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Donald Macleod follows Lili Boulanger's activities during the First World War when her music-making possibilities were restricted.

Donald Macleod follows Lili Boulanger's activities during the First World War, when her music-making possibilities were restricted.

As the first female winner, Lili Boulanger's success in France's most prestigious composing competition, in 1913, is a significant landmark in the history of overcoming gender discrimination. Artistically it identified her as one of the most outstanding composers of her generation, with the prospect of a great future ahead. Tragically she was not to have long to fulfil that expectancy. Having struggled with ill-health from the age of 2, she died in 1918 at the age of just 24, three weeks after Debussy, a composer from whom she derived much inspiration. Yet, despite the brevity of her life, Boulanger's natural facility for composition and unwavering dedication to her craft provides us with a surprising number of predominantly vocal works.

The advent of the Great War resulted in the closure of the Medici Villa in Rome, where, as a Prix de Rome winner, Lili Boulanger had been staying. Too frail to undertake any physical occupation, but determined to make a contribution, Boulanger explored other ways in which she could support the war effort. She soon identified a way and set to work.

Pie Jesu for voice, string quartet, harp and organ
Alain Fauqueur, boy soprano
Members of the Lamoureux Orchestra
J.J. Grunewald, organ
Igor Markevitch, conductor

Pour les funérailles d'un soldat
Vincent le Texier, baritone
Choeur Symphonique de Namur
Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg
Mark Stringer, conductor

Dans l'immense tristesse
Mitsuko Shirai, mezzo soprano
Hartmut Höll, piano

Psaume 130: Du fond de l'abime
Sally Bruce-Payne, mezzo soprano
Julian Podger, tenor
The Monteverdi Choir
London Symphony Orchestra
John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

Producer: Johannah Smith for BBC Wales.

23 days left to listen

59 minutes

Music Played

  • Lili Boulanger

    Pie Jesu Vers For Mezzo-Soprano, Organ And Orchestra

    Performer: Jean-Jacques Grunenwald. Orchestra: Orchestre Lamoureux. Conductor: Igor Markevitch. Singer: Alain Fauquier.
    • Lili Boulanger Du fond de l'Abime etc..
    • Everest.
    • 5.
  • Lili Boulanger

    Pour Les Funerailles D'Un Soldat For Baritone, Choir And Orchestra

    Singer: Vincent Le Texier. Choir: Namur Symphonic Chorus. Orchestra: Lëtzebuerger philharmoneschen Orchester. Conductor: Mark Stringer.
    • Lili Boulanger works for chorus and orchestra.
    • TIMPANI.
    • 2.
  • Lili Boulanger

    Dans L'Immense Tristesse

    Performer: Hartmut Höll. Singer: Mitsuko Shirai.
    • BAYER : BR-100041.
    • BAYER.
    • 5.
  • Lili Boulanger

    Psalm 130 Du Fond De L'Abime

    Performer: London Symphony Orchestra. Choir: Monteverdi Choir. Singer: Sally Bryce-Payne. Singer: Julian Podger. Conductor: Sir John Eliot Gardiner.
    • DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON : 463-789-2.
    • 4.


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