Composer of 'L'

Gaston Litaize (1909-1991)

A French organist and a composer. His formal name is Gaston Gilbert Litaize. He was born in Vosges, Ménil-sur-Belvitte on 11th of August, 1909. Although he lost his eyesight just after his birth because of illness, he entered Nancy Consernatory of Young Blinds and studied piano, chorus, organ, and music theory under Charles Magin. Then, with Magin's suggestion, he moved to Paris and entered at National Conservatory of Young Blinds from 1926 to 1931, and studied piano under Gaston Régulier as well as organ under Adolphe Marty. At this time, from Marty's introduction, Litaize encountered A. Marechal and was deeply influenced. He also entered Paris Conservatory from October 1927, studied organ under Dupré and obtained 1st prize of improvisation and organ in 1931, as well as fugue under Caussade (1st prize in 1933), composition under Büsser (1st prize in 1937). He obtained the Rossini Prize in 1936 with his cantata 'Fra Angelico', as well as the second place in Roman Prize with his cantata 'The King's Ring' in 1938. From the following year (1939) he was appointed as a professor in musical critics and harmony at National Conservatory of Young Blinds, where he has kept the positions for 31 years. From 1975, he was appointed as a professor of organ at St. Maur-des-Fossés Conservatoire. As an organist, he was appointed the organist at Notre-Dame de la Crois, Ménilmontant in 1930, as well as the tenure organist at St. François-Xavier, Paris from 1946. He was appointed as a director in rerigious music section at O.R.T.F (French National Broadcast). He died at Vosges on 5th of August, 1991.

Main Works

Stage Cantata 'The King's Ring' l' anneau du roi (1938)
Orchestral concertino pour piano et orchestre de chambre (1937) {p, orch}
Organ Symphony symphonie pour orgue et orchestre (1943) {org, orch}
passacalle (1947) {org, orch}
Chamber Three Pieces trois pièces (1937) {ob, cl}
cortège (1950) {3tp, 3tb, org}
Piano sonate pour piano (1935)
suite pour piano No.1 (1940)
suite pour piano No.2 (1941)
Organ 12 Pieces for Large Organ douze pièces pour grand orgue (1931-1938)
1) prélude (1930)
2) double-fugue (1930)
Song lied (1932)
4) intermezzo pastorale (1932)
5) final (1932)
6) lamento (1934)
7) scherzo (1934)
8) toccata sur le veni creator (1934)
Prayer prière (1935)
Play in Rhythm jeu de rythmes (1935)
11) interlude (1937)
Angevin's Christmas Song Variations variation sur un noël angevin (1938)
Small Mass for All Times
messe basse pour tous les temps (1959)
Cristmas in Basque Region noël basque (1949)
Five Liturgical Pieces
cinq pièces liturgiques (1951)
24 Liturgical Preludes
vingt-quatre préludes liturgiques (1953-1955)
Grand Mass for All Times
messe basse pour tous les temps (1956)
reges tharsis (1984)
pentecôte (-) {2org}
sonate à deux (-) {vo, org /2org}
Songs Fra Angelico (1936) {vos, choir, org, orch}
Tobius and Sara Tobie et Sara (1947) {choir, org, orch} ...Poem: Paul Claudel
missa solemnior pour choeur et orgue (1954) {4vo, org}
Mass 'Glory of Sainte-Virgin' missa virgo gloriosa pour trois voix mixtes et orgue (1959) {sop, tnr, bass, org}
messe solennelle en Français, Schola, congregation (1966) {vo, org}
adoro te (1990?) {choir, org}
Easter Song chant de pâque (-) {3vo, org}

Litaize Disc Review

"Douze Pièces pour Grand-Orgue" (K617 : K617117 HM 90)
Eric Lebrun, Marie-Ange Leurent (org)
In a brief article contributed on the linernotes on this disc, Henri Dutilleux, who had a long freiendship with litaize, confessed a good story regarding when they were about to submit their works to the committees of Roman Prize. It is interesting in proving Litaize's warm and kind personality. The works in the present disc '12 pieces for organ' enclosed small pieces which has written in around his Roman Prize era. Although Litaize's musical diction reflects his educational history such that he has studied under Dupré in Paris conservatory with the teacher's genious pupils such as langlais and Messiaen in his harmonic modernity, he does not refer Langlais-like hysteric anger nor applied Messiaen-like chaffy form building. Therefore his musical aesthetics is well-ballanced between his masters (to whom he relied more on melody and form) and colleagues (to whom he depend more on harmonic content). Such kind of moderated and well-ballanced compositional style made him being buried in the extreme talents around him and consequently made his fame as a relatively minor composer in nowadays. If you believe the fact that 'being extreme in musical diction does not mean their works always better than the others', you should not miss this composer. The two interpreters of this disc were both the pupils of Litaize. Needless to say that the performance is beautiful.

(2005. 10. 12 upload)