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date: 20 September 2019

Delbos [Messiaen], Clairelocked

  • Nigel Simeone

Extract

(b Paris, Nov 2, 1906; d Bourg La Reine, Hauts de Seine, April 22, 1959). French composer and violinist. The daughter of Victor Delbos (a professor at the Sorbonne), she studied the violin and composition at the Paris Conservatoire. Delbos composed several organ works, including Paraphrase sur le jugement dernier and L'offrande à Marie, for Messiaen, whom she married on 22 June 1932. Messiaen's pet-name for Delbos was ‘Mi’, which appears as a cryptic dedication in musical notation on his Thème et variations, and more explicitly in the titles of the Poèmes pour Mi, and ‘Bail avec Mi (pour ma femme)’, no.1 of the Chants de terre et de ciel. The couple's only child, Pascal, was born in 1937.

Delbos wrote three sets of songs for voice and piano, all of which received performances at the Société Nationale de Musique. The five aphoristic settings of poems by Cécile Sauvage, Messiaen's mother, which make up the set ...

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