Louis Durey (born Paris, 27 May 1888; died Saint-Tropez, France, 3 July 1979) was a French composer. He was the oldest, but probably the least well-known of the six composers who are called Les Six.
Birth[change | change source]
Louis Durey was the son of a businessman. He had no idea that he wanted to be a composer until he heard the opera Pélléas et Mélisande by Claude Debussy. He was then already 19 years old. He taught himself how to compose.
Works[change | change source]
Durey became a member of the group called Les Six in 1920. However, he did not take part in the music they wrote together in 1921 called Les Mariés de la Tour Eiffel. This made Jean Cocteau very annoyed.
Durey became interested in left-wing politics and later joined the Communist Party. During the years of the Nazi occupation of World War II, he worked with the French Resistance and wrote anti-Fascist songs. After the war he had strong Communist ideas. This made it difficult for him to be successful in the world of music. In 1950 he got the job of music critic for a communist newspaper in Paris.
He wrote a lot of music during his life, but there were many years when he wrote nothing. He composed songs, chamber music and choral works.
Louis Durey died at Saint-Tropez, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France.