Jean-Michel Damase – An Introduction
Born on 27 January 1928 and died 21 April 2013, Jean-Michel Damase composed in a style often compared to Fauré, Poulenc, Ravel, Françaix, Roussel, and Stravinsky; incorporating many of the rhythmic and harmonic complexities associated with twentieth-century French music. Throughout his career, Damase has remained a traditionalist, "continuing the post-tonal line of Debussy and Ravel without the modish interest in their deeper-seated implications."* Or, in the composers own words:
"I prefer sincerity to forced innovation."
Damase's music is accessible without being lightweight; unapologetically melodic, with a penchant for repeating – some have even said "obsessive" – motifs; tonal, though paradoxically, harmonically complex; rhythmically surprising; sometimes playful, sometimes biting – but always resolving; respectful of tradition and form; often demanding virtuosic ability and endurance of the performer; and always superbly crafted.
* Grove's Dictionary of Music & Musicians