Start: Jun 20, 1937
End: Jun 27, 1937
Presented in conjunction with the Exposition Internationale des Arts et des Techniques appliques a la Vie Moderne and the International Conference of the Society for Music Education
From contemporaneous reviews:
“Were there ‘contemporary’ composers before the I.S.C.M.? One begins almost to doubt, since these festivals seem so indispensable to the life of the kind of music here cultivated.”
— R.C., “Paris Festival: The Contemporary Society and its Function” (1937)
from the Edwin Evans clippings collection at Westminster Music Library, London.
“The Festival, which had been splendidly organized by the French section of the Society, went off smoothly. The concerts (given in the Theatre and Comédie des Champs- Elysees and the Centre Marcelin-Berthelot) were attended and applauded by large crowds of delegates and other music-lovers assembled from many corners of the world.
“If the Festival can be taken as representative of what the musical world of to-day is up to (which, of course, it really cannot) then it should seem that ‘modern’ music is more hopelessly than ever caught in an impasse and despairing of finding its way out. Apart from two or three moments, the activities of the week did not provide very much that you would care to ‘write home about’–the reference being to the new works, and not to the already well-known ones that festooned the occasion and saved the day.”
–Irving Schwerké, “The I.S.C.M. Festival at Paris,”
The Musical Times, Vol. 78, No. 1133 (July 1937), pp. 650-651.
(Concerts took place either at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, the Comédie des Champs-Élysées, or the Centre Marcelin-Berthelot unless otherwise noted.)
Opening concert in honor of the ISCM
Works by Georg Friedrich Händel, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Marcel Delannoy, Darius Milhaud, Florent Schmitt and
Johann Sebastian Bach: Six-voiced Fugue from Das Musikalische Opfer (Orchestrated by Anton Webern in 1934-35).
Monday, 21 June 1937
Arthur Honegger (France, b. 1892; d. 1955): String Quartet No. 2 in D (1935);
Michiko Toyama (Japan, b. 1913 in the United States, then in France; d. 2006 in Japan): Yamato no koe (The Voice of Yamato) for Soprano, flute, violin, bassoon, and violoncello (1937) sung by Ayako Ogino [world premiere, prize-winner];
Karel Reiner (Czechoslovakia, b. 1910; d. 1979): Nonet, op. 19;
Joaquin Homs (Spain [Catalonia], b. 1906; d. 2003): Duet for flute and clarinet (1936);
Alan Bush (United Kingdom [England], b. 1900; d. 1995): Concert Piece (Morceau de Concert) for violoncello and piano (1936) performed by Vilmos Palotai accompanied by the composer;
Florent Schmitt (France, b. 1870; d. 1958): Suite en Rocaille, op. 84, for flute, violin, viola, violoncello, and harp (1934).
Tuesday, 22 June 1937 Orchestral concert at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées
+ Karol Szymanowski (Poland, 1882-1937): Symphony No. 4 (Symphonie Concertante) for piano and orchestra (1932) [25′] [in memoriam];
Mikhail Starokadomsky (USSR, b. 1901 in Belarus; d. 1954 in Russia): Concerto for Orchestra (1937) [20′];
Norbert von Hannenheim (Romania, b. 1898, was in Germany then in exile; d. 1945 in Poland): Fantasy for string orchestra;
Jerzy Fitelberg (France, b. 1903, Poland; d. 1951 in U.S.A.): Violin Concerto No. 2 (1935) [29′] conducted by the composer;
André Souris (Belgium [Wallonia], b. 1899; d. 1970) : Hommage à Babeuf for winds and percussion (1934) conducted by the composer;
Hilding Rosenberg (Sweden, b. 1892; d. 1985): Symphonie Concertante for violin, viola, oboe, bassoon, and orchestra (1935) [21′] conducted by the composer;
Gian Francesco Malipiero (Italy, b. 1883; d. 1973): Symphony No. 2 ‘Elegiaca’ (1936) [22′].
Wednesday, 23 June 1937 – concert hosted by the ISCM Polish Section in the Salle de Comédie des Champs-Élysées
Bolesław Woytowicz (Poland, b. 1899; d. 1980): Trio for flute, clarinet, and bassoon (1930) [work now lost];
Roman Maciejewski (Poland/France, b. 1910, in Germany; d. 1998 in Sweden): Concerto pour deux piano solo (1935-36; revised in 1984 and renamed Pianoduo concertante) [32′] performed by the composer and possibly Kazimierz Kranc;
Antoni Szałowski (Poland, b. 1907; d. 1973 in France): String Quartet No. 3 (1936);
Alfred Gradstein (Poland, b. 1904; d. 1954): Sonatina for violin and piano (1936);
Roman Palester (Poland, b. 1907; d. 1989): Sonatina for three clarinets (1936);
Szymon Laks (Poland, b. 1901; d. 1983 in France) Suite polonaise for violin and piano (1935) [25′].
??? Concert in honor of the ISCM of works from the era of Louis XIV at The Grand Trianon, Versailles
Wednesday, 23 June 1937 Concert performed by the Orchestre de la Garde républicaine led by Pierre Dupont
Albert Roussel (France, b. 1869; died 23 August 1937): Prelude from the Suite in F, op. 33 (1926);
Eleuterio Lovreglio (France, b. 1900, in Italy; d. 1972): Cancion y Movimiento de baile for concert band (1936);
Gabriel Pierné (France, 1863; died 17 July 1937): Gulliver au pays de Lilliput (1935);
Alfredo Casella (Italy, b. 1883; d. 1947): Corale e Marcia, Op. 57, for concert band, double bass, piano & percussion (1931-35);
Florent Schmitt (France): Dionysiaques op. 62 (1913) [11′];
Florent Schmitt: “Le camp de Pompée” from Antoine et Cléopâtre, Suite No.1, Op.69a (1920);
? plus works by
Maurice Ravel (France, b. 1875; d. 28 December 1937)
Claude Debussy (France, 1862-1918)
Jean Roger-Ducasse (France, b. 1873; d. 1954)
Manuel de Falla (Spain, b. 1876; d. 1946 in Argentina)
Richard Strauss (Germany, b. 1864; d. 1949): Till Eulenspiegel (1894-95) [transcription?].
? Concert of works by Debussy and Ravel
Thursday, 24 June 1937
Sándor Veress (Hungary, b. 1907; d. 1992): String Quartet No. 2 (1937) [29′];
Hans Erich Apostel (Austria, b. 1901 in Germany; d. 1972): Vier Melodien nach Texten von Rilke, op. 6, for low voice and piano (1935) sung by mezzo-soprano Herta Glaz accompanied by the composer;
Darius Milhaud (France, b. 1892; d. 1974): String Quartet No. 9, op. 140 (1935) [20′];
Henk Badings (Netherlands, b. 1907; d. 1987): Piano Trio (1934);
(Peter Schacht (Germany, b. 1901; d. 1945): Zwei Stücke for clarinet and piano (1931) [scheduled but withdrawn by the composer in deference to opposition to the ISCM by the Nazi Ministry of Propaganda]).
Friday, 25 June 1937 – concert of quarter-tone and sixth-tone music directed by Alois Hába
at the Comédie des Champs-Élysées
Július Kowalski (Czechoslovakia [Slovakia], b. 1912; d. 2003): Fantasia in quartertones for violin and violoncello (1937);
Karel Reiner: Five songs for voice with violin accompaniment in quarter-tones to texts by Karel Hynek Mácha (1936);
Július Kowalski (Czechoslovakia [Slovakia], b. 1912; d. 2003): Malá suita in the 1/6-tone system for solo viola (1936);
František Jiří Wiesmeyer (later known as Georg Whitman) (Czechoslovakia, b. 1917; d. 1970 England): Duo for Two Violins performed by the composer with Rudolf Stein;
Alois Hába (Czechoslovakia, b. 1893; d. 1973): Duo for 2 Violins in 1/6-tone system, op. 49 (1937) [12′] performed by Wiesmeyer and Stein.
Friday, 25 June 1937 Orchestre philharmonique de Paris and the Orchestre des Concerts Colonne
conducted by Karel Ančerl (and others?) at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées
Alois Hába: Overture from the opera Nová země (The New Earth) (1934-36) [7′];
Jean Françaix (France, b. 1912; d. 1997): Piano Concerto (1936) [17′] featuring the composer as piano soloist;
Juan-Carlos Paz (Argentina, b. 1897; d. 1972): Passacaglia, op. 28 (1936);
Hanns Eisler (b. 1898, then in exile; d. 1962 in East Germany): Orchestra Suite No. 3 (1931) [12′]
(2 movements from his German Symphony had been original programmed but were cancelled);
Conrad Beck (Switzerland, b. 1901; d. 1989): Serenade for flute, clarinet, and string orchestra (1935) [17′] (unlisted by Slonimsky);
Josep Valls (Spain [Catalonia], b. 1904; d. 1999 in France): Concerto for string quartet and orchestra (1931);
Demetrij Žebre (Yugoslavia [Slovenia], 1912; d. 1970): Toccata (1936) [8′];
(Additionally listed on the program by Haefeli but not mentioned by Slonimsky or the contemporaneous report published in DMT Årgang so it was probably not performed:
Lars-Erik Larsson (Sweden, b. 1908; d. 1986): Concert Overture No. 2, op. 13 (1934) [7′]).
Saturday, 26 June 1937
Miloje Milojević (Yugoslavia [Serbia], b. 1884; d. 1946): Grimaces Rythmiques, op. 47 for solo piano (1935);
Luigi Dallapiccola (Italy, b. 1904; d. 1975): Musica per tre pianoforti (Inni) (1935) [11′];
Elizabeth Maconchy (England, b. 1907; d. 1994): String Quartet No. 2 (1936) [20′] performed by the Brosa Quartet;
Lars-Erik Larsson (Sweden, b. 1908; d. 1986): Divertimento for chamber orchestra (1931-32) [12′];
+ Paul Dukas (France): Variations on a theme by Rameau for solo piano (1899-1902) [18′] [in memoriam].
Concluding concert of orchestral music hosted by the ISCM French Section
Paul Dukas (France, 1865-1935): La Péri (1911) [20′];
Maurice Ravel (France, b. 1875; d. 28 December 1937): Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2 (1913) [17′];
Vincent d’Indy (France, 1851-1931): Symphonie sur un theme montagnard, op25 (1886) [26′];
Florent Schmitt: La Tragédie de Salomé (1907) [25′];
Emmanuel Chabrier (France, 1841-1874): Bourrée fantasque (1891, ? orchestrated by Charles Koechlin 1924) [6′].
Additional significant interpreters
Violinists: Colette Frantz, Robert Soetens.
Cellists: Pierre Fournier.
Winds: Marcel und Louis Moyse (flute), Lefebvre (clarinet)
Pianists: Zbigniew Drzewiecki, Hans Erich Apostel, Jacqueline Bernard, Alfredo Casella, Luigi Dallapiccola, Maroussia Orloff, Yvonne Lefebure, Robert Casadesus.
Ensembles: Czech Nonett, Brosa Quartet, Neues Ungarisches Quartett
Conductors: Karel Ancerl, Charles Munch, Paul Paray, Andre Souris, Nino Sanzogno.
Mark Brunswick: “Paris, 1937,” Modern Music, Volume 15, No. 1 (Nov.–Dec. 1937), pp. 32–36.
R.C., “Paris Festival: The Contemporary Society and its Function” (1937), from the Edwin Evans clippings
collection at Westminster Music Library, London (cited by Giles Masters, see below).
Fulcher, Jane F. “Musical Style, Meaning, and Politics in France on the Eve of the Second World War,” Journal of Musicology, Vol. 13 No. 4 (1995), pp. 425–453.
Anton Haefeli, Die Internationale Gesellschaft für Neue Musik (IGNM), Ihre Geschichte von 1922 bis zur Gegenwart (Atlantis Musikbuch-Verlag, 1982), pp. 494–496. [in German]
Zofia Helman, “Muzyka na obczyźnie” (“Music in Exile”), in Między Polską a światem : kultura emigracyjna po 1939 roku (Between Poland and the World. Emigrant Culture after 1939) ed. Marty Fik, Warsaw 1992, pp.209–227; also available in French translation as “Musique en exil,” in Polish Art. Studies XIV, Wrocław–Warsaw–Cracow 1992, pp. 187–202.
Giles Masters, New-music internationalism: the ISCM festival, 1922–1939 (King’s College London: Ph.D. Dissertation, 2021) Available online: kclpure.kcl.ac.uk/portal/files/156634738/2021_Masters_Giles_1101346_ethesis.pdf.
Irving Schwerké, “The I.S.C.M. Festival at Paris,” The Musical Times, Vol. 78, No. 1133 (July 1937), pp. 650–651.
Simeone, Nigel, “Music at the 1937 Paris Exposition: The Science of Enchantment,” The Musical Times, Vol. 143, No. 1878 (Spring 2002), pp. 9–17.
Nicolas Slonimsky, Music Since 1900, Sixth Edition edited by Laura Kuhn (Schirmer Reference, 2001), pp. 319–320.
Lubomír Spurný and Jiří Vysloužil: Alois Hába – A Catalogue of the Music and Writings (Prague: Koniasch Latin Press, 2010).
Marlena Wieczorek, “Roman Maciejewski – An Independent Artist, A Truly Free Man,” Chapter 5 of Émigré Composers (Musicology Today Volume 8 published by the Institute of Musicology, University of Warsaw, 2011), pp. 103–133.
Unattributed author, “ISCM’s 16. musikfest i Paris Juni 1937,” DMT Årgang (The Danish Music Review), Vol. 12 (1937) No. 05, pp. 97–97 [in Danish].
Unattributed author, “Festivals in Europe (Special to The Gazette),” The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) Saturday, 26 June 1937, p. 10.
(annotated by Frank J. Oteri)