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Seller: judaica-bookstore (2,068) 100%, Location: TEL AVIV, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 283516735080 DESCRIPTION : Up for auction is a BEAUTIFULY HAND SIGNED AUTOGRAPH of the beloved yet somewhat neglected Jewish gifted virtuoso Polish-French pianist and composer ALEXANDER ( ALEXANDRE )TANSMAN which is beautifuly and professionaly matted beneath an impressive reproduction PHOTO of TANSMAN writing a SCORE , Seated at his PIANO. The original hand signed AUTOGRAPH and the reproduction PHOTO are nicely matted together , Suitable for immediate framing or display . ( An image of a suggested framing is presented - The frame is not a part of this sale - An excellent framing - Buyer's choice - is possible for extra $60 ). The size of the mat is around 9.5 x 9 " . The size of the reproduction photo is around 5 x 7 " . The size of the original hand signed autograph is around 4 x 1 ". Very good condition of the original hand signed autograph, The reproduction photo and the decorative mat ( Pls look at scan for accurate AS IS images ) Authenticity guaranteed. Will be sent inside a protective rigid packaging .PAYMENTS : Payment method accepted : Paypal . SHIPPMENT : SHIPP worldwide via registered airmail is $19 . Will be sent inside a protective packaging. Handling within 3-5 days after payment. Estimated Int'l duration around 14 days. Alexandre Tansman (born Aleksander Tansman) (12 June 1897 – 15 November 1986) was a Polish-born French composer and virtuoso pianist. He spent his early years in his native Poland, but lived in France for most of his life. His music is primarily neoclassical, drawing on his Polish Jewish heritage as well as his French musical influences.[1] Contents [hide] · 1Early life and heritage · 2Career · 3Music · 4Selected works · 5Selected recordings · 6References · 7Sources · 8External links Early life and heritage[edit] Tansman was born and raised in the Polish city of Łódź during the era when Poland did not exist as an independent state, being part of Tsarist Russia. The composer wrote the following about his childhood and heritage in a 1980 letter to an American researcher: "... my father's family came from Pinsk and I knew of a famous rabbi related to him. My father died very young, and there were certainly two, or more branches of the family, as ours was quite wealthy: we had in Lodz several domestics, two governesses (French and German) living with us etc. My father had a sister who settled in Israel and married there. I met her family on my [concert] tours in Israel. ... My family was, as far as religion is concerned, quite liberal, not practicing. My mother was the daughter of Prof. Leon Gourvitch, quite a famous man."[citation needed] Career[edit] Though he began his musical studies at the Łódź Conservatory, his doctoral study was in law at the University of Warsaw. Shortly after completing his studies, Tansman moved to Paris, where his musical ideas were accepted and encouraged by mentors and musical influences Igor Stravinsky and Maurice Ravel, as opposed to the more conservative musical climate in his native Poland. While in Paris, Tansman associated with a crowd of foreign-born musicians known as the École de Paris; though Honegger and Milhaud tried to persuade him to join Les Six, he declined, stating a need for creative independence. Tansman later wrote a biography of Stravinsky that was extremely well received. Tansman always described himself as a Polish composer, though he spoke French at home and married a French pianist, Colette Cras, daughter of the French composer Jean Cras. In 1941, fleeing Europe as his Jewish background put him in danger with Hitler's rise to power, he moved to Los Angeles (thanks to the efforts of his friend Charlie Chaplin in getting him a visa), where he made the acquaintance of Arnold Schoenberg. Tansman composed the score for at least two Hollywood movies: Flesh and Fantasy, starring Barbara Stanwyck, and a biopic of the Australian medical researcher Sister Elizabeth Kenny, starring Rosalind Russell. He scored six films in all. For the 1946 Academy Awards ceremony, he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture, for Paris Underground. There was a huge field of 21 nominations, and the winner was Miklós Rózsa for Spellbound. Though Alexandre Tansman returned to Paris after the war, his disappearance from the European musical scene left him behind the musical currents of the time, and no longer fresh in the minds of the public, which slowed his previously fast-rising career. No longer in tune with the French fashions, which had moved on to the avant-garde style, Tansman returned to his musical roots, drawing on his Jewish and Polish background to create some of his greatest works. During this time he began to reestablish connections to Poland, though his career and family kept him in France, where he lived until his death in Paris in 1986. According to the Paris-based Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs, Tansman used the name "Stan Alson" when he composed jazz music. Today the Alexandre Tansman Competition for promising musicians is held in his honour every other year in his birthplace of Łódź, in order to promote his music and the local culture. Notable students include Yüksel Koptagel, Turkish composer and pianist. Music[edit] Tansman was not only an internationally recognized composer, but was also a virtuoso pianist. From 1932–33 Tansman performed worldwide for audiences includingEmperor Hirohito of Japan and Mahatma Gandhi; he was regarded as one of the greatest Polish musicians. Later he performed five concert tours in the United States, including as a soloist under Serge Koussevitsky with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, as well as having a thriving career in France as a concert performer. Tansman's music is written in the French neoclassical style of his adopted home, and the Polish styles of his birthplace, drawing on his Jewish heritage. Already on the edge of musical thought when he left Poland (critics questioned his chromatic and sometimes polytonal writing), he adopted the extended harmonies of Ravel in his work and later was compared to Alexander Scriabin in his departure from conventional tonality. One of Tansman's letters states that "it is obvious that I owe much to France, but anyone who has ever heard my compositions cannot have doubt that I have been, am and forever will be a Polish composer."[citation needed] After Chopin, Tansman may be the leading proponent of traditional Polish forms such as the polonaise and the mazurka; they were inspired by and often written in homage to Chopin.[citation needed] For these pieces, which ranged from lighthearted miniatures to virtuoso showpieces, Tansman drew on traditional Polish folk themes and adapted them to his distinctive neoclassical style. However, he did not write straight settings of the folk songs themselves, as he states in a radio interview: "I have never used an actual Polish folk song in its original form, nor have I tried to reharmonize one. I find that modernizing a popular song spoils it. It must be preserved in its original harmonization."[citation needed] He is perhaps best known for his guitar pieces, mostly written for Andrés Segovia — in particular the Suite in modo polonico (1962), a collection of Polish dances. Segovia frequently performed the work in recordings and on tour; it is today part of the standard repertoire. Tansman's music has been performed by musicians such as Segovia, Walter Gieseking, José Iturbi, Jane Bathori, Joseph Szigeti, Pablo Casals, Gregor Piatigorsky, Igor Zubkovsky, Christopher Parkening. Most recentlyChandos Records has increased his profile with the start of a series of his orchestral works, recorded by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Oleg Caetani. Selected works[edit] Tansman's many hundreds of compositions include: · Petite Suite for piano (1917–19) · 8 Mélodies japonaises, voice and orchestra (1918) · Le Jardin du paradis, ballet (1922) · Légende, orchestra (1923) · Trois Pièces de piano (1923) · Piano Concerto no. 1 (1925) · La Nuit kurde, opera (1927) · Piano Concerto no. 2 (1927) · Suite pour deux pianos et orchestre (1928) · Suite - Divertissement for piano quartet (1929) · Cinq Pièces for violin and small orchestra (1930) · Concertino for piano and orchestra (1931) · Rapsodie hébraïque, orchestra (1933) · Fantaisie pour Cello & Orchestre ou Piano (1934) · orchestration of Federico Mompou's piano suite Scènes d'enfants (1936) · Concerto for viola and orchestra (1936–7) · Violin Concerto (1937) · Fantaisie for piano and orchestra (1937) · La Toison d'or (The Golden Fleece), opera (1938) · 24 Intermezzi for piano (1939-1940) · Valse-Impromptu for piano (1940) · Rapsodie polonaise, orchestra (1940) · Pièce concertante (Konzertstück) for piano (left hand) and orchestra (1943) · Adam and Eve, Part 3 of Genesis Suite, for narrator and orchestra, collaboration with Arnold Schoenberg, Darius Milhaud, Igor Stravinsky, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Ernst Toch and Nathaniel Shilkret, after Genesis (1944) · Partita no. 2 for piano and small orchestra (1944) · Concertino for guitar and orchestra (1945) · Isaïe le prophète, choir and orchestra (1950) · Cavatine, for guitar (1951) · Concertino for oboe, clarinet and string orchestra (1952) · Concerto for Orchestra (1954) · Hommage à Manuel de Falla for guitar and chamber orchestra (1954) · 4 mouvements symphoniques, for orchestra (1956) · Concerto for clarinet and orchestra (1957) · Sabbataï Zévi, le faux messie, opera (1957–8) · Suite, for bassoon and piano (1960) · Musique de cour for guitar and chamber orchestra (1960) · Psaumes, for tenor solo, choir, and orchestra (1960–61) · Suite in modo polonico, for guitar (1962) · Cello Concerto (1963–64) · Hommage à Chopin, for guitar (1966) · Suite concertante, for oboe and chamber orchestra (1966) · Concertino for flute, piano and string orchestra (1968) · Stèle in memoriam Igor Stravinsky, for orchestra (1972) · Les dix Commandements, orchestra (1978–9) · Musique pour harpe et orchestre à cordes (1981) · Hommage à Lech Walesa, for guitar (1982) · "Musique pour Clarinette Si flat et Quatuor à cordes (1984?) · film music: Poil de Carotte (1932), Flesh and Fantasy (1942), Paris Underground (1945), Destiny (1944), Sister Kenny (1946), The Bargee (1964) · 9 symphonies (1917; 1926; Symphonie concertante [Symphonie no. 3] pour violon, alto, violoncelle, piano et orchestre 1931; 1939; 1942; In memoriam 1944;Lyrique 1944; Musique pour orchestre 1948; 1957–8) · 8 string quartets (1917; 1922; 1925; 1935; 1940; 1944; 1947; 1956) · 7 Novelettes, for piano · Variations on a Scriabin Theme, for guitar · Sonatine, for bassoon and piano Selected recordings[edit] · Symphonies No.4, 5, 6: Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Oleg Caetani (cond.), Chandos. References[edit] 1. Jump up^ Pierre Guillot Hommage au compositeur Alexandre Tansman: (1897-1986) Sources[edit] · Caroline Rae: "Alexandre Tansman". Grove Music Online, ed. L Macy, accessed 21 Mar 05. (subscription access) · Anne Girardot, Richard Langham Smith: "Alexandre Tansman". Grove Music Online (OperaBase), ed. L Macy, accessed 21 Mar 05. (subscription access) · Polish composers: Tansman · Tansman competition biography ALEKSANDER TANSMAN by Maja Trochimczyk Biography Music: Overview List of Works Discography Tansman's Words Manuscripts Bibliography BRIEF BIOGRAPHY Aleksander (or Alexandre) Tansman (b. Łódz, 1897; d. Paris, 1986) was a composer, conductor, and pianist. He studied at the Lodz Conservatory (with Piotr Rytel) and took courses in law and philosophy at Warsaw University. In 1919 he settled in Paris where he met the leading artists of his time, including Maurice Ravel, Igor Stravinsky, and others. As a pianist he toured Europe, Canada, and the Middle East with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Serge Koussevitzky. His music was performed by the most famous soloists and ensembles of his time; his champions included conductors Stokowski and Toscanini. During this stage of his life, Tansman frequently described himself as "un compositeur polonais" but spoke French at home with his French wife - a talented pianist, Colette Cras - and two daughters (Tansman's first wife, also French, died early in their marriage). Returning to Warsaw was not an issue because of marriage and career requirements. Tansman was a world-famous virtuoso who frequently performed with the greatest orchestras and conductors, mostly based in France. After Hitler's rise to power, the composer gradually reclaimed his Jewish roots. Tansman survived the war in the United States (California). He remained an outsider at heart, observing the follies and vagaries of his host nation from an internal distance and with a slight dislike, much like Bela Bartók. In 1946, after a year's delay caused by his wife`s illness, the family returned to Paris. The decision to go home to France may have been ill-fated for Tansman's career. Nationalism and avant-garde triumphs in France coupled with a cultural isolationism in Poland, where - as an emigrant who remained in the West - he was not performed and not well known for years, caused a gradual disappearance of Tansman's music from the spotlight. His continuing adherence to the neoclassical style may have also contributed to his artistic isolation. Yet, he continued to compose music of increasing artistic merit and historical significance (opera Serment; oratorio Isaiah, The Prophet, orchestral Hommage ŕ Chopin, Rhapsodie polonaise, etc.). The need to reaffirm personal roots, which were earlier overshadowed by an allegiance to Polish culture and the cosmopolitan music world, resulted also in the creation of what Tansman considered one of his best works, the opera Sabbatai Zevi, le faux Messie (1958). While returning to his Jewish heritage, Tansman continued seeing himself as a Polishcomposer, keenly interested in the matters of his home country ["kraj rodzinny" in his letters]. Stylized versions of Polish dances, especially the mazurka, were a staple in his compositional repertoire; in 1980, for instance, he wrote a Mazurka for Lech Wa sa. In 1996-1997, the Year of Tansman, Poland saw many commemorations, including a special scholarly session and numerous concerts, held mostly in his home town, ód . A new organization dedicated solely to furthering his cause and promoting his music emerged under the leadership of Andrzej Wendland. The Fundacja Kultury im. A. Tansmana organizes the Tansman Performance Competitions and other events associated with the composer. Tansman's renewed contacts with Poland and Polish culture relied in part on a small group of musical friends, including musicologist Tadeusz Kaczy ski (d. 1999) whose correspondence with the Paris-based composer is now partly held in the PMC Manuscript Collection. The letters show a growing friendship and closer personal contactsindicated by changing forms of addresses (from "Drogi i Szanowny Panie" [Dear and Respected Mr.] to "Drogi Tadeuszu") and signatures, from "A. Tansman," to "Aleksander" and the intimate diminutive, "Sasza" or, once, "Alek." All the letters are written in Polish; many express a longing for the composer's country of birth and a concern for a place of his own in the realm of Polish culture. These 16 letters with 4 envelopes were donated to the PMC Collection by Joanna Kaczy ska. Returning to Warsaw was not an issue because of marriage and career requirements. Tansman was a world-famous virtuoso who frequently performed with the greatest orchestras and conductors, mostly based in France. The political situation in Poland was also a factor. In the 1930s a growing wave of anti-semitism swept through Poland; after World War II, the policies of the communist regime included provocations and mass persecutions (1946, 1968) coupled with purposeful eradication of the remnants of Jewish culture. In both periods, Poland was not a country that an established Jewish composer from France would want to return to. While living in France, Tansman did not seek out the Polish community for cultural companionship; instead, he enjoyed being a member of Europe's cultural elite, the international musical establishment. Since his arrival in Paris he was a protégé of Maurice Ravel, and a socialite, on friendly terms with the whole artistic world. After Hitler's rise to power, the composer gradually reclaimed his Jewish roots. Tansman survived the war in the United States; how did he find his way to California? After Hitler's army attacked France and the Vichy government began deporting Jews, Tansman's French wife protected him while they awaited for an American visa, granted thanks to incredible efforts of Tansman's friend, Charlie Chaplin. What was his reaction to his new country? He remained an outsider at heart, observing the follies and vagaries of his host nation at a distance and with a slight dislike, much like Bela Bartók. Their comments about how ridiculous the American ways were, are somewhat similar in tone - with an echo of a European feeling of superiority, and a contempt for the brazen and uncultured money-making business people. Yet, he thoroughly enjoyed his life in Hollywood, which he described as an ideal community of artists, a kind of a "little Weimar" (in an interview translated by Jill Timmons and Sylvain Fremaux and published online in Polish Music Journal, vol. 1 no. 1, Summer 1998. However, he was not able to adjust to the "American way of life", and in 1946, after a year delay caused by an illness of his wife, the family returned to Paris. The decision to go home to France may have been ill-fated for Tansman's career. The post-war years are marked by a growing artistic isolation of this self-proclaimed Polish composer, who distrusted avant-garde trends and remained faithful to the aesthetics of neoclassicism. Nationalism and avant-garde triumphs in France coupled with a cultural isolationism in Poland, where - as an emigrant who remained in the West - he was not performed and not well known for years, caused a gradual disappearance of Tansman's music from the spotlight. He continued to compose music of an increasing artistic merit and historical significance. The need to reaffirm personal roots, which were earlier overshadowed by an allegiance to Polish culture and the cosmopolitan music world, resulted also in the creation of what Tansman considered one of his best works, the opera Sabbatai Zevi, le faux Messie (1958). While returning to his Jewish roots, Tansman continued seeing himself as a Polish composer, keenly interested in the matters of his country; in 1980 he wrote Mazurka for Lech Walesa. He also enjoyed being a French citizen who could not live outside of his beloved Paris. We should conclude this brief foray into Tansman's life with the statement that he was truly an European composer. But, if you look up Aleksander, or Alexandre Tansman in theNew Grove Dictionary of Music And Musicians (no. 6, 1980) you will find out, in a very brief entry, that he is a "French composer of Polish descent". This definition completely overlooks Tansman's Jewishness and ignores the complexity and transformation of the composer's self-awareness. In 1996-1997, the Year of A. Tansman, Poland saw many commemorations, including a special scholarly session and numerous concerts, held mostly in his home-town, Łódz. A new organization dedicated solely to furthering his cause and promoting his music has emerged under the leadership of Andrzej Wendland. The Fundacja Kultury im. A. Tansmana organizes Tansman Performance Competitions and other events associated with the composer. The Foundation also maintains a Tansman web site. OVERVIEW OF THE MUSIC Tansman repeatedly expressed the conviction that his music is rooted in Polish culture, and he included Polish dances, rhythms, and topics in many pieces (e.g. cycles ofMazurkas, the Polish Rhapsody, works inspired by and dedicated to Chopin). Throughout his career, Tansman expressed his Polishness in music by composing more mazurkas, polonaises and obereks than almost any other composer after Chopin. His music created a new link in the history of this genre (now studied by Barbara Milewski at Princeton University). An example of his folk-music settings may be provided by his Quatre danses polonaisesof 1931, version for piano. The orchestral version of this work was first conducted in the U.S. by Arturo Toscanini. The last segment of the cycle could be said to epitomize Tansman as a Polish neoclassical composer: in this arrangement of the "oberek" the main theme is presented in a fugato, while the drones, harmonies, and melodies continue to mirror features of Polish folklore. Some of his piano pieces are very virtuosic (e.g. Etude-Scherzo) other works border on the entertaining and vacuous salon music (e.g. Le tour de monde en miniature cycle of miniatures). The composer also cherished his Jewish heritage, expressing it in many works written throughout his career, e.g., the Hebrew Rhapsody (1938), oratorio Isaiah The Prophet (1950), Apostrophe to Sion (1978), and other pieces. In 1933, he composed a Hebrew Rhapsody (in two versions, with the piano one dedicated to the composer's mother). This work was inspired by ancient melodies from Yemen, and began as an arrangement of these songs that so delighted the composer. After the war the composer worked on a monumental oratorio, Isaiah, The Prophet (for voices, mixed choir , and orchestra, 1950). There is much to be admired in this stark and complex work, cantorial singing style interspersed with sombre choral fugues and dramatic orchestral interludes. It is a compelling piece that badly needs a new recording. One of the instruments that he favoured was the guitar for which he composed numerous Polish dances, e.g, Suite in Modo Polonico. The Suite (1962), commissioned by and dedicated to "the king of guitarists," Andres Segovia, may be considered the crowning achievement among Tansman's works for guitar. Segovia had requested the inclusion of several earlier works in this suite, such as the Mazurek of 1925, the Berceuse d'Orient, and Alla polacca of 1954. The celebrated guitarist recorded this virtuosic set of 10 short pieces five times and performed it during many concert tours, establishing the Suite as one of the staples of the guitar repertoire. Tansman's songs blend traits of his elegant neoclassicism with expressiveness; his harmonic inventiveness underlies the rich piano accompaniments. His Cinq melodies pour chant et piano (1927) use French texts by the composer's first wife, Anna Eleonora; the songs are dedicated to personal friends and family members. For instance the fourth song, (Chats de gouttiere), is a humorous complaint against the brother of Tansman's wife who had just emigrated to the U.S. The lyricism and humor of Anna Tansman's texts is reflected in the music including national influences (no.2), elements of a stylized lullaby (no. 3), and an almost romantic poignancy (no. 5). In general, Tansman's music belongs to the realm of neoclassicism, enriched by a plurality of influences and models, including jazz, folk dances, and the music of the Far East. The author of a Javanese Dance, he also composed a Blues, an Oberek, and the virtuosic Mazurka & Toccata. During the post-war years he displayed no interest in avant-garde experimentation and remained faithful to his unique brand of the neoclassical style. Tansman's extensive list of works contains compositions for the stage (operas and ballets), pieces for orchestra, chamber music, and songs in several languages. His music links intuition and spontaneity with a logical order of structure, virtuosity, and elegance. His individual style is characterized by clarity of form, lyrical expression, and the use of rich and varied instrumental colors. TANSMAN ABOUT HIS MUSIC "Thus, I spent the first twenty years of my life in Poland. In regard to the importance of Slavic influence in my music, I can readily say that I followed the same path as Bartók or Manuel de Falla: folklore imaginé. I did not use popular themes per se. I used, however, their general melodic contour. Polish folklore is abundantly rich. I think that, along with Spanish folklore, it is the richest in possibilities. I was familiar with Polish folklore very early. My nanny used to sing peasant songs that were anonymous. They were not contemporary urban songs but songs that came from the villages. This folklore remained strongly present in my musical sensitivity but only as folklore imaginé. I have never used an actual Polish folk song in its original form, nor have I tried to reharmonize one. I find that modernizing a popular song spoils it. It must be preserved in its original harmonization. But Polish character is not solely expressed through folklore. There is something intangible in my music that reveals an aspect of my Polish origin". [Tansman, radio Interviews edited by Timmons/Fremaux, 1967-1980 1998)] "Dear Tadeusz, Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart for your friendship during my whole visit to my home country [kraj rodzinny], which moved me profoundly. Indeed, I felt that I was taken care of by sincere friends and the last evening, with "my musicologists" evoked old memories of my youthful times and this return stirred a certain nostalgia in my heart. For the first time in so many years I did not have an impression of being a "foreigner" in my own country. Thank you very much for all that, with heartfelt greetings and with hope to meet you in Paris, Yours, Aleksander". [Tansman's letter to Kaczyński, 2 February 1978] MANUSCRIPTS AT USC · 14 Letters to Tadeusz Kaczyński from the 1960s through 1980s. Donated in June 2000 by Joanna Kaczyńska. LIST OF WORKS by Brian Harlan Music for Orchestra Scherzo Sinfonico (1923) Danse de la Sorcičre (1923) Second Symphony in A Minor (1927) Second Piano Concerto (1927) Triptyque for string orchestra (1930) Quatre Danses polonaises (1931) Rapsodie hebraique (1933) Rapsodie polonaise (1940) Fifth Symphony in D (1942) Konzertstück for the Left Hand (1943) Serenade no. 3 (1943) Genesis (1944) Partita no. 2 (1944) Sixth Symphony "In memoriam" choral symphony based on a French text by the composer (1944) Concerto for Orchestra (1955) Stčle in memoriam Igor Stravinsky (1972) Les dix commandements (1979) Chamber Music Tansman wrote nine string quartets and numerers other chamber pieces, from duets to octets. Solo Piano Tansman wrote nearly 100 works for piano: sonatas, sonatinas, ballades, mazurkas, preludes, suites, and an array of short character pieces. Works for Choir and Orchestra Isaie le Prophete English text by Martin Lindsay translated into French by the composer (1950) Prologue et Cantate text excerpted from Ecclesiastes, Chapter 9 (1958) Psaumes 118, 119 et 120 text adapted to French by René Dumesnil (1961) Opera La Nuit kurde (1927) lyric drama in three acts on a text by Jean-Richard Bloch La Toison d'Or (1938) comic opera in three acts on a libretto by Salvador de Madariaga Le Serment (1953) lyric episode after Balza Sabbatai Zevi, ou Le faux Messie (1958) lyric fresco on a libretto by Nathan Bistritzky L'Usignolo di Boboli (1963) lyric tale in one act on a libretto by Mario Labroca Georges Dandin (1974) comedy in three acts by Moličre Music for Youth Tansman is well known for his large collection of works for amateurs and children. Pour les Enfants Books 1, 2, and 3 (1933) Je joue pour Papa, Les Jeunes au Piano, Ten Diversions for the Young Pianist, Les Jeunes au Piano, Piano in Progress, Zehn Kinderstücke, Happy Time a series of gifts for his daughters Mireille and Marianne Many easy pieces for string instruments and piano, violin duet, solo guitar, and piano trio. Film Music Poil de Carotte directed by Julien Duvivier, Paris (1932) Flesh and Fantasy directed by Julien Duvivier, Hollywood (1942) Paris Underground directed by Gregory Ratoff, Hollywood (1945) Destiny co-directed by Julien Duvivier, Hollywood (1945) Sister Kenny directed by Dudley Nichols, Hollywood (1946) The Bargee for Galton-Simpson Productions, London (1964) DISCOGRAPHY Polskie Nagrania PNCD 073: Piano music: Rapsodie hebraique, Quatre danses polonaises, Le tour de monde en miniature (1990) ETCETERA KTC 2017: String Quartets no. 2-8; Triptyque ETCETERA KTC 2021: Piano sonatinas no. 1; no. 2, Transatlantique ; no. 3. Piano Sonatas no. 1 "Rustica"; no. 2; no. 3; no. 4; no. 5; Suite variee MARCO POLO 8.223379: Symphony no. 5; Stele in memoriam Igor Strawinsky; Four Movements for Orchestra MARCO POLO 8.223757: Concerto for Orchestra, Etudes, Capriccio for Orchestra (1994) MARCO POLO 8.223690: Tansman - Guitar Works (Complete) OLYMPIA OCD 685. Violin Concerto; Cinq Pičces pour violon et petit orchestre; Quatre Danses polonaises; Danse de la sorcičre; Rhapsodie polonaise. Beata Halska, violin/Polish Radio Orchestra Conducted by Bernard LeMonnier Olympia OCD 685 (DDD) Total Time: 65:32 (2000). BIBLIOGRAPHY by Brian Harlan Reference Texts GIRARDOT, Anne. “Tansman, Alexander." In The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, vol. 18, London: Macmillan, 1980. HONEGGER, Marc. Dictionnaire de la Musique: Les Hommes et leurs Œuvres[Dictionary of Music: The Men and Their Works], vol. 2, Paris: Bordas, 1977. SCHOLES, Percy A. “Tansman, Alexander." In The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music, vol.2, London: John Owen Ward, 1977. EWEN, David. “Alexandre Tansman.” In Composers Since 1900. New York: H. W. Wilson, 1969. . “Alexandre Tansman.” In Composers Since 1900, First Supplement. New York: H. W. Wilson, 1981. McCARTY, Clifford. Film Composers In America: A Checklist of Their Work, Glendale, California: John Valentine, 1953. NASH, Jay Robert and Stanley Ralph Ross.The Motion Picture Guide, E-G-1927-1983, Chicago: Cinebooks, Inc., 1986. SABIN, Robert. “Alexandre Tansman.” In International Cyclopedia of Music and Musicians, 9th Edition. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1964. SLONIMSKY, Nicolas. “Alexandre Tansman.” In Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Music and Musicians. New York: Schirmer, 1978. BOOKS and DISSERTATIONS BUTTERFIELD, Lorraine Lingle. An investigation of rhythm in the piano mazurkas of Alexandre Tansman: A guide for the piano instructor/performer Ph.D. dissertation, New York University, 1990. CEGIEŁŁA, Janusz. Dziecko szczęścia, Aleksander Tansman i jego czasy [Child of luck, Alexandre Tansman and His Times]. 2 volumes. Warsaw: Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, 1986-1996. 2nd edition, Łódz: Fundacja Kultury im. A. Tansmana, 1998. GRANAT-JANKI, Anna. Forma w Tworczosci Instrumentalnej Aleksandra Tansmana [Form in A.T. instrumental music]. Wroclaw: Academy of Music, 1995. SCHWERKE, Irving. Alexandre Tansman, Compositeur polonais. Paris: Éditions Max Eschig, 1931. ALEXANDER TANSMAN (1897-1986) Version française Alexander Tansman in Vienna in 1926 ( photo by Herm. C. Kosel, Vienna ) We are grateful to Madame Mireille Tansman Zanuttini and Madame Marianne Tansman for permission to publish the photographs on this page. The course of Alexander Tansman's life almost matches the sequence of major historical events in the 20th century. It comprises four principal periods: 1897-1919 Childhood and adolescence in Poland 1919-1941 Youth and early career in the Paris of the inter-war years 1941-1946 Exile in America 1946-1986 Maturity and final years in France Alexander Tansman was born on 12 June 1897 in Łódź, Poland, in the same city as his famous compatriot, the pianist Arthur Rubinstein. Since 1795 Poland had been divided between the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Russian Empire. Lódź was in the part dominated by Russia. Alexander's parents, Mosze Tansman (1868-1908) and Anna Gurwicz (1866-1935) were members of the Jewish upper middle class, a highly cultured group in which the French language was commonly spoken. They took pains with Alexander's education, providing him with the best teachers of the day as well as foreign governesses. He quickly learned to speak five languages (Polish, Russian, German, French and English)[1]. At a very early age, about four or five, he learned the piano. All the family were musical to a high degree. His aunt had been a pupil of Anton Rubinstein in St. Petersburg, a cousin was a pupil of Eugène Ysaÿe in Brussels and his sister studied with Arthur Schnabel in Berlin. The family home was often the scene of chamber music performances, and from a very early age Alexander was taken to concerts by his parents. At the age of six, after an Ysaÿe concert, Tansman decided he would be a musician. He began composing at the age of eight or nine. His first piano teachers were Wojciech Gawrónski (1868-1910)[2], who came specially from Warsaw to teach him and lodged in the Tansman home, Karol K. Lüdschg, of Czech origin, and the Hungarian pianist Sándor Vas. From 1902 to 1914 Tansman studied piano, harmony and counterpoint at the Łódź Conservatoire. Tansman never formally studied orchestration. His apprenticeship came about in the Łódź Symphony Orchestra during the First World War he played the parts for the harp on the piano. In doing so, he learned about orchestral colour and mixed timbres. In 1915 he left Lódź to study in Warsaw. Here he worked to develop his musical knowledge, studying counterpoint, form and composition with Piotr Rytel (1884-1970)[3]. At the same time, he studied at Warsaw University's Faculty of Law and Philosophy, gaining his doctorate in 1918. From 1917-18, although almost completely cut off from Western musical developments, he composed works employing polytonal harmony and exploring innovative resolutions beyond the limits of functional harmony. In 1919 Tansman won the three first prizes (the Grand Prix and the next two prizes) in the first national award scheme for composers held in Poland, which was now once more independent. He had sent in three works, under three different names. The prize compositions were a Romance for violin and piano, and two piano pieces: Impression and thePrelude in B major. Tansman had just completed the three scores early that year[4]. His success in the competition prompted his decision to go to Paris. Tansman obtained his passport from the newly installed Head of State in Poland, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, the then President of the Council of Ministers. Paderewski was himself a pianist and a gifted composer. Later, in 1927, Paderewski went to the United States to be present when Tansman gave his American debut, playing his Second Concerto for piano and orchestra. Arriving in Paris in late 1919, at the age of 22, Tansman worked for a while as a packer at La Villette. He then made use of his language skills to find work in a bank. His circumstances rapidly improved. Little more than six months later he was able to bring his sister to Paris, and in less than a year after arriving he arranged for his mother to come as well. Within a year, he was making a living from his music. At first his earnings came mainly from giving piano lessons, but he rapidly became a concert pianist, touring Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland and Belgium. Tansman had a friend, a Polish architect called Stanislaw Landau, who introduced him to Georges Mouveaux, a stage designer at the Paris Opera. Georges Mouveaux held a dinner at his home to introduce the young composer to Maurice Ravel. In his turn, Ravel introduced Tansman to his publishers Demets and Max Eschig, and to performers of musical scores. Ravel also took Tansman to meet Roland-Manuel, who had a reputation for his Monday gatherings. There Tansman came to know Milhaud, Honegger, Roussel, Florent Schmitt, Ibert, and other French composers. The lightness and spirituality of the French musical tradition was often to show through in his own compositions[5]. Alexander Tansman at the home of Vladimir Golschmann and his wife in St. Louis (U.S.A.) in 1931, watching while Prokofiev tries out Tansman's Second Concerto on the piano. ( Photo: Ruth Cunliff Russel, St. Louis, U.S.A. ) Ravel also gave Tansman a letter of introduction to the conductor Vladimir Golschmann (1893-1972). At that time, Golschmann was directing his orchestra in avant-garde concerts in Paris, the renowned Golschmann Concerts. At these, Tansman attended the first performances of his own most recent symphonic scores, composed in Paris from 1920 onwards. His Impressions for orchestra were performed at the Salle Gaveau on 3 February 1921, and his Intermezzo sinfonico at the Salle des Agriculteurs on 21 December 1922. Later, on 5 May 1924 in Brussels, Golschmann conducted the world premiere of the Danse de la Sorcière [6]. To the end of his life, Golschmann would continue to be one of the most faithful interpreters of Tansman's music, both at the head of the St Louis Symphony Orchestra, which he conducted from 1931 to 1958, and later as conductor for the Denver Symphony Orchestra from 1964 to 1970[7]. Ravel also introduced Tansman to the singer Marya Freund[8]. On 2 February 1922 she performed the composer's Eight Japanese Melodies at the Vieux-Colombier theatre under the direction of André Caplet. In 1922, Tansman was the author of the first article about Karol Szymanowski to appear in French, in the Revue Musicale of Henri Prunières. At concerts organized by the Revue Musicale he made the acquaintance of Bartók, Hindemith, Casella and Malipiero. The concerts took place either at the home of Prunières, or at the premises of the Revue in the Rue de Grenelle, or at the Vieux Colombier theatre. Tansman often spoke about the atmosphere he experienced in the Paris of between the wars, when there were no hierarchical distinctions and composers would show one another their work. At the Paris salons, creative artists from different disciplines - musicians, writers and painters - were able to come together. On Sunday afternoons, Tansman frequented the salon of Madame Paul Clemenceau, who was Austrian by birth and was the sister-in-law of Georges Clemenceau. There too he met Albert Einstein, Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Stefan Zweig, who gave him a letter of introduction to Richard Strauss. « On a Sunday evening », Tansman recalled, « we would go to the Godebskis, who were close friends of Ravel. There I met Gide, Manuel de Falla and Viňes »[9]. After hearing a performance conducted by Golschmann of a work composed by Tansman (probably the Intermezzo sinfonico), Serge Koussevitzky (1874-1951) began to take an interest in the Polish composer. Tansman dedicated to Koussevitzky the two symphonic scores he wrote in 1923, a Scherzo sinfonico and a Légende. Koussevitzky conducted them both at the Paris Opera, on 17 May 1923 and 8 May 1924, with the Koussevitzky Concert Orchestra, which he had formed from a select group of the leading musicians in the French capital. On 13 November 1925 a symphonic work by Tansman was heard for the first time in the United States, when the Boston Symphony Orchestra, directed by Serge Koussevitzky, performed the Sinfonietta no. 1 for chamber orchestra (1924). A few days later, on 22 November, Willem Mengelberg conducted the New York Philharmonic Society Orchestra in the Danse de la Sorcière at New York's Carnegie Hall. A few months later, on 12 June 1926, Tansman's First Concerto for piano and orchestra (1925) was performed at the Paris Opera by the Koussevitzky Concert Orchestra, conducted by Serge Koussevitzky. On 28 May in the following year, Koussevitzky led the world premiere of the Symphony no. 2 in A minor with the same orchestra in the same place. In June 1926, during a SIMC concert in Zurich at which Grzegorz Fitelberg was conducting his Danse de la Sorcière, Tansman met the impresario Bernard Laberge, who was then working with Ravel and Bartók. This meeting led to Tansman's first United States tour, in the company of Ravel, from November 1927 to January 1928. While Tansman was sailing for the New World, Koussevitzky was preparing to welcome him with the first American performance in Boston, on 17 November, of the Symphony no. 2 in A minor by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The high point of Tansman's American tour was the world premiere of the Second Concerto for piano and orchestra (1927), also in Boston, on 28 and 29 December 1927, with the same performers as the Symphony and with the composer himself at the piano. This concert was repeated in early January at Carnegie Hall in New York. The work was dedicated to Charlie Chaplin, who attended the premiere. Tansman was to remain on very friendly terms with Chaplin. Through his publisher, he often sent Chaplin his latest published scores. During this tour, Tansman made friends with Gershwin and invited him to Paris. Gershwin came to the French capital a few months later, at the time when he was composing his symphonic poem An American in Paris. He worked with Tansman on orchestrating this composition, and the two friends went together to the Avenue de la Grande-Armée to listen to the car horns which Gershwin used to represent the urban cacophony of traffic noise in a big city. Tansman was always ready to help his colleagues. He gave introductions to his publisher Max Eschig to Villa-Lobos, Varèse, Mihalovici and Szymanowski, and later did the same for other composers much younger than himself. Like many composers in the 1920s, Tansman came under the influence of jazz, which had been discovered by the Europeans after the 1914-1918 war. His tours to America, followed by his enforced exile during the Second World War, brought him into contact with the greatest of the jazz musicians, such as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and, especially, Art Tatum. He was greatly impressed with the rapidity and alternating rhythms of Art Tatum's compositions[10]. 1929 saw the publication of the first musicological studies of the work of Alexander Tansman. An article by Raymond Petit was published in the February issue of the Revue musicale. Alejo Carpentier contributed an article on « Alexandre Tansman y su obra luminosa » to the September issue of Social (volume 14, no. 9). In 1931, the American critic Irving Schwerke published the first monograph devoted to Tansman and his work [11]. In the early 1930s the title « School of Paris » was attached to a group of composers settled in the French capital, all friends with one another and all from central and eastern Europe. There was the Romanian Marcel Mihalovici, the Russian Alexander Tcherepnin, the Hungarian Tibor Harsányi, the Czech Bohuslav Martinu, the Swiss Conrad Beck and the Pole Alexander Tansman. All of them composed in their own style, bringing to the French musical tradition a greater formality and firmness, a rhythmic vigour supported by refined accentuation, the modulation of melodies from the different musical traditions represented in the group, and a more linear approach to composition, sometimes using techniques neglected since the Baroque era. In everything he wrote, Tansman drew frequently on Polish sources[12], not only dance forms such as the mazurka, the oberek, the kujawiak and the polka, but also in his melodic line (with the Polish scale and its emphatic fourth degree) and especially in his harmonic writing[13]. In 1931 Tansman dedicated a composition to « Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of Belgium ». This was his Symphony No. 3, Symphony Concertante, written for a quartet with piano and orchestra, a rare combination. The work was performed on 6 March 1932 at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, under the direction of the composer, with the Belgian Keyboard Quartet. Tansman had the honour of playing in a duet with Queen Elizabeth, who was a violinist a and had been a pupil of Eugen Ysaÿe. Later, in 1958, he dedicated his Suite baroque to her. Sergei Prokofiev and Alexander Tansman in St. Louis (U.S.A.), 1932. ( Photo Ruth Cunliff Russell, St-Louis, U.S.A. ) In 1932 he made his first tour of Poland. It was a great success, especially in Warsaw, where in September he gave the first performance of his Third Sonata for piano, completed in June of the same year. On 6 October 1932 Arthur Toscanini, who did not attempt many contemporary works because of his blindness, conducted the New York Philharmonic Society in Tansman's Quatre Danses polonaises, having learned them by heart. This ground-breaking concert marked the beginning of a key chapter in Tansman's life: his voyage round the world. After a major tour of the United States, he went to Hawaii, Japan, China, the Philippines, Singapore, the Indonesian islands Java, Bali and Sumatra, Ceylon, India, Egypt, Italy and the Balearic islands. During this journey, he was received by Emperor Hirohito[14] of Japan. While staying in India, Tansman spent six days with Gandhi, at the latter's invitation. The tour lasted almost a year. Shortly before the composer's death, a film about it was shown at the Polish Institute in Paris and on Polish television. Tansman's impressions of the journey were transposed into a charming collection of piano pieces entitled Le Tour du monde en miniature (1933) which was performed by the BBC in London in 1934, with the composer himself at the piano. Although he was known internationally as a Polish composer, in 1933 Tansman set to music a series of twelve Chants hébraïques, his first avowedly Jewish creation. A young woman singer he had known who came from Yemen, sang him some beautiful Jewish melodies which had been preserved in Yemen and which sprang from the purest Jewish tradition. It is said that they originated with the lost Twelfth Tribe. This composition was the beginning of a series of works in which the composer strove to bring out the specific yet universal characteristics of Judaism and its philosophical contribution to humanity[15]. In 1938 Tansman made use of these songs in his Rhapsodie hébraïque for small orchestra and piano. This work was performed in Paris in 1939 by the French National Radio Orchestra, conducted by Rhené-Baton. It was around this time that Tansman started a new direction in his career by composing music for films. His debut came in 1932, when he joined forces with Julien Duvivier to compose the music for Poil de Carotte. In the second half of the 1930s, one consequence of the political situation in central Europe was that Tansman's music was heard less and less often. His name was put on a blacklist of Polish musicians who were said to be producing « degenerate art » [Entartete Kunst], alongside the names of Arthur Rubinstein, Bronislaw Huberman, Pawel Kochanski, Arthur Rodzinski, Leopold Godowski and many others[16]. However, in 1936 Tansman made a second tour of Poland. Polish radio organized and broadcast a concert of his works, including the Concertino for piano and orchestra (1931) and the Deux Moments symphoniques (1932), which met with little reaction from the Warsaw critics. In much the same way, the Deux Pièces (1934), performed on 11 December 1936 during a concert by the Warsaw Philharmonic under the baton of the Luxembourg conductor Henri Pensis, were ignored. Increasingly outraged by the conduct of the Polish Government of the time, which was collaborating with Hitler's Germany, Tansman decided to renounce his Polish nationality. On 1 June 1938, he was granted French nationality under a decree signed by the President of the French Republic, Albert Lebrun. Alexander Tansman was to remain a French citizen, following the example of Igor Stravinsky two years earlier and presaging the same move by Bruno Walter a year later. In spite of the difficult political situation, the list of Tansman's works lengthened to include many significant compositions such as the Quatuor à cordes no. 4 (1935), the ballets La Grande Ville and Bric à Brac (1935), the Fantaisie pour violoncelle et orchestre (1936), the Concerto for alto and orchestra (1936-1937), the Variations sur un thème of Frescobaldi(1937), the Fantaisie for piano and orchestra (1937), the Concerto for violin and orchestra (1937), the Sérénade no. 2 for string trio (1937), a second opera called La Toison d'Or(1938) on a libretto by Salvador de Madariaga, the Trio no. 2 for violin, cello and piano (1938), the Symphony No. 4 (1939) and the first two collections of Intermezzi for piano (1939). The difficulties caused by the restrictions on democracy in Europe, and the looming menace of war, influenced the treatment of several works composed by Tansman during this period. Some of them, such as the Fantasy for cello and orchestra, or the Concerto for violin and orchestra, were first performed in their orchestral versions only after the Second World War. Others, such as the Fantasy for piano and orchestra, or the Symphony No. 4, which is among Tansman's most personal creations[17], have still to be performed, almost sixty years after they were composed. The opera La Toison d'Or was performed only in 1947, on French radio, in a version with two pianos produced by Bronislaw Horowicz. On 7 December 1937, Alexander Tansman had married Colette Cras, a pianist of repute who was the daughter of the composer Admiral Jean Cras and herself an outstanding pianist. Two daughters, Mireille and Marianne, were born of the marriage. In August 1940, Tansman fled to Nice with his family to escape the threat posed by the enemy to the Jewish community in occupied France. He continued to compose tirelessly, especially for the piano[18]. In 1940 came the Rhapsodie polonaise for orchestra or piano, with the dedication « Homage to the defenders of Warsaw ». Owing to the strongly symbolic character of this work in the historical backdrop of war, not surprisingly, this was one of the two Tansman scores, with the Symphony No. 5 in D (1942), most frequently played by the major American symphony orchestras during the composer's years of exile[19]. During this dark and troubled time Tansman also composed his Fifth String Quartet, one of his most intensely dramatic compositions. It was performed in San Francisco on 3 August 1942 by the Budapest Quartet. In 1941, with the support of a committee set up by Charlie Chaplin, Arturo Toscanini, Serge Koussevitzky, Eugene Ormandy and Jascha Heifetz, Alexander Tansman was able to leave France. As soon as he reached the United States, Tansman had the backing of Mrs. Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge[20], who commissioned him to write a sonata for 5000 US dollars. On 30 October 1941, in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress in Washington, Alexander Tansman performed his Fourth Sonata for piano for the first time. The same evening, he was awarded the Coolidge Medal, together with the composers Benjamin Britten and Randall Thompson (1899-1984). Igor Stravinsky and Alexander Tansman in Hollywood, 1945 ( photo X... ) Shortly afterwards, Tansman settled in Los Angeles, where he found many other European artists and intellectuals who had been forced into exile by the war, such as Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg, Darius Milhaud, Thomas Mann and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. He became a firm friend of Igor Stravinsky and his wife Vera, meeting them almost daily. Tansman has spoken of the Hollywood of this period as a kind of « modern Weimar ». The American years were dominated by his composition of three symphonies: the Fifth in D; the Sixth In Memoriam (1944), dedicated to those who had fallen for France, comprising four movements, each with a different instrumentation[21], and which was performed in Paris after the Liberation by the choir and orchestra of French radio, directed by Roger Désormière; and finally, the Seventh « Lyrical » symphony, which was dedicated to Vera and Igor Stravinsky and was later performed under conductors such as Vladimir Golschmann, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Franz André, Eduard Flipse, Eugene Ormandy and André Cluytens. Because of Hollywood's film industry Tansman was able to provide security for his family, while continuing to work at more serious compositions. He wrote a series of film scores around this time, including scores for Julien Divivier's Flesh and Fantasy in 1941 and Dudley Nichols' Sister Kenny in 1946. A plan to compose the score for Fritz Lang's filmScarlet Street was abandoned in 1945. In 1944, the composer and conductor Nathaniel Shilkret invited a number of emigré composers to contribute to a group work entitled The Genesis Suite, which was planned as a musical accompaniment to a speech recording of the Bible. Shilkret asked each composer to write a short piece illustrating a chapter from Genesis. The chosen composers were Arnold Schoenberg, with his Prélude op. 44, Alexander Tansman, with Adam and Eve, Darius Milhaud, with Cain and Abel op. 241, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco with Noah's Ark, Ernst Toch with The Flood, and Igor Stravinsky with Babel. As the creator of the project, Nathaniel Shilkret kept for himself the episode of the Creation. It was intended that Bartók, Hindemith and Prokofiev would produce compositions for other chapters of Genesis, but this never happened. The work was performed in Los Angeles on 18 November 1945 under the direction of Werner Janssen. It could well be revived one day, either in the concert hall or as a recording. Tansman returned to France in April 1946. Little by little, he regained his place in the country's musical life. Significantly, one of the very first works he composed on his return was called Ponctuation française, setting to music in a cycle of melodies some short writings by Charles Oulmont which has been composed in hiding during the Second World War. But it was mainly abroad, in Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland and Britain that Tansman's work was acclaimed afresh. He was by now in the prime of life, reaching the age of fifty in 1947, and there were many symphonic performances of his works in one country after another. The homage to his reputation began with a series of concerts in the Netherlands, performed by the country's leading orchestras (Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hague Philharmonic Orchestra, the Utrecht Symphony Orchestra) under the direction of the composer, with Colette Cras[22] at the piano. In 1948 Tansman published a major work on Stravinsky[23], the fruit of deep familiarity with the composer's work and regular meetings with him during the years of exile. He also composed Music for Orchestra (Symphony No. 8), which was performed by Rafaël Kubelik in 1949 at the XIIth International Bienniale of Contemporary Music in Venice. In 1950 it was directed by the same conductor with the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra, and by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra the following year. The oratorio Isaiah the Prophet appeared in 1950. The composer had worked from several chapters of Isaiah's Old Testament prophecies. The selected chapter fragments are brought together within the general scheme of an oratorio. The composer's intention was to show the transition from suffering to joy via a prayer and a song of hope. Tansman composed this work both as a memorial to the six million Jews who had been exterminated during the Second World War, and as a salute to the new State of Israel. The work comprises seven parts, including a fugue for the orchestra alone and an interlude for wind instruments. This is the first of the three works[24] which, for Tansman, ranked highest among all his compositions and of which he was genuinely proud. It was performed on French radio in 1952 by the national choir and orchestra under the direction of the composer. Three years later it had its American premiere in Los Angeles under the direction of Franz Waxman, and a recording was conducted by Paul van Kempen. In 1953, the year which saw the tragic death of his wife Colette, Tansman completed his opera Le Serment, from a libretto based on Balzac's « La Grande Bretêche ». This is the most frequently performed of his operas. It is a lyrical episode in two scenes, lasting about fifty-five minutes. André Cluytens directed the world premiere in a concert performance in 1954 on French radio. The first stage production was on 11 March 1955, at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels. The Italian premiere was directed by Bruno Maderna at Milan's R.A.I. Tansman's Capriccio for orchestra, a very Stravinskyan work, was composed for the Louisville Orchestra, commissioned by the Ford Foundation and recorded immediately. His next composition was the Concerto for Orchestra, a major symphonic work which was to see many performances under the baton of many different conductors[25]. In 1958 Tansman completed his most important opera Sabbatai Zevi, a lyrical fresco in a prologue and four acts on a libretto by Nathan Bistritzky. The same year, from 14 to 31 July, he made his first visit to Israel. Alexander Tansman at his piano in Paris, in the 1960s. ( Photo Richard de Grab, Paris - New York ) In 1959 and 1960 he taught composition in Santiago de Compostela, and gave a lecture entitled « Some thoughts on tradition, substance and spirit in contemporary music ». In the first half of the 1960s, Tansman composed major works in a variety of genres: ballet (Résurrection, 1962, on an argument of Pierre Médecin after Tolstoy), religious music (Psalms for tenor, mixed choir and orchestra, 1961), opera (Il usignolo de Boboli, 1963, on a plot of Mario Labroca); symphonic music (La Lutte de Jacob avec l'Ange, 1960, a symphonic movement inspired by Gauguin), Six Studies for orchestra, 1962; Six Mouvements for string orchestra, 1963, Concerto for cello and orchestra, 1963; instrumental music (Suite in modo polonico for guitar, 1962, Fantasy for violin and piano, 1963). In 1967 Tansman was awarded the Hector Berlioz prize by S.A.C.E.M. (the Society of Music Authors, Composers and Publishers), and he made his first postwar visit to Poland. Now began the composer's last creative period, no less productive than in the past, with Tansman still fully master of all his artistic resources. The period is dominated by a series of major symphonic works in which he deploys all his expressive gifts, with a perfect sense of alternating mood between liveliness and pensive calm. These works use a refined harmonic language which manages the effects of tensions and their resolutions in a rich virtuoso style of orchestration and a clear and effective formal construction. They include the Four Movements for orchestra of 1968, the Diptyque for chamber orchestra and the Hommage à Erasme de Rotterdam of 1969, the Stèle in memoriam Igor Stravinsky in 1972, the Ėlégie in memory of Darius Milhaud in 1975, the Sinfonietta no. 2 for chamber orchestra in 1978 and the Dix Commandements in 1979. On 5 May 1977 Tansman was elected to Belgium's Royal Academy, in the Fine Arts class, to replace Dimitri Shostakovich who had died two years earlier. The years 1977 to 1980 saw a marked resurgence of interest in Tansman's music in his native Poland. A Tansman festival was organized for his 80th birthday[26], and a second was held in Poznan on 17 February 1978 [27]. In 1979 Tansman made another visit to Poland, from 13 to 20 June. Then followed a major Tansman festival, from 26 September to 10 October 1980, featuring many compositions, among them some which were only seldom performed[28]. During Tansman's final years, the Polish authorities awarded him many distinctions: the medal of the Association of Polish Composers, the Order of Merit of the People's Republic of Poland, and the Order of Merit of Polish Culture. In 1982 Tansman wrote his last concert score, his Hommage à Lech Walesa, a mazurka for guitar. To the end of his life, Tansman had a deep concern for the problems of the modern world. In these difficult years of Poland's history, he could not fail to express his admiration for the courage of the trade union leader who was to become Poland's Head of State only a few years later. In 1986, the year of his death in Paris on 15 November, Tansman was awarded the title of Doctor Honoris Causa of the Lodz Academy of Music, and in September of the same year, France honoured him with the Order of Arts and Letters[29]. Gérald Hugon Translation from the French : Patricia Wheeler [1] Later in life, Tansman added Spanish and Italian to the languages he had learned in youth. [2] Wojciech Gawrónski (1868-1910), a Polish pianist, composer and conductor, had studied composition at the Warsaw Institute of Music with Noskowski, and later studied in Berlin with Moritz Moszkowski. He may also have worked on orchestration with Brahms. As a pianist he made many tours in Poland and Russia, and was especially admired for his interpretations of Bach and Chopin. From 1902 he taught in Warsaw and at the Lodz school of music. His works comprise two operas, symphonic music, choral works, four string quartets, sonatas and pieces for string instruments and piano, as well as songs. [3] Piotr Rytel (1884-1970), a Polish composer and music teacher, composed mainly operas, ballets and four symphonies. In addition to Tansman, his pupils included Tadeusz Baird (1928-1981), Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991) and Wlodzimierz Kotónski (1925). [4] This exploit was repeated forty years later, in 1959, when the young Krzysztof Penderecki, in similar circumstances, won the three first prizes in the competition organized by the Association of Polish Composers, sending in his Strophes for soprano, narrator and ten instruments, Ėmanations for two string orchestras and Psalms of David for mixed-voice choir, two pianos and percussion. [5] A typical example of Tansman's French inspiration is the first "Pastoral" movement of the Third Sonatina for piano (1933). [6] It was during this concert that Golschmann introduced Tansman to Pierre Monteux, who some years later conducted the Suite symphonique de la Nuit Kurde (1926), the Toccata (1929) and the Deux Moments Symphoniques (1932). [7] Among the many Tansman scores conducted by Vladimir Golschmann, mention should be made of the Triptych for string orchestra (1930), the Concertino for piano and orchestra (1931), the Deux Moments Symphoniques (1932), dedicated to Vladimir Golschmann, the Deux Pièces for orchestra (1934), dedicated to Arthur Toscanini, the Adagio for string orchestra (1936), the two versions (for symphony orchestra and for string orchestra) of the Variations on a theme of Frescobaldi (1937), the orchestral versions of the Toccata and Fugue in D minor B.W.V. 538 of Johann Sebastian Bach (1937) and of the Two Chorals B.W.V. 705 and 599 (1939), the Rhapsodie polonaise (1940), the Symphony no. 5 (1943), the Serenade no. 3 (1943), the Divertimento for chamber orchestra (1944), the Symphony no. 7 (1944), the Suite dans le goût español (1949), the Ricercari (1949), the Sinfonia Piccola (1951-52), the Concerto for orchestra (1954), the Suite baroque (1958), and the Diptyque (1969). Those of the above works which were given world performances under Golschmann's direction are shown in bold. [8] Marya Freund (1876-1966) had studied violin with Pablo de Sarasate before becoming a singer. She began her career in the opera theatre of her native Breslau (now Wroclaw). Schoenberg admired her musical talent and asked her to sing the part of Tove when his Gurrelieder were performed. Later, in Paris, she sang two other works of Schoenberg: the 15 Gedichte aus das Buch der Hängenden Garten von Stefan George op. 15 and the Pierrot lunaire. [9] From a broadcast by Catherine Ravet and Alain Jomy, on France Musique (Radio France), 28 February 1985. [10] The Tansman compositions in which the infuence of jazz shows through most clearly are the Sonatine for violin or flute and piano (1925), the ballet Lumières (1927), the Sonatine transatlantique for piano or orchestra (1930), the Symphony no. 3 « Concertante » (1931), No. 1 of the Tour du monde en miniature (1933), the ballets Bric à Brac and La Grande Ville (1935), the « Blues » no. 6 of the Huit Novelettes for piano (1936), Trois Préludes en forme de blues for piano (1937), Carnival Suite for orchestra or two pianos (1942), Ricercari for orchestra (1949), the ballet Resurrection (1962), and the « Tempo di blues » no. 2 from theAlbum d'Amis (1980). [11] Irving Schwerke, Alexandre Tansman, Compositeur polonais, Paris 1931, Ėditions Max Eschig. [12] « I can say this honestly. I have followed much the same route as Bartók or Falla, for example, inventing on themes from folklore. I have not used popular themes, but I have used the same sort of melodic line. This is because Polish folklore is very rich in both harmony and melody », in « Alexander Tansman: Œuvre et Témoignage, in Les Chemins de la Connaissance, broadcast no. 1: “La Pologne, Enfance et Vocation” by Marie-Hélène Pinel, broadcast on 8 March 1980 on France Culture (Radio France). [13] So many of Tansman's compositions show a Polish influence that it would crowd the text to list them all. The most important ones are: Sinfonietta no. 1 (1924), String quartet no. 3 (1925), Symphony no. 2 in A minor (1926), Suite for two pianos and orchestra (1928), Suite-Divertissement for violin, alto, cello and piano (1929), Quatre Danses polonaises for orchestra or piano (1931), Deux Pièces for orchestra (1934), Fantaisie pour violoncelle et orchestre (1936), Sérénade no. 2 for violin, alto and cello (1937), Rhapsodie polonaise for orchestra or piano (1940), Tombeau de Chopin for orchestra or string quintet (1949), Ricercarifor orchestra (1949), Suite légère for orchestra (1955), Concerto for clarinet and orchestra (1957), Musique à Six for clarinet, string quartet and piano (1977), Sinfonietta no. 2 (1978), and many piano works, including the Sonate no. 2 (1928) and the four collections of Mazurkas (1918-1928, 1932, 1941), as well as many of his guitar compositions; Mazurka (1925), Trois Pièces (1954), Suite in modo polonico (1962) and finally, theHommage à Lech Walesa (1982). [14] Interview on 10 August 1986 with Christine de Obaldia, broadcast on France Culture (Radio France), in "Mémoires du siècle", on 14 December 1986. [15] This series of works includes the Chants hébraiques (1933), Deux Images de la Bible for orchestra (1935), the Rhapsodie hébraïque (1938), Adam et Eve no. 2 from « The Genesis », suite biblique for narrator and orchestra (1944), the Suite hébraïque for orchestra (1944), R'hitia Jewish Dance for piano (1944), the Prière hébraïque for tenor, mixed voice choir, piano or organ (1945), Kol-Nidrei for tenor, mixed voice choir and organ (1945), Ma Tovu - How Fair are thy tents for tenor or baritone, mixed voice choir and organ (1946), Le Cantique des Cantiques for chamber orchestra (1946), La Sulamite for chamber orchestra (1946), the oratorio Isaïe le Prophète (1950), the Quatre Prières pour choeur mixte sur des Psaumes de David (1951), Deux Pièces hébraïques for organ or piano (1954-55), the Album d'Israël for chamber orchestra (1958) orVisit to Israel for piano (1958), Prologue et Cantate for female choir and chamber orchestra (1957), the lyrical fresco in a prologue and four acts called Sabbatai Zevi, le Faux Messie (1957-58), the Psaumes for tenor, mixed voice choir and orchestra (1960-1961), Eli, Eli, Lamma Sabatchani in memorian d'Auschwitz for voice and piano (1966), the Apostrophe à Zion for choir and orchestra (1976-1977), and Les Dix Commandements for orchestra (1978-1979). [16] See Janiusz Cegiella, Dziecko Szczescia Aleksandr Tansman I Jego Czasy, vol. 1, p. 348, Lodz, 1996, Wydawnictwo 86 Press. [17] In fact the first world performance of the Symphony no. 4 took place only in June 1998, in the recording sessions organised by the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, directed by Israël Yinon for the firm of Koch-Schwann. [18] In 1940 the composer completed the Valse-Impromptu, the 3rd and 4th collections of Intermezzi and the four collections of piano pieces for 4 hands entitled Les Jeunes au piano. Before he left Nice in 1941, Tansman had finished the Sonate for two pianos, the three pieces Mazurka, Canzone orientale and Moment musical, the three Ballades, the 3rd and 4th collections of Mazurkas, the Six Etudes de virtuosité and theSonate no, 4. [19] The Rhapsodie polonaise was performed in St. Louis on 11 and 12 November 1941 at the Opera House, Kiel Auditorium by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, directed by Vladimir Golschmann. Other performances took place on 16 and 18 April 1942 with the Cleveland Orchestra directed by Arthur Rodzinski, on 25 October 1942 with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra directed by Dimitri Mitropoulos, on 3 January 1943 with the New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra directed by Dimitri Mitropoulos, on 31 January in Washington and 2 February 1943 with the Washington National Symphony Orchestra directed by the composer, and on 14 and 15 March 1943 with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra directed by Vladimir Golschmann. [20] In 1925 Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge (1864-1953) had set up a foundation under her own name at the Library of Congress in Washington to enable the music department of the Library to organize festivals and concerts and to make grants of money and award prizes for any original composition performed in public at festivals or concerts held under the auspices of the Library. In 1932 she instituted the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Medal, which is awarded every year to one or more people for « eminent services to chamber music ». As well as the Fourth Piano Sonata, in 1930 she had commissioned Tansman's Triptych for string orchestra (or string quartet). It was to her that Tansman dedicated his Serenade no. 3 for orchestra (1943). [21] The first movement, « Andante cantabile » is written for wind instruments, percussion and piano, the second for string orchestra and string concertino quartet and the third for the full orchestra, the last one being for choir and orchestra. [22] The programme works were the Symphonies no. 5, 6, 7, Deux Moments symphoniques, the Serenade no. 3, the Rhapsodie polonaise, the Triptyque, the Partita no. 2 for piano and chamber orchestra (1944) and theSuite for two pianos and orchestra. [23] Igor Stravinsky by Alexander Tansman, Paris, Amiot-Dumont 1948. [24] The two other compositions which Tansman considered the most successful of his career were his Concerto for orchestra (1954) and the lyrical fresco Sabbatai Zevi (1958). [25] Franz André, Manuel Rosenthal, Vladimir Golschmann, Charles Brück, Stanislaw Wislocki, Igor Blazhkov, Maurice Le Roux, Eduard Flipse, Jean Fournet, Renard Czajkowski, Tadeusz Strugala and Antonio de Almeida. [26] The main works performed were Stèle in memoriam Igor Stravinsky, Concerto no. 2 for piano and orchestra, the Ėlegie à la mémoire de Darius Milhaud and the Concerto for orchestra. [27] The programme comprised Hommage à Erasme de Rotterdam, the Concertino for piano and orchestra, the Ėlegie à la mémoire de Darius Milhaud and the Concerto for orchestra. [28] Quatre Danses polonaises, Concerto no. 2 for piano and orchestra, Quatre Mouvements pour orchestre, Rhapsodie polonaise, Concerto for cello and orchestra, 8 Mélodies japonaises, Quatuor à cordes no. 6, 11 Interludes for piano and Suite in modo polonico for guitar. [29] The editors of Musica et Memoria express their grateful thanks to Madame Mireille Zanuttini for permission to publish this biographical note by Mr. Gérald Hugon. It may also be consulted in the collectionHommage au compositeur Alexandre Tansman (1897-1986), published in 2000 by the Presses de l'Université de Paris-Sorbonne, comprising 16 essays edited by Pierre Guillot of the University of Paris IV-Sorbonne, grouped into four parts: Biographie, Style, Analyse et Esthétique, Diffusion et réception de l'œuvre (254 pages, ISSN: 1275-2622, ISBN: 2-84050-175-9, price 25 €). The publication may be ordered from theAssociation des Amis d'Alexandre Tansman. Virtual Exposition presented on the Alexandre Tansman Day, March 30, 2014 in the Médiathèque Alliance Baron Edmond de Rothschild (with gracious permission by Mme Mireille Tansman Zanuttini) DR. LIST OF WORKS The complete Catalogue of the works of Alexander Tansman was compiled in 1995 by Mr. Gérald Hugon (Editions Max Eschig), with the assistance of the composer's daughters, Madame Mireille Tansman Zanuttini and Madame Marianne Tansman Martinozzi. In addition to all the composer's works, listed according to genre, it gives the dates of composition of each work, the number of players, the first recitals, the most memorable performances, some still unpublished works which have been traced and all the available editions. This is a 124 page publication illustrated with many photographs of the composer and facsimiles of his scores. It is obtainable from Editions Max Eschig, 5 rue du Helder, 75009 Paris, or from theAssociation des Amis d'Alexandre Tansman. " THE FRIENDS OF ALEXANDER TANSMAN " The association known as " The friends of Alexander Tansman " was formed in 1987. under the 1901 law, to promote the music of Alexander Tansman. It arranges for recordings of his works, keeps the archive materials accessible and disseminates information about publications, concerts and competitions, the bibliography, available recordings and events in honour of the composer's memory. Andrés Segovia and Alexander Tansman at the Academia Chigiana in Siena, 1955 ( photo Studio Grassi ) The Chairman of the Association is Michaël Levinas, a composer and pianist, elected after M. Henri Dutilleux passed away in May 2013. The honorary membership of the Board includes the Royal Academy of Belgium, Madame Jankélévich, Madame Milhaud, Madame Segovia, and Messrs. Barenboim, Cziffra, Landowski, Lutoslawski, Ohana and Penderecki. The seat of the Association is 3 rue Florence Blumenthal, 75016 Paris. For details, please contact Mesdames Mireille Tansman Zanuttini and Marianne Tansman Martinozzi:, tel. 01 45 25 78 54 or 06 70 10 01 11. Email: Link to the site : Interview with Alexander Tansman in 1949 by Yves Hucher Alexander Tansman was born in Łódź on 12 June 1897. He took French nationality in 1920. The upheaval in Europe took him to America, but he returned to Europe in 1946, by which time he had made concert tours around the world. He is still thought of as “ the pilgrim of Europe ”. As soon as I enter the home of this indefatigable artist, a piano reminds me of the person who was his lifelong companion: Colette Cras, the daughter of the composer Jean Cras. I begin my interview by asking the composer about his aesthetic preferences. More and more, I find I prefer " pure " music: the orchestra, chamber music. I have always thought of music as a structure which has to stand on its own, without any literary props. When I wrote my symphony dedicated to those who died for France, and my Polish Rhapsody in memory of the defence of Warsaw in 1940, I was careful to steer clear of literary influences. But you have composed for the theatre? Yes, but even then I wanted to avoid simply putting across a fact or an idea in musical terms. I tried to hold on to just the scene, the setting, the atmosphere. So for you, composing for the cinema must have been even more difficult? This is a matter of the artistic relationship between the composer and the producer. Film producers have so many hackneyed notions that film music has to follow formulas which ought not to exist at all. When you are shown a table in a documentary film, they don't have to tell you: " This is a table ". When people kiss on screen, why do we have to use divided chords? Once in America, there was a love scene and I had the temerity to use two horns to accompany the scene. There was a big fuss, I had a heated argument with the producer, and that was the first time a film review mentioned the music. Anyway, I think that except for the Milhaud and Copland scores the music in American films is deplorable, it does nothing for me at all. I am sure you have some tales to tell about this. Yes, if you want. I was in Hollywood at a recording session. At the rehearsal, I asked for a clarinet passage to be tried one octave lower. At once the producer spoke up, apparently worried about his profit margin. He suggested: " Don't you think half an octave might be enough? " Another time, while I was still in the Hollywood wonderland, I was asked to compose the score for a film about the French Resistance, but from a Hollywood perspective. The producer, who as usual was the boss, asked me to " do something very French for us, you know, a Tchaikovsky sort of thing ". Another time. I had to cancel a contract because the terms were just not acceptable: the producer insisted that everything I wrote was to be played instantly on the piano, and from time to time he would shake his head and say: " We need something the audience can hum, make us some plain ordinary music, can't you? " And in spite of all that, you don't regret your time in America? No I don't. In spite of the unfortunate lapses such as the time when Carmen was performed entirely in jazz, I don't regret my time there at all, because there is one thing that deserves to be said about music in America, the country is more receptive than old Europe is to contemporary music. Why is that? There are two reasons, I think. The first, unfortunately, is money. It always is. I prefer the second, the fact that there are European musicians in America who have not become Americanised. They have a healthy influence on musical life in America, which is not nationalistic in any narrow sense.. How would you explain that? In Paris there are very few first recitals, except on radio, and as far as the provinces are concerned, I'll give you just one example, Stravinsky - how much of his work has been performed there, apart from The Firebird? In America, you see the names of modern composers alongside the great classics every day. They don't have festivals of contemporary music, but in every programme they include one or two first recitals. What's more, these works are not limited to a single performance; they remain in the repertory and are often played again. This has been the case for the past 15 or 20 years. The public respond to the new music and they come to enjoy it. I must say too that although European orchestras are not at all inferior to American ones, the players work under completely different conditions. They are paid by the month, so the actual number of performances doesn't matter. I am told that you were No. 5 on the list of living composers most often performed in America. Maybe. In spite of that, I found there were too many pressures there; one had to keep making concessions so as to avoid the easy options. I did learn a lot there, and everyone was extremely friendly to us, generous and tactful at the same time. I need only mention the admirable Mrs. Coolidge. But in spite of that, I decided I still preferred Europe with all its hardships to a more indulgent way of life. You see, the American creative genius lacks an aesthetic tradition, and it lacks .... suffering. An emotional statement, followed by a long silence. Finally I asked: When you were in America, did you get a sense of where modern music was heading? Don't say modern, say 'contemporary music'. There is an aesthetic confusion between the two which absolutely must be avoided. Incidentally, this is also the view of Hindemith, with whom I spent a week in London, and of Stravinsky, who wrote to me about this quite recently. I think we have to avoid trying for the shock effect, the deliberate originality which one finds in 'modern music' where inspiration and constructive effort ought to be instead. Modern music tries too hard to be aggressive and avant-garde. It uses non-musical elements which can certainly be brought into the structure, but ought not to be an end in themselves. This is what happened with the twelve-tone technique, which tried to revolutionise a system rather than a method. This system has been presented as a novelty, although it has been around for 40 years and Schoenberg has already done everything that can be done with it.. To sum up, I would say that an artist has to take control of his material, filter his work and be very wary of the "system", which is the great enemy of art, because it mistakes anarchy for freedom. I think we can end there. Do you want to look at my piece before it is published? No need. We're not in America. Why the joke? Just one last story. When I was on my first American tour, a reporter who might just as well have been interviewing Georges Carpentier or Suzanne Lenglen, was asking me about Paderewski, the master to whom I owe so much. I answered: " He is such a genius that whatever he did, even if he wasn't playing the piano, he would do it with genius ". The next day, that reporter's newspaper published a photo of me with a headline above it saying: " Tansman says: " Paderewski is a great genius, but a poor pianist " ! Yves HUCHER Le Guide du Concert 11 novembre 1949 Alexander Tansman’s music on CD PDF file The present discography registers only the recordings of Alexander Tansman’s works published on audio-digital records (CD). All the long-playing records are therefore here excluded. Tansman’s music reproduced on a sound aids is an object as sensitive as old. His works have sometimes been recorded soon after their composition. For instance, the Triptyque (1930) for string orchestra, the oratorio Isaïe le Prophète (1950), the Capriccio for orchestra (1954), the Six Mouvements for string orchestra (1963) were recorded in the close years following their creation. However, few works of Tansman were recorded on long-playing records. The composer bitterly complained about this at the end of his life. Among all his comrades of the " École de Paris ", Martinů had been the only one to see his works relatively well represented in the catalogs of long-playing records, thanks in particular to the Czech firms Supraphon and Panton. The works of his fellow members, Alexandre Tcherepnin, Marcel Mihalovici, Tibor Harsányi or Conrad Beck, were scarcely represented and still remain it today, particularly for the last three ones, very unjustly neglected by the phonographic publishers. At the end of the last century, in the wave of the renewal of the repertory, resulting from the new prospects of development offered to the publishers by the advent of the compact disc, could be ascertained a revival of interest for composers who had been fully involved in the adventure of the music of the XXth century. Tansman was one of those, both for his life so rich, completely immersed in his times and the intrinsic quality of his production. His work, which took place far beyond a mere artistic creation realized in an ivory tour, had the potentiality to touch a very large audience by the immediacy of his language, the straightforward nature of his expression and the diversity of his sources of inspiration. A first project, as incredible as ambitious, concentrated on a complete set of his work for string quartets, one of the summits of his production, with as exceptional as prodigious musicians, the Silesian String Quartet, and the following cast of a most prominent label for the boldness of his artistic policy, Etcetera, which, managed at that time by the regretted Michel Arcizet, published John Cage, Xenakis, Birtwistle or Morton Feldman. The critics agreed to praise in this (re)discovery an elegant, warm, but also sensitive and deep musician. Other projects were also immediately carried out by Etcetera, the complete set of Sonatas and Sonatines for piano recorded at the Bayerirscher Rundfunk by David Blumenthal, then the works for cello and piano producted in Russia under the artistic direction of Piotr Kondrashin by Alexander Zagorinsky and Alexei Schmitov. A very important part of Tansman’s music was still to be brought to light, his symphonic music. Then Marco Polo, " the label of the discovery ", boldly embarked on the adventure when Klaus Heymann, its director, accepted the proposal of the " Association of the friends of Alexander Tansman’s work " to publish a program including three key works of the composer’s production, the Symphony N° 5,Stèle in Memoriam Igor Stravinsky and the Quatre Mouvements pour orchestre, under the direction of Meir Minsky. Shortly afterwards, Marco Polo recorded a second volume with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Antonio de Almeida, including three other important works, the Concerto pour Orchestre, the Six Études for orchestra and the Capriccio for orchestra. The interest of the phonographic firms in Tansman’s music didn’t cease to grow since and these last years were published several exemplary productions such as the recording by Olympia of theConcerto pour violon by Beata Halska and the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Bernard Le Monnier ; but also, by Koch Schwann, the three remarkable recordings conducted by Israël Yinon, thanks to which was revealed in particular the Symphony N°4 (1939), recorded with the Bamberger Symphoniker, a real World First Performance, since this work had not yet been played on a public concert at the time of its recording ; and today, that fascinating complete set of the Symphonies in progress for Chandos. An important work of (re)discovery still remains to be done, considering the extent of the composer’s catalog. Among his main works, it would be absolutely urgent to make another recording of the Symphonic Oratorio, Isaïe le Prophète, one of the three scores of his catalog prefered by Tansman, formerly recorded for a long-playing record by Philips, conducted by Paul van Kempen. If put together with the Psaumes for tenor, mixed choir and orchestra, we would have the two main choral pages written by Tansman from the Bible. In the field of the symphonic music, the Ricercari and the Élégie à la mémoire de Darius Milhaud remain priority works to be recorded. A particular attention should be given to the works for string orchestra which, for the quality of their instrumental writing, represent one of the composer’s most indeniable successes. Among the repertory of the music concertante, a complete set of the works for piano and orchestra, the Concerto for viola or the four Concerti for wind instruments would be welcome, whereas in the sphere of the chamber music, pages like the Sextuor à cordes, the Musica a cinque for string quartet and piano remain inexplicable missing items in the discography of today. In the same way, it would be necessary to have a whole antology of the works for piano, where are hidden so many fascinating pages for their colour, a result of the composer’s so personal harmonic language. Tansman was an experienced pianist and the piano represented often for him the instrument to which he confided his innermost thoughts. It is incredible that, from a strict artistic point of view, no complete set of his 24 Intermezzi has not yet been realized. It is even more amazing that the pieces written for the youth, like Pour les enfants or the Jeunes au piano, which, like Bartók’s Mikrokosmos, are considered among the few successes of this kind of music written in the XXth century, have not yet been recorded. The commercial success of such a project would be assured, for these scores are among Tansman’s works most widely distributed under a graphic form. Finally, let us hope that the repeat of lyrical works such as Le Serment or Sabbataï Zévi would allow these works to have a phonographic existence. Gérald Hugon Translation : Mireille Tansman Zanuttini ALEXANDRE TANSMAN ( 1897 - 1986 ) Alexandre Tansman en 1926, à Vienne ( photo Herm C. Kosel, Wien ) Nous remercions Mmes Mireille Tansman Zanuttini et Marianne Tansman de nous avoir aimablement autorisé à publier les photos de cette page. English version La trajectoire biographique d'Alexandre Tansman est quasiment délimitée par le cadre des grands événements historiques qui ont jalonné notre siècle et comprend quatre périodes principales : 1897-1919 Enfance et adolescence en Pologne 1919-1941 Débuts et jeunes années dans le Paris de l'entre deux guerres 1941-1946 L'exil américain 1946-1986 Maturité et dernières années en France Alexandre Tansman naît le 12 juin 1897 à Lodz dans la même ville que son célèbre compatriote, le pianiste Arthur Rubinstein. La Pologne était, depuis 1795, partagée entre l'Empire allemand, l'Empire austro-hongrois et l'Empire russe. Lodz se trouvait dans la partie dominée par la Russie. Ses parents, Mosze Tansman (1868-1908) et Anna Gurwicz (1866-1935), appartenaient à la grande bourgeoisie d'origine juive, très cultivée et très francophone. Ils prirent soin de son éducation, lui donnèrent les meilleurs professeurs de l'époque, et des gouvernantes étrangères. Il parla rapidement cinq langues (le polonais, le russe, l'allemand, le français et l'anglais).1 Très tôt, vers 4-5 ans, il apprend le piano. Toute sa famille était très musicienne : sa tante avait été l'élève d'Anton Rubinstein à Saint-Petersbourg, un cousin était l'élève d'Ysaÿe à Bruxelles et sa sœur étudiait avec Arthur Schnabel, à Berlin. On faisait beaucoup de musique de chambre dans la maison familiale et ses parents emmenèrent très tôt le jeune Alexandre au concert. C'est à l'âge de 6 ans, à la suite d'un concert d'Ysaÿe que Tansman décida de devenir musicien. Il commence à composer dès 8-9 ans. Ses maîtres de piano furent d'abord Wojciech Gawrónski (1868-1910)2, qui venait spécialement de Varsovie et habitait chez les Tansman, Karol K. Lüdschg, pédagogue d'origine tchèque et le pianiste hongrois, Sandor Vas. Tansman étudia le piano, l'harmonie et le contrepoint au Conservatoire de Lodz de 1902 à 1914. Quant à l'orchestration, Tansman n'a jamais pris de leçons théoriques. Son apprentissage, il le fera au sein de l'Orchestre Symphonique de Lodz pendant la Première Guerre mondiale tandis qu'il jouait, faute de harpiste dans l'orchestre, les parties de harpe au piano. Il se familiarisera ainsi avec les couleurs de l'orchestre et les mélanges de timbres. En 1915, il quitte Lodz pour faire ses études à Varsovie. Dans le but de se perfectionner, il travaille le contrepoint, la forme et la composition avec Piotr Rytel (1884-1970)3. Simultanément, il étudie à la Faculté de Droit et de Sciences Philosophiques de l'Université de Varsovie et obtient son doctorat en 1918. Dès les années 1917-18, Tansman, dans un isolement presque complet des courants musicaux occidentaux, compose des œuvres aux harmonies polytonales et emploie des résolutions d'accords en dehors des schémas de l'harmonie fonctionnelle. En 1919, Tansman obtient les trois premiers prix (le Grand Prix et les deux suivants) du premier concours national de composition organisé en Pologne, de nouveau indépendante. Tansman avait envoyé trois œuvres sous des noms différents. Les morceaux destinés à concourir étaient une Romance pour violon et piano et deux pièces pour piano : Impression et le Prélude en si majeur. Ces trois partitions venaient juste d'être écrites en ce début de l'année 19194. Ce succès le décide à se rendre à Paris. Tansman obtient son passeport du tout nouveau chef de l'État polonais alors Président du Conseil, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, lui-même pianiste célèbre et compositeur de talent. Plus tard, Paderewski se rendra en personne aux États-Unis, quand en 1927, Tansman y fera ses débuts en jouant son Deuxième Concerto pour piano et orchestre. Arrivé à Paris à l'âge de vingt-deux ans fin 1919, Tansman travaille pendant peu de temps comme emballeur à La Villette puis, grâce à ses connaissances linguistiques, dans une banque. La situation du compositeur évolue assez vite. À peine six mois plus tard, il peut faire venir sa sœur puis, moins d'un an après son arrivée, sa mère. Après un an, ses activités musicales lui permettront de vivre. Au début, ses ressources financières reposent sur les leçons de piano qu'il donne. Très vite, il fera en tant que pianiste des tournées qui le conduiront en Allemagne, en Autriche, en Suisse, en Hollande et en Belgique. Tansman avait un ami, un architecte polonais, Stanislaw Landau. Ce dernier le présenta à Georges Mouveaux, qui était scénographe à l'Opéra de Paris. Georges Mouveaux organisa un dîner chez lui afin de faire connaître le jeune compositeur à Maurice Ravel. Ravel introduisit à son tour Tansman chez ses éditeurs Demets et Max Eschig et auprès des interprètes. C'est Ravel qui emmène Tansman chez Roland-Manuel, aux fameux lundis de Roland-Manuel. C'est là que Tansman fit la connaissance de Milhaud, Honegger, Roussel, Florent Schmitt, Ibert et de toute cette musique française dont la légèreté et le caractère spirituel marqueront très souvent ses propres compositions.5 Alexandre Tansman chez Vladimir Golschmann et son épouse à Saint-Louis (U.S.A.), en 1931, autour de Prokofiev déchiffrant au piano le deuxième Concerto de Tansman. ( Photo Ruth Cunliff Russel, St-Louis, U.S.A. ) Ravel donna aussi à Tansman une lettre d'introduction auprès du chef d'orchestre Vladimir Golschmann (1893-1972) qui dirigeait alors avec son orchestre des concerts d'avant-garde à Paris, les fameux Concerts Golschmann. Tansman vit là les premières auditions de ses toutes récentes partitions symphoniques écrites à Paris dès 1920. Ainsi furent jouées les Impressions pour orchestre à la Salle Gaveau le 3 Février 1921 et l'Intermezzo sinfonico à la Salle des Agriculteurs le 21 Décembre 1922. Plus tard, Golschmann dirigera à Bruxelles le 5 Mai 1924, la création mondiale de La Danse de la Sorcière6. Jusqu'à la fin de sa vie, Golschmann restera l'un des plus fidèles interprètes du compositeur aussi bien à la tête du Saint-Louis Symphony Orchestra qu'il dirigea de 1931 à 1958 que plus tard, en tant que directeur du Denver Symphony Orchestra entre 1964 et 1970.7 Ravel présenta également Tansman à la cantatrice Marya Freund8. Marya Freund créa les Huit mélodies japonaises d'Alexandre Tansman le 2 Février 1922 sous la direction d'André Caplet au Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier. Tansman écrit en 1922 pour la Revue Musicale d'Henri Prunières le premier article français sur Szymanowski. C'est au cours des concerts organisés par la Revue Musicale que Tansman fit la connaissance de Bartók, Hindemith, Casella, Malipiero. Les concerts avaient lieu soit chez Prunières, soit à la Revue, rue de Grenelle soit au Théâtre du Vieux Colombier. Tansman s'est souvent exprimé sur l'atmosphère qui régnait dans le Paris entre les deux guerres ; il n'y avait pas de différence hiérarchique, les compositeurs se montraient leurs œuvres. Les salons permettaient aux artistes de différentes disciplines (musiciens, écrivains, peintres) de se rencontrer. Tansman fréquentait le dimanche après-midi le salon de Madame Paul Clemenceau, la belle-sœur de Georges, qui était d'origine autrichienne. C'est là qu'il rencontre Albert Einstein, Hugo von Hofmannsthal et Stefan Zweig qui lui donnera une lettre d'introduction auprès de Richard Strauss. " Le dimanche soir, raconte Tansman, on allait chez les Godebski, les meilleurs amis de Ravel. Là, j'ai connu Gide, Manuel de Falla, Viñes. "9 Après avoir entendu une œuvre de Tansman dirigée par Golschmann (probablement l'Intermezzo sinfonico), Serge Koussevitzky (1874-1951) commence à s'intéresser au compositeur polonais qui lui dédie les deux partitions symphoniques qu'il écrit en 1923, un Scherzo sinfonico et une Légende. Koussevitzky créera ces deux œuvres à l'Opéra de Paris respectivement les 17 mai 1923 et 8 mai 1924, avec la formation d'élite qu'il avait fondé en réunissant les meilleurs musiciens de la capitale française : l'Orchestre des Concerts Koussevitzky. Le 13 novembre 1925, on entendit pour la première fois une œuvre symphonique de Tansman aux Etats-Unis. Le Boston Symphony Orchestra dirigé par Serge Koussevitzky donnait la création américaine de la Sinfonietta n°1 pour orchestre de chambre (1924). Quelques jours après, le 22 novembre, Willem Mengelberg à la tête du New York Philharmonic Society Orchestra révélait au public new yorkais de Carnegie Hall La Danse de la sorcière. Quelques mois plus tard, Tansman créa à l'Opéra de Paris le 12 juin 1926 avec l'Orchestre des Concerts Koussevitzky dirigé par Serge Koussevitzky son Premier Concerto pour piano et orchestre (1925) puis le 28 mai de l'année suivante le même Koussevitzky dirigea la première mondiale de la Symphonie (n°2) en la mineur dans le même lieu et avec la même formation. En juin 1926, au cours d'un concert de la SIMC à Zürich pendant lequel Grzegorz Fitelberg dirigeait sa Danse de la Sorcière, Tansman rencontra l'imprésario Bernard Laberge qui s'occupait de Ravel et Bartók. De cette rencontre naîtra la première tournée que Tansman effectua aux États-Unis en compagnie de Ravel de novembre 1927 à Janvier 1928. Tandis que Tansman naviguait en direction du Nouveau Monde, Koussevitzky comme cadeau de bienvenue donnait le 17 novembre à Boston la création américaine de la Symphonie (n°2) en la mineur avec l'orchestre symphonique de la ville. Le point fort de cette tournée devait être la création mondiale du Second Concerto pour piano et orchestre (1927) qui eut lieu également à Boston les 28 et 29 décembre 1927 avec les mêmes interprètes que la symphonie, et le compositeur au piano. Le même concert fut repris début janvier au Carnegie Hall de New York. L'œuvre était dédiée à Charlie Chaplin qui assista à la première. Tansman restera très lié à Chaplin, lui envoyant souvent par l'intermédiaire de son éditeur ses dernières partitions publiées. À l'occasion de cette tournée, Tansman se lia d'amitié avec Gershwin et l'invita à Paris. Gershwin viendra quelques mois plus tard dans la capitale française alors qu'il composait son poème symphonique Un Américain à Paris. Il travailla avec Tansman à l'orchestration de cette œuvre et les deux amis allèrent ensemble chercher avenue de la Grande-Armée les klaxons utilisés par Gershwin pour représenter le vacarme urbain de la circulation automobile d'une grande cité. Tansman n'a jamais cessé d'aider ses collègues ; c'est lui par exemple qui introduisit auprès de son éditeur Max Eschig Villa-Lobos, Varèse, Mihalovici, Szymanowski comme plus tard d'autres compositeurs beaucoup plus jeunes que lui. Comme beaucoup de compositeurs dans les années vingt, Tansman subit l'influence du jazz que les européens venaient de découvrir après la guerre de 14-18. Ses tournées en Amérique puis son exil forcé pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale lui ont permis d'approcher les plus grands musiciens comme Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong et surtout Art Tatum qui l'impressionnait beaucoup par sa vélocité et ses changements de rythmes.10 L'année 1929 voit la publication des premiers articles musicologiques publiés sur la musique d'Alexandre Tansman. Raymond Petit publie dans le numéro de février de la Revue musicale une première étude tandis qu'Alejo Carpentier écrit pour la revue "Social" de septembre (volume 14 n°9) son article intitulé " Alexandre Tansman y su obra luminosa ". Le critique américain Irving Schwerke publie à Paris en 1931 la première monographie consacrée à Tansman.11 Au début des années trente, on commence à parler d' "École de Paris" à propos d'un groupe de compositeurs établis dans la capitale française, tous amis et originaires d'Europe centrale et orientale. Il y avait le roumain, Marcel Mihalovici, le russe Alexandre Tcherepnine, le hongrois Tibor Harsányi, le tchèque Bohuslav Martinu, le suisse Conrad Beck et le polonais, Alexandre Tansman. Chacun écrivait sa musique. Tous apportaient au courant musical français une plus grande fermeté formelle, une vigueur rythmique soutenue par un raffinement de l'accentuation, des inflexions modales à la mélodie en provenance des différentes traditions musicales représentées dans le groupe, une pensée plus linéaire réactivant parfois des processus d'écriture abandonnés depuis la période baroque. Dans toute sa production, Tansman traitera très souvent le caractère polonais12 non seulement au travers de formes de danses telles que la mazurka, l'oberek, la kujawiak, la polka etc. mais aussi dans sa ligne mélodique (avec la gamme polonaise et son quatrième degré rehaussé) et surtout dans son écriture harmonique.13 En 1931, il dédie une œuvre "à sa Majesté la Reine Elisabeth de Belgique". Il s'agit de sa Troisième Symphonie "Symphonie Concertante" écrite pour une formation rarement utilisée : le quatuor avec piano et l'orchestre. L'œuvre fut créée le 6 Mars 1932, au Palais des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles sous la direction du compositeur avec le Quatuor belge à clavier. Tansman eut l'honneur de jouer en duo avec la Reine Elisabeth qui était violoniste et avait été l'élève d'Eugène Ysaÿe. Il lui dédiera également plus tard sa Suite baroque de 1958. Sergueï Prokofiev et Alexandre Tansman en 1932, à Saint-Louis (U.S.A.). ( Photo Ruth Cunliff Russell, St-Louis, U.S.A. ) En 1932, il effectue une première tournée en Pologne et obtient un grand succès, notamment à Varsovie où il donne en septembre la première mondiale de sa Troisième Sonate pour piano (1932) qu'il venait d'achever en juin. Le 6 Octobre 1932, Arturo Toscanini, qui n'apprenait pas beaucoup d'œuvres contemporaines à cause de ses problèmes de cécité, dirigea par cœur ses Quatre Danses polonaises à la tête du New York Philharmonic Society Orchestra. Ce concert très important marqua le début d'un grand événement dans la vie de Tansman : le commencement de son voyage autour du monde qui devait le conduire, après une importante tournée aux Etats- Unis, à Hawaii, au Japon, en Chine, aux Philippines, à Singapour, dans les îles de l'Indonésie, Java, Bali et Sumatra, à Ceylan, en Inde, en Egypte, en Italie, aux Baléares. Pendant ce voyage, il sera reçu par l'Empereur du Japon, Hiro-Hito14. Lors de son escale en Inde, Tansman séjournera six jours chez Gandhi à l'invitation de ce dernier. Cette tournée a duré presque un an. Il y a eu un film qui a été montré à Paris à l'Institut polonais et à la télévision polonaise peu de temps avant le décès du compositeur. La traduction musicale de ses impressions de voyage fut consignée dans un charmant recueil de pièces pour piano intitulé Le Tour du monde en miniature (1933) qui sera créé en 1934 à Londres, à la B.B.C. par le compositeur lui-même au piano. Si le monde entier l'acclame comme compositeur polonais, Tansman va harmoniser en cette année 1933 une série de douze Chants hébraïques, sa première œuvre d'inspiration véritablement judaïque. Tansman avait connu une jeune chanteuse yéménite qui lui chanta des mélodies juives très belles conservées dans le Yémen dans la plus pure tradition juive ; on dit qu'elles proviennent de la douzième tribu qui s'est perdue. Cette partition ouvrait une série d'œuvres dans lesquelles le compositeur souhaitait mettre en valeur les qualités spécifiques et néanmoins universelles du judaïsme sous l'aspect de son apport philosophique à l'humanité.15 Tansman utilisa en 1938 ces chants dans sa Rapsodie hébraïque pour petit orchestre ou piano. Cette œuvre sera créée en 1939 à Paris par l'Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion française dirigé par Rhené-Baton. C'est également vers cette époque que Tansman commence à écrire pour le cinéma. En 1932, une première collaboration avec Julien Duvivier pour le film Poil de Carotte inaugurera cette nouvelle activité dans la carrière du compositeur. La seconde moitié des années trente voit l'espace de diffusion de la musique de Tansman se réduire en raison de la situation politique de l'Europe centrale. Son nom figure désormais sur une liste noire de musiciens polonais considérés comme appartenant à l' Entartete Kunst (l'Art dégénéré) aux côtés des noms d'Arthur Rubinstein, Bronislaw Huberman, Pawel Kochanski, Arthur Rodzinski, Leopold Godowski et de beaucoup d'autres.16 Cependant, Tansman effectue en 1936 une seconde tournée en Pologne. La radio polonaise organise et transmet un concert de ses œuvres incluant le Concertino pour piano et orchestre (1931) et les Deux Moments symphoniques (1932) qui rencontrent l'indifférence de la critique varsovienne. De même, les Deux Pièces (1934) jouées le 11 Décembre 1936 au cours d'un concert de la Philharmonie de Varsovie dirigée par le chef luxembourgeois Henri Pensis sont ignorées. De plus en plus indigné par le comportement du gouvernement polonais de l'époque qui collaborait avec l'Allemagne hitlérienne, Tansman décide de renoncer à sa nationalité polonaise. Le 1er juin 1938, un décret signé par le Président de la République française, Albert Lebrun, lui confère la nationalité française. Comme l'était devenu deux ans plus tôt Igor Stravinsky, comme le deviendra l'année suivante Bruno Walter, Alexandre Tansman devenait citoyen français. Malgré la situation politique problématique, le catalogue des œuvres du compositeur s'enrichit de nombreuses partitions significatives comme le Quatuor à cordes n°4 (1935), les ballets La Grande Ville et Bric à Brac (1935), la Fantaisie pour violoncelle et orchestre (1936), le Concerto pour alto et orchestre (1936-37), les Variations sur un thème de Frescobaldi (1937), la Fantaisie pour piano et orchestre (1937), le Concerto pour violon et orchestre (1937), la Sérénade n°2 pour trio à cordes (1937), un second opéra intitulé La Toison d'Or (1938), sur un livret de Salvador de Madariaga, le Trio n°2 pour violon, violoncelle et piano (1938), la Symphonie n°4 (1939), et les deux premiers recueils d'Intermezzi pour piano (1939). Les difficultés engendrées par la restriction de l'espace démocratique européen et par les menaces de guerre ont des conséquences sur la destinée de plusieurs œuvres écrites par Tansman au cours de cette période. Certaines comme la Fantaisie pour violoncelle et orchestre ou le Concerto pour violon et orchestre ne seront créées dans leurs versions avec orchestre qu'après la Seconde Guerre mondiale. D'autres, comme la Fantaisie pour piano et orchestre ou la Symphonie n°4 (une des œuvres les plus personnelles de Tansman!)17 attendent toujours, près de soixante ans après leur composition, d'être données en création mondiale. Quant à l'opéra, La Toison d'Or, il ne sera donné qu'en 1947 à la Radio française dans une version à deux pianos et une mise en scène de Bronislaw Horowicz. Le 7 décembre 1937, Alexandre Tansman avait épousé Colette Cras, la fille du compositeur et Amiral Jean Cras, une remarquable pianiste. Deux filles, Mireille et Marianne, étaient nées de cette union. En août 1940, Tansman se réfugie à Nice avec sa famille pour échapper aux dangers que faisait peser l'ennemi sur la communauté d'origine juive dans la France occupée. Tansman poursuit une activité soutenue dans le domaine de la composition surtout dans le domaine de la musique pour piano18. L'année 1940 voit naître la Rapsodie polonaise pour orchestre ou piano qui porte une dédicace en "Hommage aux défenseurs de Varsovie". En raison du caractère fortement symbolique que l’œuvre présentait dans le contexte historique de la guerre, il va s'agir avec la Symphonie n°5 en ré (1942) d'une des deux partitions de Tansman les plus fréquemment programmées par les grandes formations symphoniques américaines pendant la période d'exil du compositeur19. En cette période sombre et troublée, en composant son Cinquième quatuor à cordes, Tansman nous livre une de ses pages les plus intensément dramatiques. L'œuvre sera créée à San Francisco le 3 Août 1942 par le Quatuor de Budapest. En 1941, grâce à l'appui d'un comité organisé par Charlie Chaplin, Arturo Toscanini, Serge Koussevitzky, Eugene Ormandy et Jascha Heifetz, Alexandre Tansman peut quitter la France. Dès son arrivée aux Etats-Unis, Tansman bénéficie du soutien de Mrs. Elisabeth Sprague Coolidge20 qui lui passe commande d'une sonate pour le prix de 5000 $ U.S. Le 30 Octobre 1941, à la Bibliothèque du Congrès de Washington, dans le Coolidge Auditorium, Alexandre Tansman faisait entendre sa Quatrième Sonate pour piano pour la première fois. Au cours de la même soirée, la Coolidge Medal lui était remise en même temps qu'aux compositeurs Benjamin Britten et Randall Thompson (1899-1984). Igor Stravinsky et Alexandre Tansman en 1945, à Hollywood ( photo X... ) Peu après, Tansman s'installe à Los Angeles où il retrouve de nombreux artistes et intellectuels européens contraints à l'exil par la guerre comme Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg, Darius Milhaud, Thomas Mann, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Il consolide son amitié pour Igor Stravinsky et sa femme Vera grâce à une fréquentation quasi quotidienne. Tansman a parlé d'Hollywood, de cette époque comme d'une sorte de "Weimar contemporain". Les années américaines sont dominées par la composition de trois symphonies : la Cinquième en ré, la Sixième "in memoriam" (1944) dédiée à la mémoire de ceux qui sont tombés pour la France qui comprend quatre mouvements, chacun de formation instrumentale différente21 et qui sera créée à Paris après la Libération par le Chœur et l'Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion française dirigé par Roger Désormière, et enfin la Septième Symphonie "Lyrique", dédiée à Vera et Igor Stravinsky et qui sera dirigée par des chefs comme Vladimir Golschmann, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Franz André, Eduard Flipse, Eugene Ormandy ou André Cluytens. La présence de l'industrie cinématographique à Hollywood permettait à Tansman d'assurer la sécurité matérielle de sa famille tout en continuant de travailler à des œuvres plus sérieuses. Tansman écrira plusieurs musiques de films à cette époque dont celles de Flesh and Fantasy de Julien Duvivier en 1942 et de Sister Kenny de Dudley Nichols en 1946. Un projet pour le film Scarlet Street de Fritz Lang avorta en 1945. En 1944, le compositeur et chef d'orchestre Nathaniel Shilkret s'adresse à plusieurs compositeurs émigrés pour participer à une composition collective intitulée The Genesis, destinée à être incluse dans une édition discographique de la Bible. Shilkret demande à chaque compositeur d'écrire une courte pièce illustrant un chapitre de la Genèse. Les compositeurs choisis sont Arnold Schoenberg (pour le Prélude op. 44), Alexandre Tansman (Adam et Eve), Darius Milhaud (Caïn et Abel op. 241), Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (L'Arche de Noé), Ernst Toch (Le Déluge) et Igor Stravinsky (Babel). L'initiateur du projet, Nathaniel Shilkret se réserva l'épisode de La Création. Bartók, Hindemith et Prokofiev avaient été pressentis pour écrire d'autres parties qui ne verront pas le jour. L'œuvre fut créée à Los Angeles le 18 Novembre 1945 sous la direction de Werner Janssen et il serait peut-être souhaitable de la faire revivre un jour en tant qu'œuvre collective, soit au concert ou par le disque. Tansman retrouve la France en Avril 1946. Peu à peu, il reprend sa place dans la vie musicale de notre pays. Symboliquement, une des toutes premières œuvres écrites à son retour s'intitulePonctuation française, un cycle de mélodies sur des textes brefs et concis de Charles Oulmont écrits en clandestinité durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Mais c'est surtout à l'étranger, en Belgique, aux Pays Bas, en Italie, en Suisse, en Angleterre que l'œuvre de Tansman prend un nouveau départ. Le compositeur est alors dans sa pleine maturité. Il va avoir cinquante ans en 1947 et de nombreux concerts symphoniques de ses œuvres sont organisés dans le monde. Cet hommage est inauguré par une série de concerts en Hollande, donnés par les plus prestigieuses phalanges du pays, (Orchestre du Concertgebouw d'Amsterdam, Orchestre Philharmonique d'Amsterdam, Orchestre Philharmonique de La Haye, Orchestre Symphonique d'Utrecht) sous la direction du compositeur avec le concours de Colette Cras22 au piano. En 1948, Tansman écrit un important ouvrage sur Igor Stravinsky23, résultat d'une connaissance intime de l'œuvre et d'une fréquentation régulière du compositeur pendant les années d'exil. Il compose également sa Musique pour orchestre (Symphonie n°8) qui sera créée par Rafaël Kubelik en 1949 à la XIIe Biennale Internationale de Musique contemporaine de Venise, puis dirigée par ce même chef avec l'Orchestre du Concertgebouw d'Amsterdam en 1950 et au Chicago Symphony Orchestra l'année suivante. L'oratorio Isaïe le Prophète voit le jour en 1950. Le compositeur a choisi plusieurs chapitres des Prophéties d'Isaïe de l'Ancien Testament. Le choix et l'ordre de la succession des différents fragments de chapitres sont ici organisés dans la perspective de la construction générale de l'oratorio et de son plan expressif. Le compositeur souhaitait effectuer le parcours de l'angoisse à la joie en passant par une prière et un chant d'espoir. Tansman a composé cette œuvre à la fois comme une stèle à la mémoire des six millions de juifs exterminés pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale et pour saluer la création de l'état d'Israël. L'œuvre comprend sept parties dont une fugue pour l'orchestre seul et un intermède pour instruments à vent. Il s'agit de la première des trois partitions24 que Tansman préférait dans toute sa production et qu'il considérait avec une certaine fierté. L'œuvre fut créée en 1952 à la Radiodiffusion française par le Chœur et l'Orchestre National sous la direction du compositeur et obtint trois ans plus tard sa première américaine à Los Angeles sous la direction de Franz Waxman, ainsi qu'un enregistrement phonographique sous la direction de Paul van Kempen. En 1953, l'année tragique du décès de sa femme Colette, Tansman achève son opéra Le Serment dont le livret est adapté d'après La Grande Bretêche de Balzac. Cet ouvrage est son opéra le plus fréquemment représenté. Il s'agit d'un épisode lyrique en deux tableaux, d'environ cinquante-cinq minutes. André Cluytens en dirigea la création mondiale en concert en 1954 à la radio française et la première représentation théâtrale eût lieu le 11 mars 1955 au Théâtre royal de la Monnaie à Bruxelles. Bruno Maderna dirigea en 1970 la première italienne de l'œuvre à la R.A.I. de Milan. Après avoir achevé son très stravinskyen Capriccio pour orchestre pour le Louisville Orchestra, une commande de la Ford Foundation qui fera immédiatement l'objet d'un enregistrement, Tansman compose le Concerto pour orchestre, une œuvre symphonique majeure qui sera dirigée par de très nombreux chefs d'orchestre.25 L'année où il achève son plus important opéra Sabbatai Zevi, une fresque lyrique en un prologue et quatre actes sur un livret de Nathan Bistritzky, Tansman effectue entre les 14 et 31 Juillet 1958 son premier voyage en Israël. Alexandre Tansman à son piano, à Paris, dans les années 1960. ( Photo Richard de Grab, Paris - New York ) Les années 1959 et 1960 voient Tansman enseigner la composition à Santiago de Compostela et prononcer sa conférence intitulée " Quelques réflexions sur la matière et l'esprit dans la musique contemporaine ". Dans la première moitié des années soixante, Tansman écrit des partitions importantes dans des genres aussi différents que le ballet (Résurrection (1962) sur un argument de Pierre Médecin d'après Tolstoï), la musique d'inspiration religieuse (Psaumes pour ténor , chœur mixte et orchestre (1961) ), l'opéra (L'usignolo de Boboli (1963) sur un argument de Mario Labroca), la musique symphonique (La Lutte de Jacob avec l'Ange, 1960, mouvement symphonique inspiré de Gauguin, Six études pour orchestre, 1962, Six Mouvements pour orchestre à cordes,1963, Concerto pour violoncelle et orchestre, 1963), la musique instrumentale (Suite in modo polonico pour guitare,1962, Fantaisie pour violon et piano, 1963). En 1967, la S.A.C.E.M. lui décerne le prix Hector Berlioz et Tansman effectue son premier voyage de l'après-guerre en Pologne. Alors commence la dernière période créatrice du compositeur, non moins fertile que les précédentes, dans laquelle Tansman conserve une parfaite maîtrise de tous ses moyens. Cette période est dominée par une série d'œuvres symphoniques majeures dans lesquelles le compositeur déploie ses qualités expressives, sachant parfaitement alterner vivacité et intériorité réflexive, usant d'un langage harmonique raffiné qui ménage les effets des tensions dissonantes et de leurs résolutions, employant une orchestration luxuriante et virtuose et une construction formelle claire et efficace. Citons les Quatre mouvements pour orchestre de 1968, le Diptyque pour orchestre de chambre et l'Hommage à Erasme de Rotterdam de 1969, la Stèle in memoriam Igor Stravinsky en 1972, l'Élégie à la mémoire de Darius Milhaud en 1975, la Sinfonietta n°2 pour orchestre de chambre en 1978 et les Dix Commandements en 1979. Le 5 mai 1977, Tansman est élu membre de l'Académie royale de Belgique (classe des Beaux-Arts ) en remplacement de Dimitri Chostakovitch décédé deux ans auparavant. Les années 1977 à 1980 marquent véritablement une renaissance de l'intérêt pour la musique de Tansman dans sa Pologne natale. Un festival Tansman est organisé à l'occasion de son 80e anniversaire26; un second festival a lieu à Poznan le 17 février 197827. L'année suivante, Tansman effectue une nouvelle visite en Pologne entre le 13 et le 20 juin. Enfin du 26 septembre au 10 Octobre 1980, un important Festival Tansman permet d'entendre de nombreuses œuvres parfois rarement jouées28. Dans les dernières années de sa vie, les autorités polonaises décernent à Tansman de nombreuses récompenses : médaille de l'Association des compositeurs polonais, Ordre du Mérite de la République Populaire de Pologne et Ordre du Mérite de la Culture Polonaise. En 1982, Tansman écrit sa dernière œuvre pour le concert : son Hommage à Lech Walesa, une mazurka pour guitare. Jusqu'à la fin de sa vie, Tansman s'est senti très concerné par les problèmes du monde contemporain. Il lui semblait indispensable dans ces années difficiles de l'Histoire de la Pologne, d'exprimer son admiration pour le courage du syndicaliste qui deviendra quelques années plus tard, le chef de l'État polonais. L'année même de son décès survenu à Paris le 15 Novembre 1986, Tansman est fait Docteur Honoris Causa de l'Académie Musicale de Lodz et la France l'honore en l'élevant au grade de Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, en septembre 1986. © 1998 by Gérald HUGON 29 1) Plus tard, Tansman ajoutera à ses connaissances linguistiques de jeunesse, l'espagnol et l'italien. [ Retour ] 2) Wojciech Gawrónski (1868-1910) pianiste, compositeur et chef d'orchestre polonais avait étudié la composition à l'Institut de Musique de Varsovie avec Noskowski puis plus tard, à Berlin, avec Moritz Moszkowski. Il est possible aussi qu'il ait travaillé l'orchestration avec Brahms. Comme pianiste, il fit de nombreuses tournées en Pologne et en Russie et était surtout admiré pour ses interprétations de Bach et Chopin. À partir de 1902, il enseigna à Varsovie et devint aussi professeur à l'école de musique de Lodz. Son catalogue d'œuvres comporte deux opéras, de la musique symphonique, des œuvres chorales, quatre quatuors à cordes, des sonates et des pièces pour instruments à cordes et piano ainsi que des mélodies. [ Retour ] 3) Piotr Rytel (1884-1970) compositeur et professeur polonais a écrit principalement des opéras, des ballets et quatre symphonies. Outre Tansman, on relève parmi ses élèves les noms de Tadeusz Baird (1928-1981), Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991 ) et Wlodzimierz Kotonski (1925). [ Retour ] 4) Cet exploit sera renouvelé quarante ans plus tard en 1959, lorsque le jeune Krzysztof Penderecki remportera dans les mêmes conditions les trois premiers prix du concours organisé par l'Association des compositeurs polonais en envoyant Strophes pour soprano, récitant et dix instruments, Émanations pour deux orchestres à cordes et Psaumes de David pour chœur mixte, deux pianos et percussion. [ Retour ] 5) Un exemple représentatif de cette inspiration française de Tansman peut être trouvé dans le premier mouvement « Pastorale » de la Troisième Sonatine pour piano (1933). [ Retour ] 6) Ce fut au cours de ce concert que Golschmann présenta Tansman à Pierre Monteux qui devait diriger quelques années plus tard la Suite symphonique de la Nuit Kurde (1926), la Toccata (1929) et les Deux Moments symphoniques (1932). [ Retour ] 7) Parmi le très grand nombre de partitions d'Alexandre Tansman dirigées par Vladimir Golschmann, il faut citer le Triptyque pour orchestre à cordes (1930), le Concertino pour piano et orchestre (1931), les Deux Moments symphoniques (1932) œuvre dédiée à Vladimir Golschmann, les Deux Pièces pour orchestre (1934) dédiées à Arturo Toscanini, l'Adagio pour orchestre à cordes (1936), les deux versions (pour orchestre symphonique et pour orchestre à cordes) des Variations sur un thème de Frescobaldi(1937), les orchestrations de la Toccata et Fugue en ré mineur B.W.V. 538 de Johann Sebastian Bach (1937) et des Deux Chorals B.W.V.705 et 599 (1939), la Rapsodie polonaise (1940), la Symphonie n°5 (1943), la Sérénade n°3 (1943), le Divertimentopour orchestre de chambre (1944), la Symphonie n°7 (1944), la Suite dans le goût espagnol (1949), les Ricercari (1949), la Sinfonia Piccola (1951-52), le Concerto pour orchestre (1954), la Suite baroque (1958), le Diptyque (1969). Les œuvres ci-dessus mentionnées données en création mondiale sous la direction de Golschmann sont imprimées en gras. [ Note du webmestre: sous certaines configurations, le gras n'est pas très apparent dans les petits caractères. Vous pouvez régler provisoirement votre navigateur sur une taille de police supérieure. ] [ Retour ] 8) Marya Freund (1876-1966) avait étudié le violon avec Pablo de Sarasate avant d'aborder le chant. Elle avait commencé une carrière de cantatrice à l'opéra de sa ville natale Breslau (aujourd'hui Wroclaw). Schoenberg admirait sa musicalité et lui avait demandé de chanter le rôle de Tove lors de la création de ses Gurrelieder. Plus tard, elle interpréta à Paris deux autres ouvrages de Schoenberg : les Quinze Lieder d'après le Livre des Jardins suspendus de Stefan George op. 15 et le Pierrot lunaire. [ Retour ] 9) Émission de Catherine Ravet et Alain Jomy diffusée par France Musique (Radio France) le 28 février 1985. [ Retour ] 10) Les principales compositions de Tansman dans lesquelles on peut relever l'influence du jazz sont la Sonatine pour violon ou flûte et piano (1925), le ballet Lumières (1927), la Sonatine transatlantique pour piano ou orchestre (1930), la Symphonie n°3"Concertante" (1931), le n°1 du Tour du monde en miniature (1933), les ballets Bric à Brac et La Grande Ville (1935), le « Blues » n°6 des Huit Novelettes pour piano (1936), Trois Préludes en forme de blues pour piano (1937), Carnival Suite pour orchestre ou deux pianos (1942), Ricercari pour orchestre (1949), le ballet Résurrection (1962), le « Tempo di blues » n°2 de l'Album d'Amis (1980). [ Retour ] 11) Irving Schwerke, Alexandre Tansman Compositeur polonais, Paris, 1931, Éditions Max Eschig. [ Retour ] 12) « Je peux le dire spontanément. J'ai fait le même parcours à peu près que Bartók ou de Falla, par exemple, le folklore imaginé. Je ne me suis pas servi des thèmes populaires, mais enfin, j'ai utilisé ce genre de ligne mélodique. Parce que le folklore polonais est très riche au point de vue harmonique et au point de vue mélodique » in Alexandre Tansman : Œuvre et Témoignage, in les Chemins de la Connaissance, émission n° 1 : « La Pologne, Enfance et Vocation » de Marie-Hélène Pinel, diffusée le 8 mars 1980 sur France Culture (Radio France). [ Retour ] 13) Le nombre d'œuvres de Tansman témoignant d'une influence polonaise est si considérable qu'il serait disproportionné de les énoncer ici en totalité : mentionnons malgré tout les plus importantes : Sinfonietta n°1 (1924), Quatuor à cordes n°3 (1925),Symphonie n°2 en la mineur (1926), Suite pour deux pianos et orchestre (1928), Suite-Divertissement pour violon, alto, violoncelle et piano (1929), Quatre Danses polonaises pour orchestre ou piano (1931), Deux Pièces pour orchestre (1934), Fantaisie pour violoncelle et orchestre (1936), Sérénade n°2 pour violon, alto et violoncelle (1937), Rapsodie polonaise pour orchestre ou piano (1940), Tombeau de Chopin pour orchestre ou quintette à cordes (1949), Ricercari pour orchestre (1949), Suite légère pour orchestre (1955), Concerto pour clarinette et orchestre (1957), Musique à Six pour clarinette, quatuor à cordes et piano (1977), Sinfonietta n°2 (1978) ainsi que dans de très nombreuses œuvres pour piano dont la Sonate n°2 (1928) et les quatre recueils deMazurkas (1918-1928, 1932, 1941) ainsi qu'une grande partie de son œuvre pour guitare, Mazurka (1925), Trois Pièces (1954), Suite in modo polonico (1962), jusqu'à l'ultime Hommage à Lech Walesa (1982). [ Retour ] 14) Interview du 10 août 1986 avec Christine de Obaldia, diffusée sur France Culture (Radio France) in « Mémoires du siècle » le 14 décembre1986. [ Retour ] 15) A cette série d'œuvres appartiennent les Chants hébraïques (1933), Deux Images de la Bible pour orchestre (1935), la Rapsodie hébraïque (1938), Adam et Eve n° 2 de la suite biblique pour récitant et orchestre (1944), la Suite hébraïque pour orchestre (1944), R'hitia Jewish Dance pour piano (1944), la Prière hébraïque pour ténor, chœur mixte, piano ou orgue (1945), Kol-Nidrei pour ténor, chœur mixte et orgue (1945), Ma Tovu-How fair are thy tents pour ténor ou baryton, chœur mixte et orgue (1946), Le Cantique des Cantiques pour orchestre de chambre (1946), La Sulamite pour orchestre de chambre (1946), l'oratorio Isaïe le Prophète (1950), les Quatre Prières pour chœur mixte sur des Psaumes de David (1951), Deux Pièces hébraïques pour orgue ou piano (1954-55), l'Album d'Israël pour orchestre de chambre (1958) ou Visit to Israël pour piano (1958), Prologue et Cantate pour chœur de femmes et orchestre de chambre (1957), la fresque lyrique en un prologue et 4 actes Sabbatai Zevi, le Faux Messie (1957-58), les Psaumes pour ténor, chœur mixte et orchestre (1960-1961), Eli, Eli, Lamma Sabatchani in memoriam d'Auschwitz pour chant et piano (1966), l'Apostrophe à Zion pour chœur et orchestre (1976-1977), Les Dix Commandements pour orchestre (1978-1979). [ Retour ] 16) Voir Janusz Cegiella, Dziecko Szczescia Aleksander Tansman I Jego Czasy, tome I, p. 348, Lodz, 1996, Wydawnictwo 86 Press. [ Retour ] 17) La première exécution mondiale de la Symphonie n° 4 ne sera programmée en fait qu'en Juin 1998 à l'occasion des séances d'enregistrement prévues par l'Orchestre Symphonique de Bamberg, dirigé par Israël Yinon pour la firme Koch-Schwann. [ Retour ] 18) L'année 1940 voit l'achèvement de Valse-Impromptu, des 3e et 4e recueils d'Intermezzi, des quatre recueils de pièces pour piano 4 mains intitulées Les Jeunes au piano. Avant de quitter Nice en 1941, Tansman avait terminé la Sonate pour deux pianos, les trois pièces Mazurka, Canzone orientale, Moment musical, les trois Ballades, les 3e et 4e recueils de Mazurkas, les Six Etudes de virtuosité, la Sonate n°4. [ Retour ] 19) La Rapsodie polonaise sera créée à St Louis les 11 et 12 novembre 1941 à l'Opera House, Kiel Auditorium par le St Louis Symphony Orchestra dirigé par Vladimir Golschmann. D'autres exécutions eurent lieu les 16 et 18 Avril 1942 avec le Cleveland Orchestra dirigé par Arthur Rodzinski, le 25 Octobre 1942 avec le Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra dirigé par Dimitri Mitropoulos, le 3 Janvier 1943 avec le New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra dirigé par Dimitri Mitropoulos, le 31 janvier à Washington et le 2 février 1943 avec le National Symphony Orchestra de Washington dirigé par le compositeur, les 14 et 15 Mars 1943 par le St Louis Symphony Orchestra dirigé par Vladimir Golschmann. [ Retour ] 20) Elisabeth Sprague Coolidge (1864-1953) créa en 1925 une fondation qui porte son nom à la Bibliothèque du Congrès de Washington pour permettre au département musique de la Bibliothèque d'organiser des festivals, de présenter des concerts, d'offrir des récompenses ou prix à toute(s) composition(s) originale(s) jouées en public au cours des festivals et des concerts produits sous les auspices de la Bibliothèque. En 1932, elle institua l'Elisabeth Sprague Coolidge Medal qui est distribuée chaque année à un ou plusieurs récipiendaires pour "des services éminents rendus à la musique de chambre". Outre la Quatrième Sonate pour piano, Elisabeth Sprague Coolidge avait commandé à Tansman en 1930 son Triptyque pour orchestre à cordes (ou quatuor à cordes). Par ailleurs, Madame Coolidge sera la dédicataire de la Sérénade n°3 pour orchestre (1943). [ Retour ] 21) Le premier mouvement, « Andante cantabile », est écrit pour instruments à vent, percussion et piano, le second pour orchestre à cordes et quatuor à cordes concertino, le troisième pour l'orchestre complet, tandis que le final est conçu pour chœur et orchestre. [ Retour ] 22) Les œuvres programmées sont les Symphonies n°5, 6, 7, Deux Moments symphoniques, la Sérénade n°3, la Rapsodie polonaise, le Triptyque, la Partita n°2 pour piano et orchestre de chambre (1944), et la Suite pour deux pianos et orchestre. [ Retour ] 23) Alexandre Tansman, Igor Stravinsky, Paris, Amiot-Dumont 1948. [ Retour ] 24) Les deux autres œuvres que Tansman pensait avoir le mieux réussi dans toute sa carrière de compositeur étaient son Concerto pour orchestre (1954) et la fresque lyrique Sabbatai Zevi (1958). [ Retour ] 25) Franz André, Manuel Rosenthal, Vladimir Golschmann, Charles Brück, Stanislaw Wislocki, Igor Blazhkov, Maurice Le Roux, Eduard Flipse, Jean Fournet, Renard Czajkowski, Tadeusz Strugala, Antonio de Almeida. [ Retour ] 26) Les principales œuvres jouées sont Stèle in memoriam Igor Stravinsky, Concerto n° 2 pour piano et orchestre, Suite Baroque, Concertino pour piano et orchestre. [ Retour ] 27) Le programme comprenait l'Hommage à Erasme de Rotterdam, le Concertino pour piano et orchestre, l'Élégie à la mémoire de Darius Milhaud et le Concerto pour orchestre. [ Retour ] 28) Quatre Danses polonaises, Concerto n°2 pour piano et orchestre, Quatre Mouvements pour orchestre, Rapsodie polonaise, Concerto pour violoncelle et orchestre, 8 Mélodies japonaises, Quatuor à cordes n°6, 11 Interludes pour piano et Suite in Modo Polonico pour guitare. [ Retour ] 29) La rédaction de Musica et Memoria remercie vivement Mme Mireille Tansman Zanuttini de nous avoir autorisé à publier ici ce travail de M. Gérald Hugon. Il peut être également consulté dans l'ouvrage collectif « Hommage au compositeur Alexandre Tansman (1897-1986) », publié en 2000 par les Presses de l'Université de Paris-Sorbonne, comportant 16 communications réunies par Pierre Guillot, professeur à l'Université de Paris IV - Sorbonne, classées en 4 parties : Biographie, Style, Analyse et esthétique, Diffusion et réception de l'œuvre. (254 pages, ISSN : 1275-2622, ISBN : 2-84050-175-9, prix : 169FF). Peut être commandé auprès de l'Association des Amis d'Alexandre Tansman. [ Retour ] Exposition virtuelle présentée lors de la journée consacrée à Alexandre Tansman, le 30 mars 2014 à la Médiathèque Alliance Baron Edmond de Rothschild (avec l’aimable autorisation de Mme Mireille Tansman Zanuttini) DR. CATALOGUE DES ŒUVRES Le Catalogue complet de l'œuvre d'Alexandre Tansman a été établi en 1995 par M. Gérald Hugon (Éditions Max Eschig), avec la collaboration des filles du compositeur, Mmes Mireille Tansman Zanuttini et Marianne Tansman Martinozzi. Y figurent, outre toutes les œuvres par genres, les dates de composition, les effectifs, les premières auditions, les exécutions les plus importantes dont on a gardé mémoire, ainsi que les œuvres encore inédites qui ont pu être recensées et toutes les éditions disponibles. Cet ouvrage de 124 pages, illustré de nombreuses photographies du compositeur et de fac-similés de ses partitions, peut être acquis auprès des Editions Max Eschig, 4-6 Place de la Bourse, 75002 Paris, ou auprès de l'Association des Amis d’Alexandre Tansman. Catalogue pratique La musique d'Alexandre Tansman sur CD " LES AMIS D’ALEXANDRE TANSMAN " L'Association " Les Amis d'Alexandre Tansman ", loi 1901, a été créée en 1987 dans le but de promouvoir la musique d'Alexandre Tansman : susciter des enregistrements, mettre à disposition la documentation des archives, faire circuler l'information sur les éditions, les concerts, les concours, la bibliographie, la mise à jour de la discographie et tout événement contribuant à honorer la mémoire du compositeur. Andrés Segovia et Alexandre Tansman en 1955, à l'Academia Chigiana de Sienne ( photo Studio Grassi ) Le président en est le compositeur et pianiste Michaël Levinas, élu en remplacement de M. Henri Dutilleux décédé en mai 2013. Parmi les membres du comité d'honneur, l'Académie Royale de Belgique, Mmes Jankélévitch, Milhaud, Segovia, MM. Barenboim, Cziffra, Landowski, Lutoslawski, Ohana, Penderecki. Le siège de l'Association est 3, rue Florence Blumenthal, 75016 Paris. Pour toute information, contacter Mmes Mireille Tansman Zanuttini et Marianne Tansman Martinozzi : tél. : 01 45 25 78 54 ou 06 70 10 01 11. Email : Site Internet : Un entretien avec Alexandre Tansman en 1949 par Yves Hucher Alexandre Tansman est né le 12 juin 1897à Lodz. Il est devenu Français en 1920. La tourmente l'emporta en Amérique d'où il revint en 1946, après des concerts donnés à travers le monde. On le surnomme " le pèlerin d'Europe ". Au seuil de la demeure de cet artiste infatigable, un piano me rappelle le nom de sa compagne : Colette Cras, la fille du compositeur Jean Cras. Presque tout de suite j'ai pu interroger le compositeur sur ses préférences esthétiques. Je suis de plus en plus attiré par les formes de la musique pure : l'orchestre, la musique de chambre. La musique, je l'ai toujours pensé, doit être constructive et "se tenir" sans aucun soutien littéraire. Dans ma symphonie dédiée à la mémoire de ceux qui sont morts pour la France, comme dans ma Rapsodie polonaise écrite, en souvenir de la défense de Varsovie en 1940, j'ai évité toute influence littéraire. Vous avez pourtant écrit pour le théâtre ? Oui, mais même en ces circonstances j'ai cherché à éviter la servile représentation musicale d'un fait ou d'une idée pour ne conserver que le climat, l'atmosphère. Cela a dû vous être encore plus difficile au cinéma ? Vous posez la question des rapports esthétiques entre le musicien et le cinéaste. Actuellement, la musique de film, par la seule faute des producteurs qui ont dressé des catalogues de clichés, repose entièrement sur des procédés qu'il serait urgent d'éliminer. Lorsqu'on vous montre une table dans un documentaire, il n'est pas utile de dire : " Ceci est une table. " Lorsque des gens s'embrassent à l'écran, pourquoi nous oblige-t-on à utiliser les " cordes divisées " ? J'ai eu " l'audace ", un jour en Amérique, d'accompagner une scène d'amour de deux cors : gros scandale, violentes discussions avec le producteur et pour la première fois la presse a parlé de la musique d'un film. Je pense d'ailleurs que sauf les partitions de Milhaud et de Copland, la musique des films américains est une salade, sans intérêt. J'ai l'impression que vous pourriez illustrer ces dires de quelques histoires vécues. Si vous y tenez... C'était à Hollywood, durant un enregistrement. A la répétition, je demande qu'un trait de clarinette soit essayé une octave plus bas ; j'entends soudain derrière moi une voix, celle du producteur, qui, inquiet peut-être pour ses capitaux, me suggère : " Vous ne pensez pas qu'une demi-octave seulement pourrait faire l'affaire ? " Une autre fois, toujours au " Paradis du Cinéma ", on me demande la partition d'un film sur la Résistance française, mais vue d’Hollywood ; et l'éternel producteur de bien me préciser : " Surtout, écrivez-nous une musique très française, n'est-ce pas, par exemple " genre " Tchaïkowsky. " Enfin, une antre fois je dus même résilier un contrat pour m'être trouvé devant des conditions inacceptables : le producteur voulait entendre au fur et à mesure, au piano, tout ce que je composais et hochait parfois la tête en disant : " II faut quelque chose que le public puisse fredonner, faites-nous de la musique banale, que diable ! " Et malgré cela, vous ne regrettez pas vos années américaines ? En effet, malgré cela, malgré les tentatives malheureuses comme celle qui consista un jour à donner tout " Carmen " en jazz, je ne regrette rien, car un fait domine, à mon sens, l'activité musicale en Amérique : ce pays est plus ouvert que la vieille Europe à la musique contemporaine. Les raisons ? J'en vois deux : d'abord et toujours et malheureusement, l'argent, et, cause plus sympathique, le séjour de musiciens européens qui ont su ne pas se laisser américaniser et qui exercent, au contraire, une influence bienfaisante sur la vie musicale américaine, laquelle ne connaît pas d'étroit nationalisme. Comment se manifeste cette tendance ? A Paris, sauf à la Radio, il y a peu de premières auditions ; et en province, pour ne citer qu'un nom, en dehors de l'Oiseau de Feu, qu'a-t-on joué de Strawinsky ? Là-bas, les noms des compositeurs contemporains côtoient journellement ceux des grands classiques. Il n'est pas question de donner des festivals de musique contemporaine, mais de présenter une on deux premières auditions dans chaque programme. Bien plus, les œuvres ne sont pas exécutées une seule fois, mais restent au répertoire et sont souvent rejouées. Non seulement le public suit, mais depuis l5 ou 20 ans que cela dure, il trouve là une nourriture nécessaire. Il faut dire aussi que si les orchestres européens ne sont en rien inférieurs à ceux d'Amérique, les conditions de travail des musiciens sont toutes différentes : ils sont payés au mois et l'on n'a pas à compter le nombre des répétitions. Vous étiez, m'a-t-on dit, le cinquième compositeur vivant le plus joué en Amérique. II se peut. Malgré cela — encore — il y avait là-bas trop de tentations, trop de concessions à faire pour ne pas accepter la facilité. J'y ai beaucoup appris, nous y avons été accueillis avec la plus franche amitié et une générosité pleine de tact par tout le monde — et je ne citerai que le nom de l'admirable Mme Coolidge — ; mais malgré cela — toujours — j'ai préféré l'Europe et toutes ses misères à une vie plus large ; car ce qui manque, voyez-vous, à l'élément créateur américain, c'est la tradition artistique et... la souffrance. Un lourd silence succède à ce propos lourd d'émotion. Je le romps pourtant. Avez-vous senti là-bas quel pouvait être l'avenir de la musique moderne ? Ne dites pas musique moderne, mais plutôt contemporaine. Il y a là une confusion esthétique qu'il faut éviter à tout prix. C'est d'ailleurs l'opinion d'Hindemith avec qui j'ai passé une semaine à Londres et de Strawinsky qui m'écrivait encore dernièrement à ce sujet. Je pense que nous devons nous garder de cette recherche de l'effet de choc et d'originalité voulue que la " musique moderne " contient plus que l'inspiration et le travail constructif. Elle a trop envie d'agressivité, envie d'être d'avant-garde avec des moyens extra-musicaux qu'on peut intégrer au travail de construction, sans en faire un but. C'est toute l'histoire du mouvement dodécaphonique qui a voulu faire une révolution sur un système et non sur une méthode. Ce système a été présenté comme une nouveauté, alors qu'il existe depuis 40 ans et que Schoenberg en a utilisé tout ce qu'il a de bon. Pour me résumer, je dirai que le créateur doit dominer sa matière, filtrer ce qu'il fait et se défier du " système ", le grand ennemi de l'art, le système qui confond anarchie et liberté. Je pense que nous pouvons terminer sur cette déclaration. Voulez-vous revoir mon " papier " avant l'impression ? Inutile. Nous ne sommes pas en Amérique. Pourquoi cette boutade ? C'est une dernière anecdote. Lors de ma première tournée en Amérique, un reporter qu'on aurait aussi bien adressé à Georges Carpentier ou à Suzanne Lenglen, me questionna sur Paderewski, le maître à qui je dois tant. " C'est un tel génie, répondis-je, que n'importe quoi qu'il fît, même autre chose que de jouer du piano, il le ferait avec du génie. " Et le journal titrait le lendemain au-dessus de ma photo : " Tansman déclare : Paderewski est un grand génie, mais un mauvais pianiste..." ! Yves HUCHER Le Guide du Concert (11 novembre 1949) CONCOURS INTERNATIONAL ALEXANDRE TANSMAN En 2006, le 6ème Concours international et Festival des Personnalités musicales Alexandre Tansman , organisé par M. Andrzej Wendland, qui a lieu tous les deux ans depuis 1996 dans la ville natale du compositeur, Lódz', a inspiré plus de 400 candidats de 51 pays. L’idée du concours consiste à rechercher et promouvoir des personnalités musicales. La formule est particulièrement intéressante, car contrairement aux autres concours, celui-ci est interdisciplinaire et ouvert à différents domaines musicaux. Les précédents concours concernaient plusieurs instruments (piano, violon, violoncelle, clarinette, flûte, guitare). Cette année, c’était un concours de composition, sans limite d’âge. La 1re session s’est déroulée du 6 au 8 octobre 2006. Le jury était constitué par des compositeurs de renommée internationale : Zygmunt Krauze (Pologne) président, Krzysztof Penderecki (Pologne), Michael Nyman (Grande Bretagne), Heinz Holliger (Suisse), Wing Wah Chan (Hong Kong), Joel Hoffman (USA), Menachem Zur (Israël). Il a sélectionné, parmi les 400 partitions, 4 finalistes, dont les œuvres ont été interprétées par l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Lódz' le 17 novembre sous la direction de Luca Pfaff : Krystof Maratka (Tchèque, résidant à Paris), qui a obtenu le 1er Grand Prix de 12000 USD pour son œuvre Luminarium, concerto pour clarinette et orchestre, avec pour soliste Julien Hervé ; John Marlow Rhys (Grande Bretagne), pour son œuvre Primavera and La Luna piena pour soprano et orchestre, 3e prix ex æquo avec Satoshi Ohmae (Japon) pour Spazio variato pour orchestre ; Geoffrey Alvarez (Grande Bretagne), 4e prix avec son Concertino pour orchestre de chambre. Des œuvres de musique de chambre des compositeurs, membres du jury, ont été interprétées en concert le 18 novembre. Le concours s’est déroulé dans le cadre du Festival avec de nombreux concerts du 13 au 19 novembre 2006 où plusieurs œuvres d’Alexandre Tansman ont été interprétées. Signalons notamment : ouverture le 13 novembre avec le Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra, dirigé par W. Michniewski (Quatre Mouvements pour Orchestre, Concerto n° 2 pour piano et orchestre, soliste Marek Drewnowski, Fantaisie pour violoncelle et orchestre, soliste Andrzej Bauer, L’oiseau de Feu de Stravinsky, Un Américain à Paris de Gershwin) ; le concert avec l’orchestre à cordes Amadeus, dirigé par Agniescka Duczmal (Variations sur un thème de Frescobaldi, Triptyque, Partita, 8e Quatuor et une œuvre d’A. Piazzolla) ; la Sonate pour deux violons, avec Krzysztof Jakowicz et Jakub Jakowicz. Le Festival s’est terminé par un concert de gala avec l'Orchestre Symphonique Radio polonaise placé sous la direction de Jan Krenz. Au programme fut donnée une œuvre de Gorecki dédiée à Alexandre Tansman : le Concerto pour clavecin et orchestre (soliste Elzbieta Chojnacka). 1897-1919 : birth and studies in Poland Alexander Tansman is born in Łódź on June 11 1897. His father, Mosze Tansman (photo 1) and his mother, Hanna Gurwicz (photo 2) belong to the Jewish upper-middle class, cultured and music lover. They take particularly care of their children’s education, Alexander, called Sacha, and his elder sister, Teresa. Sacha begins to compose « in the style of Chopin » at a very early age. Thanks to studies at the secondary school of Łódź in numerus clausus (photo 3), the young adolescent will then be allowed to accede to the University of Warsaw. In Łódź, he studies simultaneously piano, harmony and music theory with Piotr Rytel. It is in Warsaw, where he runs at once Law and Philosophy studies and musical studies at the Conservatory, that Tansman will assert his vocation of composer, encouraged by some, but discouraged by the Polish critics. In fact, though he knows nothing about the Western musical movements of the time, he uses polytonal harmony, resolutions of chords beyond the limits of functional harmony. Thanks to a competition of composition, organized in Poland, which was once more independent, the young man wins the three first prizes under three different pseudonyms. He obtains his passport from the first President of the Polish Republic, Ignacy Paderewski, and decides to go to Paris at the end of 1919. 1919-1941 : Paris and the fulfilment of his musical career His musical career is the fruit of a providential meeting with Maurice Ravel, who introduces him in the best « salons » (meeting places of the artists), to his publishers and to a great number of performers. Thus, he becomes soon a member of the Parisian musical life (photo 4). He makes friends with the musicians of the « Groupe des Six » and sees frequently the most important musical personalities of the time : Bartók, Gershwin, Honegger, Milhaud, Prokofiev, Roussel, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, etc. (photo 5). His works are quickly played in Paris and then, in Europe and the United States. Thanks to his talent of pianist, he can play his own works (photo 6). The commissions are more and more numerous, as well as the tours, in particular the American ones, with Koussevitzky, Mitropoulos, Golschmann, Monteux, Mengelberg, Toscanini, Serafin, Stokowski, etc. (photos 7 & 8). A first monograph, Alexander Tansman, Polish Composer, is published in 1930. He is a member, in the thirties, of a group called « l’École de Paris », together with composers from the Center and Eastern Europe : Tcherepnine, Martinu, Mihalovici, Harsanyi. During his American tour in 1927-1928, the composer meets Gershwin and Chaplin and makes friends with them. He dedicates to the latter his Second Concerto for piano and orchestra (photo 9). In America, he frequents, together with Gershwin (and Ravel during his first tour) the night-clubs, and thus, numerous influences of jazz can be found in some of his works (photo 10). In 1932-1933, he makes a tour around the world, where he will have the occasion to meet Gandhi, the Emperor of Japan… So he enriches his musical language with oriental rythms and harmonies (photo 11 ou 11bis). In 1937, he marries the pianist Colette Cras (photo 12 ou 12bis), daughter of the composer and Admiral Jean Cras), and one year later, he decides to take the French nationality. Because of the tragic shadow which spreads gradually in Europe, his works are forbidden in several countries from 1938, and in France with the Laws of Vichy. His name appears now on the blacklist (Entartekunst) and he is obliged to flee to Nice with his family (enlarged with two little girls, Mireille and Marianne), where he will stay from June 1940 to August 1941. 1941-1946 : the exile in the United States Thanks to a committee set up by Chaplin, Toscanini, Koussevitzky, Stokowski, Mitropoulos and Golschmann, the Tansman family is able to go into exile in the United States (photo 13). As soon as he reaches the United States, Alexander Tansman is awarded the Coolidge Medal for his 4th piano Sonata. Shortly afterwards, he settles with his family in Los Angeles, where he will live till April 1946. During these years of exile, he composes many important works, among which three Symphonies (5th, 6th, 7th)… and in the meantime, he writes a series of film scores in order to provide security for his family. He makes numerous tours, conducting and playing his own works in the most important towns (photo 14). It is around this time that Tansman makes strong friends with Stravinsky (photo 15), whom he will always admire as man and composer. Thus, as soon as he comes back to France, he will write an important monography, Igor Stravinsky, afterwards, numerous articles, and at the composer’s death, his splendid Stèle in memoriam Stravinsky. In Hollywood, where have settled a great number of artists and writers exiled from all over the world, Alexander Tansman appears among the composers who are most played. However, he cannot adjust to the American mentality and he is homesick of Europe, and particularly of Paris. He decides then to return to France, which he considers as his chosen country. 1946-1986 : contrasted years Shortly afterwards his return to France, in April 1946, Tansman celebrates his fiftieth birthday with numerous tours in Europe. Sacha and Colette Tansman play together the concertant works for piano in many countries. The French Radio commissions him many works, Tansman festivals are organized, his career seems to have taken off well again… except in Poland. The death of his wife Colette in 1953 is the most painful loss of his life. However, his creativity is more and more prolific and his works of that time show a great maturity, among which : the oratorio Isaïe le prophète and the operas, Le Serment, Sabbataï Zevi. He continues to privilege symphonic music and chamber music. During the seventies, in France, his music is described as too « neoclassical » and isolates/cuts him from the musical life, just like other composers of his generation. However, Poland discovers him gradually. After about fifty years, Tansman returns to his native country. He is welcomed as the « child prodigy of Łódź » ; festivals, articles, interviews are devoted to him (photo 16). And above all, the first Polish biography, written by Janusz Cegiella, in collaboration with the composer, gives him the popularity for which he had always longed (of which he had always dreamed) among his compatriots. He is awarded numerous Polish decorations, among which the one of « Merit of Culture » (photo 17) and is commissioned by the State (Sinfonietta N° 2). One of his last works is a mazurka for guitar, Hommage à Lech Walesa (photo 18). In 1977, he is honoured also by Belgium and he is elected to the Belgium Royal Academy, in the Fine Arts class, replacing Dimitri Shostakovitch (photo 19). In France, he is awarded the title of Order of Arts and Letters (Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres) in 1986 (photo 20). Alexander Tansman will not live enough however to see the independence of his native country and he will be awarded post mortem « Doctor honoris causa of the Music Academy of Łódź ». From 1996, an International Competition Alexander Tansman is organized in his native town in November every two years (photo 21 ou 21bis). He dies in Paris on November 15 1986. Tansman’s artistic heritage includes more than 300 works for various instrumental and vocal groups, among which 7 operas, 11 ballets, 6 oratorios, 80 orchestral scores (among which 9 Symphonies), many works of chamber music, 8 Concerti for all the instruments, about a hundred pages for piano, etc., a great number of stage music and film scores, and many works for children. (But let the composer express his own concept of creation ) « […] I think personally that in music present and past are linked together […]. I don’t want to be a modern composer. I think that this expression is too equivocal for its very roots, implying fashion. I want to be a musician of my time, that is, try to pursue the fundamental and unchangeable aim of music with the means of my time, or rather with the means acquired by my time through its evolution ». ebay3555 Condition: Very good condition of the original hand signed autograph, The reproduction action photo and the decorative mat ( Pls look at scan for accurate AS IS images ), Country/Region of Manufacture: Poland, Autograph Authentication: 100% Authenticity GUARANTEED - Unlimited RETURN, Country//Region of Manufacture: Poland

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