Pierre Sancan (1916-2008)
Program note written by Jacob Farmer
Approximate Performance Time:
Advanced – appropriate for upper college undergraduates and master students
Messiaen, Olivier, Andre Jolivet, Pierre Sancan, Henri Dutilleux, Francis Poulenc, Darius Milhaud, and Jacques Ibert. PAHUD, Emmanuel: Paris (French Flute Music). Naxos Digital Services US Inc., 2005. MP3.Widor, Charles-Marie, Frank Martin, Claude Debussy, Pierre Sancan, Henri Dutilleux, and Francis Poulenc. Flute Recital: Dufour, Mathieu – POULENC, F. / MARTIN, F. / WIDOR, C.-M. / DUTILLEUX, H. / SANCAN, P. / DEBUSSY, C. Naxos Digital Services US Inc., 2010. CD.
Bradshaw, Denia. “The Evolution.” Dec. 2013. California State University, Northridge.
Pierre Sancan is a French pianist, composer, professor, and conductor born in Mazamet, France. He studied at the Paris Conservatory under Jean Gallon, Charles Munch, and Henri Busser. Sancan won the Prix de Rome competition in 1943 for his composition titled, La légende d’lcare. While his Sonatine for flute and piano is his best known work, he also composed a violin concerto, Symphony for Strings (1961), and Ondine (1962). Along with his composition career, Sancan frequently accompanied cellist André Navarra. He was the professor of piano at the Paris Conservatory from 1956 to 1985, and died 23 years after his retirement in Paris in 2008.
His Sonatine for flute and piano is his most popular work and was written in 1946 as a test piece for the Paris Conservatory. He dedicated this piece to one of his colleagues, Gaston Crunelle, the flute professor at the time. Sonatine is impressionistic in style with a flare of contemporary extended techniques with use of flutter tonguing. The piece begins with a soft fluid melody that develops throughout the beginning section and returns after the somber Andante espressivosection. One of the impressive parts about the piece is the use of imitation and duet style back and forth between the flute and piano. Sancan gives both the piano and flute cadenzas and solos throughout the piece. The work ends with an exciting Animé section consisting of a rhythmic triplet motif ending with a dramatic conclusion.