The sound of boots

Another war? Yes, and this one, which did not see him a soldier, would be very different. Germany, the enemy, was ever present. Life was a bit easier in the country than in cities; there was food. But for the composer, there was no music paper.

One strange consolation awaited him: as long as the German forces occupied his home, transforming the upper level of the house into an infirmary, he would not let himself be known as a musician. Lucien told his son Luc that he would never play for the German troops, a matter of honor. Everything musical had to be kept out of sight! He knew well how much the Germans appreciated music and that they would have demanded the services of the violinist and composer, especially since he spoke their language perfectly. Absolute silence, therefore, about music. And no word about his knowledge of German. Silence, too, about the clandestine presence of Mauricette and André, the two Jewish children sent by French Security just before the estate began to house the enemy.

Yes, peace returned, but the accompanying poverty was such that Lucien was obliged to give up what was most precious to him, his beautiful concert violin. His Guarnerius was sold, a sale that brought in little for the violinist.[10] The last years of Lucien Durosoir’s life were a time of poverty and illness. During these last years he composed six short works, often commanded by circumstances, as in the case of the Trois préludes for keyboard, composed  after the death of Rolland, organist in Rouen, his wartime companion; the Prière à Marie, a gift to his children for their first communion; and his final work, the Chant élégiaque, in memory of the violinist Ginette Neveu.[11] He did not complete the song A ma mère and night closed in on his life five years after the Chant élégiaque, his last work.

Lucien Durosoir died in his home in Bélus on his seventy-seventh birthday, December 5, 1955.

Georgie Durosoir
Bélus, 2019


[10] The violin ended up in New York. It was not identified in the shipment, either an oversight or to save on customs; either is possible. The result is that there is no trace of it.

[11] The airplane crash that killed Ginette Neveu (1919-1949), a very talented young violinist, is still spoken of among French classical music lovers.

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