Composer of 'R'

Alexis Roland-Manuel (1891-1966)

A French critic and a composer. His real name is Roland Alexis Manuel Lévy. Belgian origin. Born in Paris on 22th of March, 1891. He entered Sccola Cantolum for studying compositions under Albert Roussel and Vincent D'indy. In 1911, with the mediation of Eric Satie, he met Maurice Ravel. Then, he idolized Ravel and became a pupil and a close friend of him. In 1947, he was appointed a professor of aesthetics in Paris Conservatory. He worked up until his retirement in 1961. Although of a gifted composer, his fame is remembered mostly as a writter and critic of music, in nowadays. His writings include 'The history of Music' (as the editor. pub. Gallimard, 1960), 'The glory of..(À la Gloire de...)' (pub. Nouvelle Revue Critique, 1938), 'Maurice Ravel' (London; pub. D.Dobson, 1947) He died in Paris on 2nd of November(There is some reference which asserted the date is January, Here I trust the statement in 2004 edition of New Grove Dictionary), 1966. Incidentally, we have to know there is another 'Roland-Manuel' whose name is Claude, the author of a book 'Un arbre en Afrique' and who is a son of the composer and therefore, is a different person although he also had a close relationship with Ravel (©K.S. 2005).

Main Works

Stage Comedy Opera 'Isabelle and Pantalon' 'Isabelle et Pantalon' (1922)...Text: M.Jacob. His only performed stage work.
'Canarie' from 'Jeanne's Fan'
canarie (1927) {orch}
Comedy Opera 'The Amorous Devil'
le diable amoureux (1929)...Text: R.Allard, after Cazotte
Don Juan's Mistake
échec à Don Juan (1941)...Text: C.A.Puget
A Chinese Woman
la célestine (1942)...Text: M.Achard, after F. de Rojas
Jeanne d'Arc (1955)
...Text: C. Péguy
Film escape from yesterday La Bandera (1935)...Dir. Julien Duvivier
Mr. Victor, A Strange man l'étrange monsieur Victor (1938)...Dir. Jean Gremillon
The Air is Yours le ciel est'à vous (1943)...Dir. Jean Gremillon
Shining in the Summer lumière d'été (1943)...Dir. Jean Gremillon
Chamber Fantasy fantaisie (-) {ob, p}
idylles (-) {p}
Suite in Spanish Manner
suite dans le goût espagñol (-) {ob, bssn, tp, cvcn /p}
String Trio
trio à cordes (-) {vln, vla, vc}...Dedicated to Ravel
Songs benedictonnes (-) {choir}
Two Rondels
deux rondels (-) {vo, p}
délie object... (-) {vo, p}
farizade... (-) {vo, p}

Two Elegies
deux élégies (-) {vo, fl}
1) Charming nightingale charmant rossignol (text: F. Maynard)
2) Song
chanson (text: J. Pellerin)
Reference Smith, R.L. 2004. Roland-Manuel. New Grove Online.
Ravel, M. 1986. Lettres à Roland-Manuel et à sa famille. Quimper: Calligrammes.

Roland-Manuel Disc Review

"L'Eventail de Jeanne / Les Maries de la Tour Eiffel: French Ballet Music of the 1920s" (Chandos : CHAN 8356)
Geoffrey Simon (cond) Philharmonia Orchestra
This is a bargain disc that you can hear two collaborative ballet scores of 'The Six' era at one time. Recently, this CD was released again with different catalogue number (CHAN 10290). The reissue speaks their value for itself. It is hard to find other discs which consist of these two ballet with such a quality in performance. The former ballet 'Jeanne's fan' consists of 10 part-tunes. Ferroud, Ibert, Dolannoy, Roussel, Milhaud, Poulenc, Auric, Schmit follow Ravel's opening 'march'. Roland-Manuel comes on board by contributing a piece 'Canarie'. On the contrary, the latter ballet 'Married couple on Eiffel tower' is a collaborative work of Les Six. By now, I think you can sniff out the Cocteau group smell easily. Yes, such light-touching, condescending atmosphere is the generally mood of these two works. Furthermore, the former one is a all-you-can-eat buffet. It is hard to experience any futher emotion but we are nibbling foods. Because the board is occupied by Les Six, the situation sets the two person off from his peers. Yes, they are Ravel and his colleague. In just around two minutes. Canarie, the track four, strikes us with a straight face by its skillful orchestration which would make even Ravel's face turned blue with big surprise. When one comes to notice it, the person cannot help recognizing a tragedy. It became misfortune for his fame to have decided the life of encircling Betelgeuse. No matter how the satellites are large, they are considered just 'minuscule' by astronomers. It is totally unfair to compare this composer with the Betelgeuse in music - Ravel. This composer should be re-evaluated with his own 'light'. Further recording is seriously required.

(2005. 2. 15 USW standard time)