bass, Chorus, and Orch. (RAI, Rome, Nov. 14, 1964); Magnificat for Soprano, Violin, and Orch. (1967; Lucerne, Aug. 14, 1968; incorporated into the Maria-Triptychon); Maria-Triptychon for Soprano, Violin, and Orch. (1968; Rotterdam, Nov. 13, 1969); Ballade des pendus for 3 Men’s Voices and 3 Electric Guitars (1969; incorporated into the Poèmes de la mort); Poèmes de la mort for 3 Men’s Voices and 3 Electric Guitars (1969, 1971; N.Y, Dec. 12, 1971); Requiem for 4 Soloists, Chorus, Organ, and Orch. (1971–72; Lausanne, May 4, 1973); Et la vie l’emporta, chamber cantata for Alto, Baritone, Small Chorus, and Instrumental Ensemble (1974; completed by B. Reichel; private premiere, Montreux, June 12, 1975; public premiere, Lucerne, Aug. 24, 1975); a few other short choruses and songs, as well as arrangements and harmonizations.

Bibliography

R. Klein, F. M.: Sein Leben und Werk (Vienna, 1960); A. Koelliker, F. M.: Biographie, les oeuvres (Lausanne, 1963); B. Billeter, F. M.: Ein Aussenseiter der neuen Musik (Frauenfeld, 1970); B. Martin, F. M. ou la réalité du rêve (Neuchâtel, 1973); special issue of Schweizerische Musikzeitung, CXVI (1976); W. Misteli, ed., F. M.: Né le 15 septembre 1890, décédé le 21 novembre 1974: Liste des oeuvres: Werkverzeichnis (Zürich, 1981); M. Martin, ed., Apropos de...commentaires de F. M. sur ses oeuvres (Neuchâtel, 1984); C. King, F. M.:A Bio-Bibliography (Westport, Conn., 1990); D. Kämper, ed.,F. M.: Das kompositorische Werk: 13 Studien (Mainz, 1993); K. Schüssler, F. M.s Musiktheater: Ein beitrag zur Geschichte der Oper im 20. Jahrhundert (Kassel, 1996).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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