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Classicsonline Home » Artists » » Allain-Dupre, Philippe

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Philippe Allain-Dupre

Jehan Alain has been called the Grigny of the twentieth century. Fate granted very little time to an artist who died prematurely at the very beginning of the Second World War at the age of twenty-nine, but what richness there is, what maturity in a body of work that includes some 120 compositions written between 1929 and 1939.

Jehan Alain was not only an organ composer, as his vocal works, chamber music and piano compositions show, but it remains true that he dedicated to this instrument the most essential elements of his genius. This is not surprising when we remember the origins of the composer and the context in which he came to music.

Like Debussy, Alain was born at saint-Germain-en-Laye, on 3rd February 1911, into the family of the organist and composer Albert Alain. Equally enthusiastic as an organ-builder, Albert Alain had built in the family living-room an instrument that must have influenced the musical taste of his eldest son, as did the long hours he spent by the side of his father at the organ of the Church of saint-Germain or at the piano of his maternal grandmother, Alice Alberty, an excellent amateur musician who had once studied with a pupil of Chopin. Having quickly understood his son's inclination to music, Albert Alain provided him with the first foundation of the art, before making him take piano lessons with Auguste Pierson, organist of saint-Louis at Versailles.


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