(Marie-Juliette Olga) Lili  Boulanger

Lili Boulanger (1893-1918)

Nationality: French
Born: August 21, 1893, Paris
Died: March 15, 1918, Mézy (age 24)

D'un matin de printemps

(for flute and piano)
Assez animé - Rubato suivez - Un peu moins vite - 1er mouv't
Duration: 5 minutes (approximately) - hide movement times
Composed: between 1917-1918 (age 24-25)
Note: For violin or flute and piano; also orchestrated and arranged for piano trio.
4 recordings, 4 videos
Chislett (flute), Miller (piano)
Menuhin (violin), Curzon, (piano)
Monte Piano Trio
Seattle Symphony, Cristian Măcelaru

From Kai Christiansen:

Lili Boulanger (1893-1918)

D'un matin de printemps, 1918

Nadia Boulanger was one of the most important composition teachers of the 20th century influencing a number of young composers particularly from England and America including such noteworthy students as Aaron Copland and Philip Glass among others. Lili Boulanger was her younger sister whom Nadia considered more talented than herself, perhaps a chief influence on her decision to teach rather than compose. Lili was recognized as a child prodigy and pursued a life as a gifted composer. She was plagued with poor health from a young age including intestinal tuberculosis (known as Crohn's disease) that ultimately claimed her life at the tragically young age of 24. A nineteen-year-old Lili made the news in 1913 as the first woman to win the Prix de Rome, a distinguished award for composition that her father had also won years before. In her short life, Boulanger composed for the stage, choir and solo vocalist as well as a small number of instrumental pieces. Her adventurous 20th century music was noted for its harmonic and instrumental color as well as an early exploration of polytonality.

Written in 1918 shortly before she died, her short piece titled D'un matin de printemps (Of a spring morning) was originally scored for violin (or flute) and piano but subsequently arranged for piano trio and again for full orchestra. Undoubtedly in a 20th century vocabulary, the music initially evokes the likes of Ravel and Debussy with its distinctively French sparkle, motoric rhythms and the sprightly suggesting of spring in a vivid character piece. This, and a companion piece titled D'un soir triste" (Of a sad evening), were the last compositions written in her own hand.

© Kai Christiansen. Used by permission. All rights reserved.