When a composer seems to have faded so completely out of our musical life, the assumption, true in some cases, is that history makes its choice and that if a composer has fallen out of favour this simply means his music wasn’t meant to last. But history does occasionally make mistakes: the case of Bach, eclipsed by his own sons after his death and known for some decades to only a handful of musicians until he was reinstated by Mendelssohn, is probably the most famous. Mahler was neglected until he was gradually rediscovered and is now a pillar of our musical tradition. There are other composers like Frank Martin or Zemlinsky who, it seems, are only gradually beginning to receive the recognition they deserve, and many other fine composers are still struggling to be heard today. In the case of Jean Roger-Ducasse, although most of his music is available on CD, one never hears him in concert halls and his name is unknown to the vast majority of musicians.
Jean Roger-Ducasse studied at the Paris Conservatoire and was the star pupil and close friend of Gabriel Fauré. He succeeded Fauré as professor of composition, and in 1935 he succeeded Paul Dukas as professor of orchestration. His personal style was firmly rooted in the French school of orchestration, in an unbroken tradition from Berlioz through Saint-Saëns.
Roger-Ducasse wrote music in nearly all classical forms and was particularly known for his operatic stage works and orchestral compositions.
Acclaimed for the originality of his concert programmes and the depth of his interpretations, Patrick Hemmerlé is a French pianist living in England. He can often be heard performing such works as the 24 Chopin Etudes, the 48 Bach Prelude and Fugues, or lesser-known composers such as Roger-Ducasse, whose public recognition is not equal to their worth. Patrick was trained in Paris at the Conservatoire.
Recent engagements have taken him to New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, Paris, Vienna, and Prague, as well as many festivals and music societies in England.
Patrick has published 3 CDs, which have been well received by the international press, and have led to an invitation to give the inaugural concert of the Novak Society, where he played Novak’s masterpiece, Pan, which had not been heard in Prague for 50 years.
His latest recording project, to be issued in 2020 is a pairing of Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier and Fischer’s Ariadne Musica.
His vast musicological knowledge, and his capacity to clarify complex musical concepts means he is in demand as a lecturer. He has given talks for the Cambridge University, as well as a cycle of concert-lectures on French music, presenting composers little known to the general public, their environment, their influence, and their music. This led to the recordings of the piano music of Jean Roger-Ducasse and Maurice Emmanuel.