Germaine Tailleferre: “Erik Satie told me: I decree you as my musical daughter”

Germaine Tailleferre born in 1892 in Saint-Maur des Fossés is a prodigious composer who was the protege of

Erik Satiea great friend of Stravinsky and who was part of the famous

Group of Six with Georges Auric, Louis Durey, Arthur Honegger, Darius Milhaud and Francis Poulenc. She also led a social life in the artistic Paris of the 1920s, crossing the paths of Modgliani, Picasso,

Ravel or Charlie Chaplin.

Germaine Tailleferre is part of the Group of Six alongside notably Arthur Honegger, Darius Milhaud and Francis Poulenc

It is this life that she tells in this program “Bon Voyage” broadcast for the first time on January 25, 1960 on Paris Inter. Alongside Max Favalleli, she strolls through the streets of Paris, offering us a guided tour of the musical and intellectual effervescence of Paris in the 1920s. She remembers the disreputable balls at La Closerie des Lilas, and then, at her sister Jeanne, who married the sculptor Emmanuel Centore, of her encounters with cubist painters, writers, Apollinaire, Marie Laurencin, Tristan Tzara, Zadkine, Paul Fort, and many others.

“With the Group of Six, the friendship lasted all our lives”

At La Rotonde, she remembers Picasso drinking his coffee and Modigliani, still drunk. She recounts her years at the Conservatory. His gift was revealed very young, at three years old: “I made my first composition at five years old. I played Mozart and Beethoven sonatas from memory that my sisters played. I already had a small repertoire without knowing my notes. At the Conservatory it was terrible: I found it much easier to play without knowing the notes, to improvise”.

“Erik Satie did me the honor of loving these pieces so much that he said to me: I decree you as my musical daughter”

Germaine Tailleferre then recounts the first time she met the composer Erik Satie at the pianist Marcelle Meyer’s: “I played before Erik Satie piano pieces called “Jeux de plein air,” and that was the greatest thing in my life, which has determined my career, Erik Satie did me the honor of loving these pieces so much that he said to me: here you are going to be part of the group of “New young people”, (this was the name of the “Group of Six” at that time). I decree you my musical daughter”.

One life, one work

59 mins

Darius Milhaud in turn remembers his meeting with Germaine Tailleferre, “this charming young girl who was extremely gifted and who picked up all the first prizes at the Conservatory. (…) I said that she made “music that smells good”, young girl’s music in the noblest sense of the word”.

  • By Jacques Floran
  • With Max Favalelli (journalist) and Germaine Tailleferre (composer)
  • Directed by: Henri Soubeyran
  • Bon Voyage – Germaine Tailleferre (1st broadcast: 01/25/1960 Paris Inter)
  • Web edition: Documentation of Radio France
  • Archive Ina-Radio France

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