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TROUBADISC composers

Germaine Tailleferre


”I have no great respect for the tradition. I compose music, because it amuses me.”    Germaine Tailleferre

The French composer was born on 19 April 1892 in Parc Saint-Maur, just outside of Paris. She exhibited exceptional musical prowess and precociousness at the piano from an early age and began to compose at the age of five. She started her formal musical training in 1904 at the Paris Conservatory, winning several prizes.

In 1917, Eric Satie heard Tailleferre’s “Jeux de Plein Air” (for two pianos), and proclaimed her as his “musical daughter," thus becoming one of his “Nouveaux Jeunes.” They were later baptized by Henri Collet as “The French Six” (commonly referred to as “Le Groupe des Six”), whose guiding spirit was Cocteau, and included Poulenc, Milhaud, Honegger, Auric and Durey.

Tailleferre continued her study of composition under Koechlin, and informally under Ravel.

In 1937 she managed to complete her extraordinary “Cantate de Narcisse,” having collaborated with Paul Valéry on the next.

She emigrated to America in 1942 and returned to France four years later. She began to compose seriously again and produced many works, including operas “La petit Sirène” and “Le Mâitre,” several opera-bouffes such as “La Fille d’Opera,” orchestra works such as “Petite Suite,” songs such as “Chansons du Folklore de France,” and music for film, television and radio. Her music, joyous though sophisticated, is always accessible.

Germaine Tailleferre continued to compose in various genres, preferring chamber-music works. Some of these recordings appeared together with the String Quartet on an all-Tailleferre CD by Troubadisc.

She was awarded the Medal of the City of Paris and the Prix Italia, among others. She taught at the Scola Cantorum and later at L’Ecole Alsacienne well into her 90s.

Her “Concerto de la Fidélité” was premiered at the Paris Opera in 1982.

Germaine Tailleferre died in Paris on 7 November 1983.

“Germaine Tailleferre is a delightful musican. She writes slowly but with assuredness. She produces little but each piece is remarkably mise au point. Her music has the great merit of being without pretension; it is most attractive because it is sincere. It is really the music of a young girl in the most lovely sense of the word. It is so fresh that one would almost say that it is scented. Her tendencies show a liking for the impressionists from whom she inherited the love of subtle chords and perfection in details …!”      
Darius Milhaud

book tips

Germaine Tailleferre:
"Memoires à l'emporte-pièce."
Editions Champion - Slatkine, Paris-Geneva, 1986.

"Catalogue des œuvres."
v. G. Billaudot (ed.), Paris, 1991.

Claude Chamfray:
"Hommage à Germaine Tailleferre."
Le Courrier Musical de France, 39, 1972.

TRO-CD 01406

Image (1918) - String Quartet (1919) - Sonatas for Violin and Piano (1921/1948) - Sonata for Clarinet solo (1957) - Arabesque for Clarinet and Piano (1973) - Forlane (1972) - Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello (1978)

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Germaine Tailleferre





Germaine Tailleferre