mercredi 23 octobre 2013

Jean Catoire (1923 - 2005 ) The 1st French Minimalist composer

Again a "coup de cœur" for my second post dedicated to piano compositions.
This one is what i call my "2012 discovery". And it is due to my friend and excellent composer (that you really have to check out too) Frédérick Martin. As some day we spoke, and when he was aware of my very strange tastes, he told me to ckeck out the compositions of his old conductor teacher "Jean Catoire", that i might really like it.
After a phone call, i was invited by his widow (Catherine Catoire) to his house. As we talked quite a lot, and after a very nice tea, Catherine gave me a huge mass of score, and ... that was only piano!!!
When i opened them, i really liked what i saw : a wonderful mixture of Arvo Pärt and Morton Feldman. But the real shock came at the end of the 1st score ... composed in ... 1967 !!!! 9 years before Arvo Pärt composed his "Für Alina" !!! The same year Philip Glass was still in experimenting the Shankar influence ! And more than that : at a period where France was deeply under the serialism dogma ! No composer in France was supposed to compose in this way at this time !
And... he stopped to compose for piano solo in 1988 !
                                                                      Jean Catoire

Jean Catoire was a student of Messiaen, and as all his students started to compose in the "atonalism way", and in 1960 he changed radically his way. As Catherine told me, he got a revelation, and was able to see a sketch of the composition, a kind of "perfect achitecture" (for me sounded like the famous sketches that Scriabin used to wrote to make a "perfect scheme" for his late music).
As a result his master and all his friends and followers totally stopped to respect him, as ... he was doing something too far away from the serialism.  
As you will be able to discover with the 6 videos (Opus 134, 145, 154, 204, 205 & 206), Catoire music is slow, meditative and you are loosing all senses of space and time. And even after a little moment you can even experience the "Wheel within the Wheel" effect. Simply fabulous, Satie could not dream of something better when he was preparing his famous Vexations.
So this is a list of all piano solo compositions of Jean Catoire. You can also see that they are from 6 minutes long to 4 hours and 30 minutes.
Opus 43 6 minutes Opus 224 45 minutes
Opus 60 10 minutes Opus 256 50 minutes
Opus 77a 11 minutes Opus 278 1 heure 30 minutes
Opus 92 10 minutes Opus 283 10 minutes
Opus 134 8 minutes Opus 296 30 minutes
Opus 137 2 heures Opus 303 ter 3 heures 30 minutes
Opus 145 6 minutes Opus 312 4 heures 30 minutes
Opus 154 10 minutes Opus 318 10 minutes
Opus 157 2 heures 30 minutes Opus 319 10 minutes
Opus 162 15 minutes Opus 320 12 minutes
Opus 163 20 minutes Opus 321 10 minutes
Opus 164 50 minutes Opus 322 12 minutes
Opus 204 15 minutes Opus 410 25 minutes
Opus 205 15 minutes Opus 420 3 heures
Opus 206 15 minutes Opus 427 3 heures
Opus 207 15 minutes Opus 504 Ter 2 heures
Opus 210 15 minutes Opus 520 4 heures
Opus 211 30 minutes Opus 546 2 heures
I try as much as possible to perform and premiere his piano works, so the public can be aware of this forgotten genious.
I am planning to perform his complete piano music in a 35 hours long concert. But unfortunately... i could not make it for the 10th Birthday of Catoire death. I really hope to do it later.
But after many tests, i must confess that Catoire music, is not mixing with everything. Otherwise the audience will simply not understant it. Surrounded by early Liszt , Chopin or Rachmaninov it will not work. On the other hand, some slow Satie, late Liszt or even better Pärt, Feldman or Otte will be perfect !
Enough talk, and now it's time to enjoy! Turn off the light, take a nice green tea or red wine, and meditate! : ))
Opus 134

                                                                        Opus 145

                                                                         Opus 154

                                                                          Opus 204

                                                                         Opus 205

                                                                          Opus 206

You can have more information on the composer official website (updated by Catherine Catoire)

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