Composer of S

Pierre Sancan (1916-2008)

A French pianist, conductor, teacher, and composer. Born in Mazamet (South of France), on Octover 24th 1916. First studied at Meknès Colledge of Music in Morocco, then continued to study at Toulouse Conservatory, and finally studied at Paris Conservatory with Ives Nat (piano), Jean Gallon (Fugue), Henri Busser (Composition), Jean Estyle (Counterpoint) Charles Münch and Roger Désormière (conducting) and obtained the awards of 1'st place in 5 classes (piano, accompaniment, harmony, composition and fugue). He won the Prix de Rome competition in 1943 with his cantata 'la légende d'Icare (the legend of Icaros)' and was appointed as a professor (piano class) of Paris Concervatory from 1956 to 1985. Although his fame is largely owing to his carrer as a pianist and a professor, he wrote many compositions including 3 ballets, 1 opera and some symphony. His pupils include J.P.Collard, M.Beroff, J.C.Pommier, and J.Rouvier as well as jazz pianist Christian Jacob. His style is based on French modernist school and has written in impressinistic manner with a flavor of contemporary compositional technique. Although his compositions are highly sophisticated, most of them (except 'sonatine' for flute) have been totally ignored and are still awaiting rediscovery. He has toured to Japan in 1970. He died in Paris on 20th October, 2008 (2004©K.S. additional information Welcome)

Main Works

Cantata Legend of Icaros la légende d'Icare (1943)
Stage Ondine ondine (1962)
Fairy in the Forest fille de la forêt (1962)
Ballet Comedy commedia dell'arte (1952)
Reflects reflet (1963)
Ants les fourmis (1966)
Orchestral Symphony of Strings symphonie pour orchestre à cordes (1961)
Concerto Piano Concerto concerto pour piano et orchestre (1957) {p, orch}
Violin Concerto concerto pour violon et orchestre (1958) {vln, orch}
Concertino concertino pour piano seul et orchestre de chambre (1966) {p, small-orch}
Chamber Toccata in A toccata en la (1943) {p}
Sonatine sonatine (1946) {fl/cl/ob, p}
Viola Sonata sonate pour alto et piano (1961) {vla, p}
Cello Sonata sonate pour violoncelle et piano (1961) {vc, p}
Fantastic Suite suite fantasque (1966) {p, clvcin}
By Small Hands petite mains (1967) {p-3main}
Rhapsody rapsodie (1970) {tp, p}
Lament and Rondo lamento et rondo (1973) {sax, p}
Theme and Variations thème et variations pour harpe (1975) {hrp}
Ballade ballade (1982) {hrn, p}
Romantic Caprice caprice romantique (-) {p}
Movement mouvement (-)
Songs Three Impressions trois impressions (1949) {vo, p}

Sancan Disc Review

"Concerto pour Piano (P. Sancan) Concerto for Piano No.1 in Bb Minor (Tchaikovsky)" (EMI : 7243 5 57800 2 7)
Jean-Philippe Collard (p) Emil Tabakov (cond) Bilkent Symphony Orchestra
This brilliant long time no see pianist (from modernistic music view) cooperates an unfamiliar Turkish orchestra at this time playing two piano concertos in this 2004 recording. For most of normal classic music listeners, main dish should be Tchaikovsky's one although he is less than unknown composers in this website. It means this recording should have been killed from my memory immediately if I could not find Sancan's name on it. Because the pianist once have studied under him, he mentioned that the recording is his long time wish for rewarding his former teacher. Although we have to be prepared to make some degree of sacrifice at the beginning few seconds for the pessimistic and Honegger-like tutti, the mood dramatically changes into Ravelian and Gershwinian tremoro with demiquaver-passeges immediately after the piano break into it. Piano and orchestra interactingly convolute Milhaud and Schmitt's concertos in terms of harmonic and rhythmic contents seasoned with its cyclic form, demonstrating that the work should gets into line of legitimate tradition of modern french piano concerto. Needless to say the performance of the pupil indicates his brilliance as well as the orchestra battles bravely to the famous solist with some minor difficulties.

"Paris :
Sonate (Poulenc) / Sonatine (Dutilleux) / Sonatine (Sancan) / Sonatine (Milhaud) / Jeux (Ibert) / Aria (Ibert) / Le Merle Noir (Messien) / Chant de Linos (Jolivet)" (EMI : 7243 5 56488 2 2)

Emmanuel Pahud (fl) Eric Le Sage (p)
As you have read his biography, Sancan's main calling is educator. This leads perople to assume that his compositions are created as a fruits of side job. This prejudice seems to operate to detract his fame in considerable extent. In consequence, his aspect as a composer is still unnoticed so that we cannot find any recording consisting full of his works. For all fans who simply persue well written tunes regardless of the composers' fame, this negative image is misfortune. Probablly this CD can be recommended as the first choice to enjoy this seriously underrated composer although this disc contains only three pieces (continuously played as one movement) of him. Both performers are world leading players of their instruments. Their interpretation fulfilled by fresh sense is clearly can be first-rated. The Sancan's work, sonatine, was composed as a test score for an examination in Paris Conservatory. But it contains simple but elegant aesthetic feeling like that of Caplet and Ibert. This piece is totally enjoyable as a smal masterpiece regardless of its history.

"Musique Française pour Harpe :
Deux Divertissements pour Harpe (Caplet) / Étude de Concert pour Harpe 'Au Matin' (Tournier) / L' Éternel rêveur (Tournier) / Impromptu (Fauré) / Une Châtelaine en sa Tour (Fauré) / Impromptu-Caprice (Pierné) / The Little Shepherd (Debussy) / Thème et Variations pour Harpe (Sancan) / Harpalycé (Constant)" (Auvidis Valois : V 4779)

Isabelle Moretti (harp)
As far as I know, we have no CDs of Sancan works available currently. Hence we can not help choosing any Sancan piece from omnibus CD. Since his best (and maybe the only) known work is Sonatine, chances are extremely slim to listen other compositions of him. This disc provides a precious oppotunity to approach one of Sancan's rarely be heard work for harp solo. This CD is also reccomendable in terms of the performer. Isabelle Moretti won three of the largest international harp competitions. Her fingering is strong and clear but equaly refined. In addition the Sancan's composition is favorable. It goes in between impressionistic and avant-garde manner with skillful construction.

"A la Francaise : Sonata (Decruck) Croquembouches (Delvincourt) Lamento et Rondo (Sancan) Tableaux de Provence (Maurice) Etudes (Koechlin) Prelude, Cadence et Finale (Desenclos)" (BIS : CD-1130)
Claude Delangle (sax) Odile Delangle (p)
The performer, Mr.and Mrs. Delangle, are the professors of Paris Conservatory. His saxophone sings with velvety smoothness. Their brilliance in performance was disclosed already in their previous recording 'Saxophone for a Lady' (BIS). As the second complilation, they chose the works of relatively rare modern French composers. His inquisitive mind to dig the field of unknown composers should be highly admired. As you can see, In the first place, it is amazing to find the fact that Koechlin is the most famous name among the selected composers. A head professor of Paris Conservatory from 1941 (Delvincourt), Decruck's husband was a sax player of NY Philharmonic, a compser who dealt with collecting folksongs in Province region (Maurice)... I have never heard their biographies as well as names. The selected compositions vary such as: romantic idiom with hints of Group of Six (Decruck), totally catoonish Group of Six idiom (Delvincourt), latter-Milhaud rooted romantic neo-classicist (Maurice), suprisingly Honeggel-rooted (Sancan), and abundantly avant-garde tasted (Desenclos). For me, Desenclos one sounds most impressive because of his compositional diction is highly individual with basing on voodoonistic atmosphere.

English (2002.12.20 for biography ; 2004. 3. 5 for others)