Germaine Tailleferre was the only female member of the important post-World War I group of French composers known as Les Six. She remained a prominent musician long after the disintegration of that group, during the middle and late 1920s. Tailleferre was born Marcelle Taillefesse to a family living in the outskirts of Paris. Despite having exposed her to music from an early age, Marcelle’s parents considered music to be an inappropriate activity for a young lady, and it was not until her twelfth year that she convinced them to allow her to pursue serious studies at the Paris Conservatoire. There she studied accompaniment, harmony, and counterpoint, eventually taking first prizes in each. Upon reaching adulthood, she changed her name to Germaine Tailleferre, partly to spite her father’s prohibition of her artistic pursuits. During the years following her graduation she received a few informal lessons in orchestration from Maurice Ravel, one of the most prominent French composers of the time. The work on our concert, written in 1919, emulates the musical style of Ravel, particularly in the second movement. Tailleferre had two unhappy marriages that proved a considerable drain on her creative energies. Her natural modesty and unjustified sense of artistic insecurity prevented her from promoting herself properly, and she regarded herself primarily as an artisan who wrote optimistic, accessible music as ‘a release’ from the difficulties of her private life. Even so, she left behind, at her death in 1983 at the age of 91, a large number of successful musical works and numerous film scores representing almost 70 years of active composition.
Shelter Music Boston will perform three movements from her string quartet. Click beloe to hear the seond movement, Intermede.
String Quartet: II. Intermede