HENRI SAUGUET (1901 - 1989)
Encouraged by Milhaud to move from his native Bordeaux to Paris to study with Koechlin, Henri Sauguet was influenced by his meeting with Satie and with other young musicians, leading to his establishment of the École d’Arcueil, its name drawn from the suburb where Satie had chosen to live. He won a reputation in particular for his ballet music, which has all the clarity and elegance associated with a certain kind of French music.
Sauguet’s first opera Le Plumet du colonel (‘The Colonel’s Helmet’) won some success in 1924 but his version of Stendhal’s La Chartreuse de Parme (‘The Charterhouse of Parma’), completed in 1936 and revised in 1968, was a work of much greater interest. His contributions to ballet included La Chatte (‘The Cat’) for Diaghilev in 1927.
In addition to his symphonies Sauguet wrote a number of concertos. These include the violin concerto Concert d’Orphée, three piano concertos, and the Garden’s Concerto for harmonica and chamber orchestra. His Symphonie expiatoire laments the victims of war.
Chamber and Instrumental Music
Sauguet’s music for smaller groups of instruments or solo instruments makes characteristically French use of wind instruments. Piano music includes the Trois Françaises of 1923 and two sets of Pièces poétiques for children.