Composer of 'K'

Aymé Kunc (1877-1958)

A French conductor, composer and educator. Born in Toulouse, 20 January 1877 as the 10th child of 12 children. His father held a degree with his research on church music and worked at the Toulouse Cathédral. His mother also had studied piano with César Franck in Paris Conservatory. Needless to say his first musical lesson was from his parents. In 1894, he obtained the first prize at piano class in Toulouse Conservatory and entered Paris conservatory where he also obtained the first prizes on the classes of piano, solfège, and harmony. Then he started to learn composition with Charles Lenepveu from 1985. He had subscribed The Roman Prize (Prix de Rome) for 5 times, and in 1902 he obtained the first prize with his cantata 'Alcyone'. Although he had gone back to France in 1907 after 4 yesrs of life in Rome, and took up the director's post of Apolo theater in Paris, he moved out Paris to Toulouse in proportion to the request for the director's post of Toulouse Conservatory where he kept the position until 1944, and played an important role to raise the level of musical concern in there by conducting the first performance of Richard Wagner's 'Parsifal'. He was chosen a member of Academy of Beaux-Arts in 1949. He died in Toulouse, 13 February 1958. (© K.S.2003)

Main Works

Stage Works Alcyone Alcyone (1902)
Slaves les esclaves (1911)
Orchestra Mediterranean Sketches esquisses méditeranéenes (1949)
Concerto Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra fantaisie pour piano et orchestre (1903-1907) {p, orch}
Legend légende (1931) {vla, orch}
Poem poème (1943) {vc, orch}
Chamber Quintet quintette (1895) {p, 2vln, vla, vc}
Symphonic Fantasy fantaisie symphonique (1900) {org}
Symphonic Suite suite symphonique (1901) {2vc, p}
Piano Trio trio (1901) {vln, vc, p}
Suite suite (1903) {fl, vc, p}
Pastorals pastorales (1903) {vln, p}
First String Quartet quatuor à cordes No.1 (1945-1946) {2vln, vla, vc}
Second String Quartet quatuor à cordes No.2 (1948-1952) {2vln, vla, vc}
Wind Quintet quintette à vent (1949-1954) {fl, ob, hrn, cl, bssn?}
Chorus Ave Verum ave verum (1899) {choir, org}
Ave Maria No.1 ave Maria I (1906) {choir, tnr, org}
Psalm psalm CXLVII (1903-1907)
A Solfège Lesson la leçon de solfège (1915) {choir, p}
Pastoral Song chanson pastorale (1917) {choir, org}
Cantata cantate pour le couronment de dante (1921)
Mass for the saint, Cecile messe de Sainte Cécile (1923) {sop, msp, thr, choir, org}
Ave Maria No.2 ave Maria II (1928) {choir, org}
Hymn for Wings hymn des ailes (1930)
There is no Sweeter Song les plus doux chant (1930) {choir, p}
Unclear Overture for the Festival ouverture de fête (1903-1907)
Dramatic Suite suite dramatique (1903-1907)

Kunc Disc Review

"Ave Maria I, II / Messe de Sainte-Cécile / Ave Verum / Fantaisie Symphonique / La Leçon de Solfège / Le plus Doux Chant / Chanson a Quatre Voix" (Solstice : SOCD 164)
Alix Bourbon (dir) Nicole Fournié (sop) Christian Crozes (tnr) Catherine Margulis (msp) Nino Pavlenichvili, Madeleine Thozet (p) Yasuko Uyama-Bouvard (org) Choeur Régional Midi-Pyrénées : Groupe Vocal de Toulouse
A Toulouse origin composer, Kunc still remains without wide recognition today. However, you can easily guess how his ability is once you hear he obtained the prestigous Roman Prize in 1902, two years after of Schmitt, one year after of Caplet. Perhaps, the largest reason why his fame still underrated is, because he left Paris in 1914 to be the head of the conservatory in his native city and never moved out from there. Since his name has been totally ignored, I have never thought I can listen his works on CD. This disc, consisting whole tracks of first recording, is a real surprise. Although the chorus ensemble from Pyrénée region sounds not very well trained, the Japanese organist from Toulouse Cathédral (maybe she directed the project) plays very well. According to the disc linernotes, she is a staff in organ department of Toulouse Conservatory. Her status tells where this project came from. Her academic concern and attitude to re-discover this underrated composer are somewhat Japanese nature, which make us being proud of (our fellow has done this!!). The composer's musical diction locates the modern-following stream of Fauré or Duruflé. Skillful cool chromatic key-changes plus the shade of Langlais between the harmonic lines engrave his compositional color. I strongly recommend every chorus music fan or performer to rediscover his works by encountering this CD.

"Quatuor à Cordes No.1 en Sol mineur ; No.2 en La mineur" (Suoni e Calari : SC 253262)
Ensemble Ricercata de Paris : Quatuor Gaudeamus
Because the composer chose the way to get out of Paris like Ropartz and Le Flem, his name is left unknown in nowadays. However, his ability of composition should be rated much higher than the reality, like he was once awarded the prestigious Prix de Rome amoung Caplet or Schmitt. This disc (compiles 2 string quartets) has an interesting sleeve-note insisting that bacause Beethoven did not write string quartet until his laterlife, Franck's serious personality won't allow him to write it until his last days. Then the convenance makes younger Franckists and other French composers difficult to try it. The point of view is somewhat reasonable. In fact Kunc also finally could write his first string quartet when he was 68 years old. The fact clearly demonstrates the characteristics of the compositions. It is hardly imaginable to find a common modernity (that can be found in his religious works) in his quartets. They sound much older, somber and Franck-rooted. The disc was selected Repertoire journal and it is also unbelievable. The sound of the quartets performed have strong idiosyncrasies. Also the qualities of engineering environment is poor.

(English Translation page, First uploaded : 2003. 4. 20)