Jean-Jacques Werner (1935 - 2017)

Date: November 7th, 2017

In Memoriam Jean-Jacques Werner, France

January 30, 1935 – October 22, 2017


by Miguel Etchegoncelay

My dearest friend and renowned French composer and conductor Jean-Jacques Werner passed away a couple of days ago.

Deeply affected by the passing of his wife some months ago, he put all his energies in finishing his last work, the opera « Luther ou le mendiant de la grâce » written in celebration of 500 years since the Reformation.

The premiere took place on October 14th at the Protestant Church of his hometown Barr, a small village close to Strasbourg in the east of France, not far from the German border.

Further performances will take place at our Conservatoire of Music in Strasbourg, as well as in Saverne, Wissembourg, Metz and Mulhouse, all of them sold out. Jean-Jacques kept, as said by his librettist Gabriel Schoettel, a youthful enthusiasm about music making until the end.

Jean-Jacques Werner studied harp, horn, conducting and composition at Strasbourg Conservatoire of Music and at the Schola Cantorum in Paris. Among his teachers were Pierre Wismer, Daniel Lesur and Léon Barzin. After 1960, he established himself as a conductor and a defender of the music of his time. Beside his conducting activities he was very much involved in teaching. He was Director of the Conservatoire of Fresnes, as well as professor for conducting at the Conservatoire de Reims and guest professor at the Paris Conservatoire.

He was awarded many prizes, including the Florent Schmitt Award from the French Institute (1993) and Officier des Arts et de Lettres (2009) by the French Government.

His music is very refined and lyrical, nurtured by art and literature, both French and German. Sacred as well as profane, but always profoundly human, in complicity with the poets of his time, seeking spirituality.

« Diverse are the ways opening from the roots » sings Ariane in the opera Le fil d’Ariane, composed by Jean-Jacques Werner on the text by Jacques Phythilis. This poetic vision permeates throughout the composer’s works. Living once again in his native Alsace since 2006, Jean-Jacques Werner rediscovered his roots springing from a dual culture prevalent in all his works. His language forged in the tradition of Bach with a strong inheritance from Debussy is a form of contemplation inspired by poetry and philosophy. It nourishes the composer’s inventiveness and over the years has confirmed the unique mastery of his style » (Editions Delatour Catalogue).

Jean-Jacques Werner’s production is large and very rich, including music for symphony orchestra, wind ensemble, chamber ensembles, concertos, opera and stage productions, liturgical and vocal music, solo instruments and many pedagogical works.

His music is published mainly by Editions Delatour France (www.editions-delatour.com)

Selected works for winds

Title

Instrumentation

Year

Time

Edition

Concerto Grosso

Symphonic Band

1980/81

15’

Billaudot

Deuxième concerto pour piano

Solo pno.1122/2100.perc(2)

1963

16’

Billaudot

Psaume VIII

Children’s choir.1011/1100.perc(1)

1970

16’

manuscript

Music for Grôznjan

0000/2220

1976

9’

manuscript

Trois paraphrases

Clarinet sextet

1977

13’

Choudens

Notes prises à New York

101.BCl.0/0000.pno.perc(2).Cb

1977

17’

Transatlantiques

Canzoni per Sonar

2222/2221

1981

13’

Transatlantiques (rental)

Louez-le, soleil, lune et planètes

Choir (SATB) 2000/2211.perc(2).hp(2)

1987

15’

manuscript

Die silberne Schulter

SSolo.narrator.1010/1000.hp.perc(2).pno.Cb

1988

16’

manuscript

Quatre bagatelles pour cour

Horn solo.Symphonic Band

1990

17’

manuscript

Hymne pour les jeux

Symphonic Band

1993

3’30

manuscript

Concerto pour tuba

Tuba solo. Symphonic Band

1996

20’

Billaudot

Un fauteuil de glaise

Narrator.2000/2100.vn(2)hp.pno.perc(2)

2007

20’

manuscript

Deux poèmes de John Keats

SSolo.0022/2000

2012

9’

manuscript

Quatre scènes de la Passion

Choir (SATB). 0000/132.perc(3)

2015

20’

Delatour

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