Composer of 'D'



Abel Decaux (1869-1943)

A French organist, composer. Real name is Abel-Marie Decaux. Born in Auffay in 1869. He was received initial muscal trainning from father. He moved to Paris and entered Paris Concervatory in 1890 to study under Charles-Marie Widor and Alexandre Guilmant for organ, Jules Massenet for composing, Théodore Dubois and Albert Lavignac for harmony then obtained the first prize in organ class. He was appointed as the organist of St.Gaervet Church, then as a professor in the organ department of Schola Cantorum. Also has worked as a organist of Sacré-Coeur Church for 25 years. In later life, he moved to the United States, and from 1923 to 1937, was appointed professor at the organ department in Eastman School of Music, Rochester. Schoenberg is nomally said he is the frontier of atonal technique in musical history. Although Decaux wrote the first music applying atonal technique in the first movement of 'Clair de Lune' in 1900 (clealy faster than Schoenberg), his works still remain unknown and underrated (maybe ) because of the composer's unprolific nature. All we can listen Decaux in nowadays is the four movement suite 'Clair de Lune' only. He was commended Region d'honor in later of his life. He died in 19 March of 1943 (©K.S. 2003).


Main Works

Organ Ave Maris Stella ave maris stella (-) <org>
Songs Night is like This c'est la nuit (-)
A Pale moon la lune blanche (-)
Song chanson (-)
Piano Light of the Moon clairs de lune
1) After midnight minuit passe (1900)
2)
An Alley la ruelle (1902)
3)
A Cemetery le cimetière (1907)
4)
Sea la mer (1903)
Gigue in E minor gigue en sol mineur (-)
Brilliant Variations by a Theme Based on 'I'll tell you Mom!' variations brillantes sur 'ah! vous dirai-je maman' (-)


Decaux Disc Review


"Sillages (Aubert) / Tombeau de Claude Debussy (Dukas; Roussell; Malipiero; Goossens; Bartok; Schmitt) / Tombeau de Paul Dukas (Schmitt) / Clairs de Lune (Decaux)" (3D : 3D 8005)
Marie-Catherine Girod (piano)
By now we can call the performer Girod that she is Jeanne D'arc for modern music fans. This demonstrates the reason by its contents. She sheded the light on Decaux's work and recorded for the first time in the world. You will easily catch some atonal phrase in the first movement. It indicates the composer definitely wrote atonal tune former than Schoenberg. If he had wished to had been famous, he could be!! Even though we can describe it as refined personality, the attitude sent French school away from the center in the history of modern classical music in some sense. Decaux must feel responsibility for this. However, we also know the consequence of the technique in history. Schoenberg intended to use it as means to establish his faction later, and the technique was just played on the scores logically rather than was applied to enrich musical language. If we start to reconsider the settlement, we can not easily accuse Decaux because he just applied the technique to make the sound more effective for describeing the mystery of a night. It is understandable even though Decaux felt satisfaction when he wrote it and never thought to be famous by raising the new language. Because we can say he already had found it and also had predicted the sequence of it that the technique is just one of a color to enrich the sound palette, before Schoenerg found it. His diction is very acute. Abstract melodies and constructions seems to be derived from debussy's one, but his language is more atonal. That makes the sound more avant-garde like Dutilleux's one. I recommend this tune only if you love latter Scriabin sonatas or (if you loves Debussy) Debussy's 'Six Ancient Epigraphs'.

(Japanese page uploaded: 2003. 2. 13 / English Translation: 2003. 4. 21)