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Child Composers in the Old ConservatoriesHow Orphans Became Elite Musicians$
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Robert O. Gjerdingen

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190653590

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190653590.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 June 2021

A Sickly Young Woman Speaks Elegant Harmony to One of the Immortals

A Sickly Young Woman Speaks Elegant Harmony to One of the Immortals

(p.233) 17 A Sickly Young Woman Speaks Elegant Harmony to One of the Immortals
Child Composers in the Old Conservatories

Robert O. Gjerdingen

Oxford University Press

In the 1930s, the harmony classes at the Paris Conservatory were still segregated by gender. Jacques de La Presle was a teacher of “women’s harmony,” and in 1938 his student Colette Boyer won a first prize in the annual women’s harmony contest. The test bass had been composed by Henri Busser. Boyer’s realizations exhibit an elegance and refinement that must have impressed the judges. Henri Busser’s own realization of his bass is perhaps not quite as good as Boyer’s. Although the trauma of WWII led her to abandon music and seek refuge as a nun, her small artworks produced for the contests and classes in harmony remain testaments to her great talent. She knew nothing of the kind of harmony classes taught today in North America, but she was a minor master of the art of harmony as a living expression of a great European tradition.

Keywords:   Colette Boyer, Jacques de La Presle, André Chouraqui, Henri Busser, Paule Maurice, Hippolyte Colet, Robert Dussaut

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