Composer of 'G'




Henri Gagnebin (1886-1977)

A Swiss composer and an organist of Belgian birth. Real name is Henri David Gagnebin. Born in Liège on 13th March of 1886. Hence his father was an minister (unclear whether the word means priest or diplomat), the family went back to Swiss in 1892. He entered the Conservatory in Lausanne and studied composition, orchestration, and organ under Joseph Lauber, as well as (possibly) organ and composition under Otto Barblan. He also went to Paris for studying composition under Vincent D'indy, piano under Blanche Selva. He also took personal lessons under Oscar Schulz in Berlin. Subsequently he had appointed the organist positions in numerous protestant churches in Paris, Genève, and Lausanne before he went back to Swiss in 1916. He became the professor of organ and music history in Genève, Lausanne, and Neuchâtel Conservatory. From 1925 to 1957, he was the director of the Genève Conservatory. He is the founder of Genève International Players Competition in 1938, and have been the chairman of the association until 1959. He received Genève city music prize in 1961 and the honorary professor from Genève Conservatory . He also left some books including 'Historical studies for renaissance arts movement in 16th century Germany, Swiss, and France / Etudes historiques sur la réformation au XVIe siècle en Allemagne, en Suisse et en France (1936, Ed.La Concorde, 205p.) as well as his biographical book Music my beautiful concern: Reflections of my life / Musique mon beau souci. Réflexions sur mon métier (1968, Editions de la Baconniere, 168p.) His musical diction is based on Franckism with hints of expressionism. He died in Genève on 1st June in 1977 (©K.S. 2006).


Main Works

Orchestral symphonie No.1 (1911)
Symphonic Poem 'The Virgin in Mad'
les vierges folles (1913)
symphonie No.2 (1921)
suite (1936)

Three Symphonic Pictures
trois tableaux symphoniques: après Hodler (1942)
nocturne (1944) {small-orch}
Spring printemps: le jeune homme admiré par les femmes (1948)
1'st Suite Based on Psalms of New-French Christians première suite sur des psaumes huguenots (1950)
symphonie No.3 (1955)
2'nd Suite Based on Psalms of New-French Christians deuxième suite sur des psaumes huguenots (1966)
symphonie No.4 (-)
... Doubtful, details unclear.
Concerto concerto pour piano et orchestre (1931) {p, orch}
andante et allegro (1939) {cl, small-orch}
fantaisie (1960) {p, orch}
concertino pour trompette et orgue (-) {to, org}
... dedicated to Maurice André, famous trumpeter.
Chamber String Quartet No.1 quatuor à cordes No.1 (-) {2vln, vla, vc}
String Quartet No.2 quatuor à cordes No.2 (-) {2vln, vla, vc}
String Quartet No.3 quatuor à cordes No.3 (1927) {2vln, vla, vc}

Cello Sonata
sonate en la pair violoncelle et piano (1927) {vc, p}
Suite for Solo Cello suite pour violoncelle seul (1933) {vc}
Three Pieces for Guitar, to A.Ségovia trois pièces pour guitare à Andres Ségovia (1953) {g}
Quartet quatuor pour flûte, violon, violoncelle et piano (1961) {fl, vln, vc, p}
toccata (1966) {org}
fantaisie pour flûte, clarinette et harpe (1972) {fl, cl, hrp}
Recreation and Study Pieces
pièces récréatives et progressives pour servir à l'étude de la flûte avec accompagnement de piano ad libitum (-) {fl/fl, p}
trio en ré majeur (-) {fl(vln), vln, p}
March of Cheerful Men marche des gais lurons (-) {fl, p}
Church Sonata for Birth of Newborn Christ sonata da chiesa per il Natale (-) {ob, org}
rhapsidie (-) {fl, hrp}
Offering aubade (-) {hrn, p}
23 Recreation Pieces - and Progression Studies 23 pièces récreatives - et progressives (-) {fl}
Winter and Spring hiver et printemps (-) {fl, p}
fantaisie pour clarinette sib et piano (-) {cl, p}
sarabande (-) {tb(tba), p}
Church Bell carillon (-) {org}
pastorale (-) {org}
Songs Fortune le bonheur (1926) {sop(tnr), p(small-orch)}
House in the Morning la maison du matin (1926) {sop(tnr), p(orch)}
Three Melodies trois mélodies (1929) ...
Poem: T.Derème
For Christmas Tree of Small Children pour l'arbre de noël de nos petits enfants (1930) {vo, p}
Three French Spiritual Song trois chansons spirituelles (1937) {vo, org}
A Man and the Sea l'homme et la mer (1937) {alto(btn), p(small-orch)}
Two Poems deux poèmes (1942) {sop(tnr), p} ...
From Verhaeren's Poems 'heures Claires'
Song for Going Around the World chansons pour courir le monde (1945) {sop(tnr), o(orch)}
A Musical Instrument l'instrument de musique (1950) {2vo, fl, ob, cl, hrn, bssn, p}
Choral Oratorio 'St.Francois of Assise' St.François d'Assise (1933)
Oratorio 'Vanities of the World' les vanités du monde (1938)
Abraham, Man of Sacrifice Abraham sacrifiant (1939)
Cantata 'Everyman' Jedermann (1942)
Oratorio 'Song for a Day of the Dead and Halloween' chant pour le jour des morts et la toussaint (1943)
psaume 100 (1947) {choir, org}
psaume 109 (1948) {choir, org(orch)}
Oratorio 'Mystery of Vow' les mystères de la foi (1958)
psaume 104 (1962) {vo, choir, orch}
Latin Mass on Old Christmas Song messe latine sur de vieux noëls (1966) {choir, org}
messe de concert (1973) {choir, org}
Other Hello Sadness bonjour tristesses (-) ... Swiss National Library. Unpublished. Unclear


Gagnebin Disc Review


"Pièces sur les Psaumes Huguenots / Fantaisie / Dialogue et Passacaille / Monologue et Fugue / Toccata en Fa Mineur / Sonata Da Chiesa per il Natale" (Toquade : 9503)
Vera Geissberger, André Luy, René Oberson (org) Jean-Paul Goy (ob)
Before obtaining the present disc, Swiss was the mysterious country in terms of the absence of church musicial board. Here we come to know there is church music tradition in modern Swiss. This composer once studied organ with Decaux and Vierne as well as D'indy at the Scola Cantolum, then bring the modernistic idiom to his hometown and contribute the modernization of church music scene in Swiss. Even people who posesses some knowledge for him, it should be limited to his contribution as the founder of Genève International Competiton. This 1995 recording provides rare oppotunity for appreciating his virtue as a composer. His surreal academic record, such as studying under fully traditional romantist D'indy as well as learning with the first atonal composer Decaux around the same time, inplies his compositional diction. It is somewhat schizophenic between two aesthetics. Traditional and german-centric in form whereas atonal and modal mythological harmonies. As for the performers, Ms.Geissberger, a Zurich conservatory almuni, was a pupil of Litaize. Supporting actors are: Mr. Luy was a pupil of the composer in Lausanne, and Mr.Oberson, a pupil of Langlais and Dutilleux. The main performer's organ contains some mistake in arpeggios although fairly good in touch sonority. Even though of such kind of defeat, this recording is still very important not only because it introduces an rarely be recorded composer, but also it sheds the light on the dark side of Swiss modernist school. Bacause most of the classical music fans and players today are active outside of churchs and Christianity dogmas, religious composers who mainly produce organ and secular music are tend to be overlooked.

(2006. 2. 26 uploaded)