Composer of 'F'

Jean-Louis Florentz (1947-2004)

A French musical ethnologiest and a composer. He was born at Asnières on 19th of December, 1947. He first studied in Arabic Literature and Physics at Lyon University , and then continued to study University of Paris where he obtained a bachelor degree. From 1971 to 1975, he entered Paris Conservatory and studied under Olivier Messiaen and Pierre Schaeffer. He also acted cooperatively with Antoine Duhamel. While he was in the conservatory, he travelled (for research) to Western India, Polynessia, and Africa for several times. Above all, he went to Kenya region for 4 times for ethnic animal skin-made instruments. In 1979, he lived in Villa-Médicis, Roma as a member of French Academy in Roma. Then at Casa de Velázquez in Madrid in 1983. In 1984, he was appointed as a professor of analyzing traditional ethnic music in National Conservatory of Lyon. He has been numerously awarded such as Lili Boulanger Compositional Prize in 1978, SACEM prize and French Institute Prize in 1980, Civic Prize of Paris in 1989. In 1995, he was appointed as a member of Amademy of Beaux-Arts. He died in Paris on 4th of July, 2004 (2003-2004© K.S.)

Main Works

Magnificat magnificat antiphone pour la visitation (1979-1980) {tnr, choir, orch}
Requiem for a Virgin Girl requiem pour la vierge (1986-1988) {sop, tnr, btn, child-choir, choir, orch}
Asmara asmarâ (1991-92) {choir}
Vocalise vocalise (-) {vo}
A Dream of Lluc Alcari le songe de Lluc Alcari (1992-1994) {vc, orch}
The Garden of Amènta les jardins d'Amènta (1995-1997)
An Atoll in Solomon Islands l'anneau de salomon (1997-1998)
A Child of Islands l'enfant des iles (2002)
Qsar Ghilane qsar ghilâne (2003)
March of the Sun, Ancient Les Marches du Soleil, antienne (-)
The Lauds les laudes (1983-1985) {org}
Song of Nyandarua chant de Nyandarua (1985) {4vc}
Stand toward the Sun debout sur le soleil (1989-1991) {org}
Second Song of Nyandarua second chant de Nyandarua (1995) {12(8)vc}
An Angel of Tamaris l'ange du Tamaris (1995) {vc}
The Southern Cross la croix du sud (2000) {org}
An Infant of Night l'enfant noir (2002) {org}
Bloody Moon Lune de Sang (-) {hrn}

Florentz Disc Review

"Les Jardins d'Amènta / Le Songe de lluc Alcari / L'Ange du Tamaris" (Collection MFA : MFA 216023)
Emmanuel Krivine, Günther Herbig (cond) Orchestre National de Lyon : Yvan Chiffoleau, Yves Potrel (vc)
Mr.Florentz is one of the top-rated composers and theolist of contemporary French music scene such that he was appointed as a member of Academy of Beaux Arts. Although his age surely belongs to a generation of contemporary music, the sound is fairly modest so that you can understand his compositions with ears of Ravel, John Williams or so although the sound is more pure musical, progressive and abstract. The coloration of strings contains sensual liquidity and its management goes between Jacques Ibert and Maurice Ohana, whereas the arrangement of winds and brass sections wears Honegger-like violent and hard to please sound. They altogether intertwine and carve the shades. Sometimes, the rhythmical content impresses us post-eurocentristic content such that pizzicatos of strings, winds and percassive vibes and xylophones impresses us African thumb piano, winds and strings harmonization give us impression of traditional Japanese court music. It clearly reflects his academic standpoint. One of his merit must be keen contrepuntal sense of route (lower) tones. That steadily holds the tension of his compositions. We know two composers who are good at contrepuntal management. Czech composer - Martinu and Honegger. But the former one's harmonic content is not modern, and the latter one's harmony is too hysterical. Yes, Florentz goes in between them affixing harmonic coloration that is French modernistic tradition derives from Debussy to Dutilleux. The well-ballanced sense is his largest merit. Performers are Krivine the great with Orchestra of Lyon (the hottest combination in contemporary French classical music scene). Florentz himself is also appointed by Orchestra of Lyon as a resident composer from 1995 to 1997. Their confidential relationship bears fruit as the present disc.

"Debout sur le Soleil / Asmarâ / Qsar Ghilâne" (Accord : 476 7495)
John Nelson, Nicole Corti (cond) Olivier Latry (org) Maîtrise Notre-Dame de Paris: Ensemble Orchestral de Paris
On January 15th 2005, at Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral, a tribute concert devoting Florentz's works has taken place. This is the documentary. This recording is monumental because of inclusion of the composer's last opus 'Qsar Ghilane' (the title stands for the name of an oasis in Tunisia). Seems like the work reflects his last research trip to Tunisia in 2002. To be honest, the reviewer cannot praise the quality of this recording in terms of its performance. Even we consider the african-rooted phrase-inflections, the articulation and pitch accuracy of Notre-dame singers is somewhat instable. Same faulty point can be applied to the performance of Paris Orchestral Ensemble. However, even though of such defeats, the composer's overwhelming brilliance in compositional ability is truly breathtaking. Middle to Near-eastern or African native music rooted melodies intertwining closely with european modern harmonic language, creates glassy texture in full of undulations. elaborative contrapuntal tactics constantly give the rich implications to the texture. occationally Inserted strings-pizzicato, vibraphone, percussions add carimba (finger-piano of African region) taste to it. It is true that there are large amount of composers who have devoted non-western music. However, is there any compser who can fusion european and non-euromean aesthetics and can give birth new holizon in classical music. The skillfully written compositions in this disc make us to be dissapointed with his non-prolific nature. Of course it seems certainly not easy to produce plural works with such an lengthy and highly densitive scores, but only 18 opus!! truly regretable.

"L'Enfant des Îles / L'Anneau de Salomon" (Forlane : 16832)
Hubert Soudant (cond) Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire
This disc includes Florentz's two recently composed orchestral works. The compositional diction of Florentz is largely effected by his favor as an anthropologist such that the mixtural use of percussive African music and highly-sophisticated European orchestration. The works in the disc are no exception. Percussive application of xyrophone and vibraphone is intended to carve African sound on the verses (bars, beats) on the works, while the application of non-functional (highly modern) harmonic coloration which owes largely on Dutilleux or Ibert (post Debussian idiom) fulfills the rhythmic constructs like cool-glassy water. It should be noted again that the composer's highly skilled sensory of the application of counterpoint. Because his contrapuntal skill is highly keen, his orchestral works can keep away from yielding an pointless fusion work. The conductor, Mr. Soudant, was born in Maastricht. He has been a pupil of Jean Fournet. Since winning Karajan conpetiton, he has been a conductor of New National Orchestra of Radio France, Melbourne Symphony, and then National Orchestra of Loire since 1994. From 2004, he will be appointed a musical director of Tokyo Symphony. Maybe his name will be also more familiar soon for the Japanese fans. His upright conductoral style resembles his master-Fournet. Also, the sound of the orchestra becomes much better than Dervaux's terrible Pierné recording.

(2003. 6. 30)