Composers of 'W'

Jean Wiener (1896-1982)

A French pianist. Born at 17th district in Paris on March 19th, 1896 as a child of a middle class family. His mother was Australian with Jewish-origin (this is the reason why later he would be enthusiastic about communism). He grew up in musical environment and showed his ability in his childhood such that he started to play Mozart and Bach when he was 4 year's old. He entered Paris Conservatory and studied harmony under André Gédalge until 1914. Also, he became a pupil of Paul Braud (who is a teacher of Ives Nat) privately. In 1920, he started to play piano professionally as a accompanist of Jane Bathori. He mingled with The Group of Six abouve all Darius Milhaud, such that he worked as the soloist of the first French performance of Shoënberg's 'Pierrot Lunaire' under the direction of Milhaud. Then he was seen as one of the enthusiast for Neo-Vienna group. He also devoted himself to jazz music and started to play jazz around this era by piano duo with Clément Doucet. Then he was widely acclaimed as a talented improvisation player and have been performed accompaniments for scilent movies. After the world war II, he performed piano improvisations in a TV program named 'And hello to everyone (et bonjour chez vous)' from 1950 for two years and the program becamed so popular. Although he left small amount of compositions in scores, he left large amount of recorded performances and they started to be published lately. He died in Paris on June 7th, 1982. (2003© K.S.)

Main Works

Film Music A Hip of Buridan l'ane de buridan (1933)
Never Jape the Cash touchez pas au grisbi (1954)
Concerto French-American Concerto concerto franco-américain (1923) <p, strings>
Concerto for Accordion concerto pour accordéon (1964) <acc, orch>
Concerto for Two Guitars concerto à deux guitares (-) <2g, orch?>
Chamber Sonata for Cello sonate pour violoncelle (1968) <vc, p>
Songs Three Blues Songs trois blues chantés (1923)
Thirty Song-Stories trente chantefables (1955) <vo, p>
Song of Flowers chantefleurs (1959) <vo, p>
Two Poems of Jean Cocteau deux poèmes de Jean Cocteau (1921)
Seven Small Stories sept petites histoires (-)
Recordings And Hello to the World et bonjour tout le monde... (1950/1951)
Improvisation in Tailleferre Manner improvisation sur un slow de Germaine Tailleferre (1955)
Improvisation in Black-American Manner improvisation dans le style négro-américain (1961)
Improvisation in J.S. Bach Manner improvisation dans le style de J.S.Bach (1961)
Improvisation in Personal Way improvisation dans un style personnel (1961)
Improvisation by American Arias improvisation sur des airs américains (1964)

Wiener Disc review

"Et Bonjour tout le Monde... / Improvisation, dans le Style de J.S.Bach : sur des Airs Américains : dans le Style Négro-Américain : sur un Slow de G.Tailleferre : dans un Style Personnel" (INA : 247772)
Jean Wiener (piano)
Although Japanese Jazz Critics do negative comments for jazz-adoption of European composers (such the comment that 'it is hard to say... they understand the nature of jazz when they adopt it' by Yuh et al. 2000), they tend to ignore the fact that the improvisation is classical music-origin. From medieval era, many composers made compositions by improvisations. Brahms and Mozart were famed improvisers. Also we can find many improvisers even in modern era such as Huré or Fumet. The reason why they tend to be thought they are not improvisers is, simply they could not 'record' their improvisation but in scores. The critics' blinkered reverse discriminative opinion that trying to monopolarize European classical music against jazz, only prove their ignorance. This is modern classical improviser, Jean Wiener's recorded performances. Poulenc's light-motif is grounded on his performance, and then the scent of Ravel and De Falla is modestly attached. Sometimes, Bach: Sometimes, Tatum (Art Tatum) emerge from his hands, and they altogether genially have a pleasant chat. The mood is so favorable. It is true that his improvisations by jazz theme is not 'jazzy' because his improvisations only garnish themes with decorative notes or large syncopations. However, 'hello to the world' recordings have really 'jazzy' atomosphere. I admire his sense to accurete the styles from Bach to Ragtime quite naturally, with technically great arpeggios. How much different between Poulenc (write compositions onto papers) and Wiener (record compositions onto tapes) is there? Only the differences of media. Mr. Yuh. If you intend to say improvisation is nature of jazz, you really do not accept 'supersax plays Bird' as a jazz disc? This duaristic kind of idea is just anachronistic and black-centristic counter-snobbism. Wiever's idea to improvise Bach and Nigro-spiritual on the same occation is far more 'free' from categorization. Look at the design of this album jacket! Totally resembles Eroll Garner's 'Contrasts'!!

(2003. 6. 7 upload)