The French Record Company

The French Record Company

The Art of French performers on vynil records is back !
The French Record Company will revive top quality vynil records of legendary performers ( mostly French ).

Jeanne Gautier – Nadine Desouches

Although Mme Gautier, as René Bénédetti, Henry Merckel, Ginette Neveu or Michèle Auclair, belongs to a great tradition of french violonists, who have almost all formed their talents among well known pedagogues such as Jules Boucherit, Lucien Capet or Berthelier, however, her carreer and life remains extremely mysterious… Born in Asnières on September 18th 1898, she had first distinguished herself by winning the gold medal of the "Petits Prodiges" at the Paris conservatory in 1908, at the same time than another little girl who was to become a regular chamber music partner: Yvonne Lefébure. Before the first world war at the Conservatory, she also becomes friend with the cellist André Levy, with whom she was to create the "Trio de France", around forty years later: they both get their first prize in 1914, Jeanne being in Berthelier’s class.
Still a teenager violonist, Jeanne Gautier had a pretty strange first experience with contemporary music: having been informed that Darius Milhaud had found the score of Stravinsky’s Quartet, the Countess Murat ( a notable patron of the arts who loved contemporary music ) had invited the violonists Hélène Jourdan-Morhange and J. Gautier, Milhaud as a viola player, and the cellist Delgrange to rehearse and play the work at her home, between friends. Arriving the proper day, the young performers had the bad surprise to see, among the audience, Stravinsky himslef ! Pretty stressing vision, as they had played the work only once before to come ! No possible escape, they start the performance… A terrible silence follows the music… And Stravinsky’s verdict comes then, implacable, with his russian accent: » no, no… it’s not that at all..!! » And the composer to start a kind of masterclass ( ! ), explaning what he really wanted, absolutely not embarrassed by the guests ! Milhaud, who had no "reputation" to defend as an instrumentist, was the only one to laugh about the incident !
As far as we know, Mme Gautier has been married to the composer Joaquin Nin; no doubt that this relation has contributed to develope her interest and knowledge for spanish music. Indeed, at one of her very rare appearance at a musical Society in Paris, in May 1927, she performs a transcription of Nin’s Four Popular Spanish Songs with the composer at the piano. In 1950, her 78rpm recording of Falla’s Popular Spanish Suite with Nadine Desouches obtains great critics: « She shows herself deeply moving, she seems to be born for this music…By turn warm, rich, powerful, shining of a quasi metallic brilliance, and then fraught of deep secrets, her violin shows an exceptional temperament and confirm the highly resptable opinion we had of her «.
In March 1937, with the Orchestre des Concerts Colonne directed by Paul Paray, she plays a strange work called "Trois Pastorales for voice and orchestra" by an obscure composer: Aimé Kunc !
During the second war, we find Mme Gautier in California, where she works Stravinsky’s Duo for piano and violin with the composer ( without audience ! ). Shortly after the war, the composer Claude Arrieu introduices her to the young pianist Geneviève Joy: it’s the beginning of a musical friendship; the artists give a series of concerts in Germany. In the fifties, Jeanne Gautier, Geneviève Joy and André Levy decide to from a trio called the "Trio de France" which activity will be largely devoted to French and contemporary music.
As for the works presented on this record, the concert given in Madrid on March 1951 by Mmes Gautier and Desouches is quiet representativ of their repertoire: Vitali’s Chaconne / Schumann’s Sonata in a / Stravinsky’s Suite Italienne / Ravel’s Sonata and Tzigane. Never balking at serving their friends composers, our artists, far from the sunlights, play the Henry Barraud’s sonatine for piano - violin zt a festival devoted to the composer, in June 1953 at the Gallery Devêche. Mme Gautier is regarded by a critic as « the incomparable violonist one doesn’t hear enough in Paris…».

A specific taste for XX° century music is obviously a major point that the 3 artists combined here have in common.
Born in 1909, First Prize in Lazare-Levy’s class in 1925, Leïla Gousseau didn’t hesitate, among her very few recordings, to record Roussel piano works, and his piano concerto under the direction of Paul Sacher. She also created works by Henri Martelli and Marcel Mihalovici among others.
On her side, Nadine Desouches ( 1912 - 1989 ) was first a pupil of Marguerite Long and Alfred Cortot at the Conservatory, before to improve with Yvonne Lefébure, who actually educate her. Her carreer starts in the mid 1930’s.
In December 1935, she creates Mana by André Jolivet; several times she’ll servethe composers of the circle "Jeune France" Messiaen, Jolivet, Baudrier; Daniel-Lesur, as for their anual concert in 1938, with Roger Désormière.
Her capacitys of quick sight reading make of her a sought after performer by XX° century composers: Mihalovici, Rivier, Martinet, Barraud, Capdevielle, Bartok, Roussel, Schoenberg, Milhaud, Frank Martin, Martinu ( she had met )…. Very opened minded, she doesn’t hesitate to take part in a broadcoast series with the poet Jean Tardieu, "Le Club d’Essai", where music and poetry could mixe.
On her side, Jeanne Gautier had also a intense activity as a teacher: she’s appointed at the Lyon National Conservatory in october 1952, and a year later, additionaly, she’s in charge of the chamber music class . Still living in Paris, she travells to Lyon twice a week for her 16 hours of lessons; a very dutiful woman, she never missed one, and never tryed to depart from the rule… A very cultivated artist, she was a beloved person as well who knew how to transmit her large knowledge to her students. She retired in July 1968.
Unfortunately, in the early seventies, she suffers of the throat cancer; to pay the expensive treatments, she has to sell her superb violin… She finally dies during the winter 1973.
From the 2° part of the fifties, the collaboration between J. Gautier and Nadine Desouches slows down; this refreshment of their relations is probably due to the intense partnership between Gautier and the young Geneviève Joy.

Jean - Marc Harari