Sunday, June 9, 2013

Albéric Magnard - Symphony No. 4

Image via Wikipedia
1914 saw the German invasion of France.  September saw the bosche approach the estate of one of France's most renown composers.  Albéric Magnard shot at them, killing one.  They returned fire, paying him the same attention.  In the fire that destroyed the house both Magnard and a number of incomplete compositions went up in flames.

Today is Magnard's birthday.  His was a less lyrical and more exciting musical style, often compared to Anton Bruckner.  His 4th Symphony offered here was written the year before his death, at the height of his compositional career.  The son of privilege (his father was the editor of the newspaper Le Figaro), he was determined to make it on his own.  He was largely successful at that.

But it was his end that made him a national hero.  That same determination to succeed by his own efforts showed a stubbornness that the German soldiers were to feel.  That spirit of defiance endeared him to his fellow countrymen.  Looking back, it shows how different the world was back then, when prominent intellectuals were men of action.


Old NFO said...

Thanks for that piece of history and some good music!

libertyman said...

Another new one and a great story.
Just back from Maine, a beautiful day here!

Don said...

Magnard's story reminds me of Jehan Alain in a later war. From Wikipedia:

"Always interested in mechanics, Alain was a skilled motorcyclist and became a dispatch rider in the Eighth Motorised Armour Division of the French Army. On 20 June 1940, he was assigned to reconnoitre the German advance on the eastern side of Saumur, and encountered a group of German soldiers at Le Petit-Puy. Coming around a curve, and hearing the approaching tread of the Germans, he abandoned his motorcycle and engaged the enemy troops with his carbine, killing 16 of them before being killed himself. He was posthumously awarded the Croix de Guerre for his bravery, and according to Nicolas Slonimsky was buried, by the Germans, with full military honours."

Alain's best-known composition is "Litanies," played here by his sister.