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His most important compostions are for the organ: Trois Danses, Litanies, Two Fantaisies, Suite, Deux Danses a Agni Yavishta, Variations sur un theme de Clement Jannequin, Le jardin suspendu, and Intermezzo. There are others, but these are the most important. He also wrote choral, piano and chamber music. (thanks to Dean Wagner)
Don’t forget Jehan Alain’s `Deux Chorales’ (Bruce Sawhill)
(contribution by Matthew Atherton <firstname.lastname@example.org>)
Jehan Alain was born in to a highly musical family. His father, Albert Alain, was also a composer and organist (some of Albert’s works are also published by Leduc along with those of Jehan’s younger brother Olivier).
By the age of 11, Jehan was playing organ in St Germain-en-Laye and eventually continued to the Conservatoire National Supérieur where he learnt organ technique (including improvisation) with the brilliant Marcel Dupré and composition with the equally accomplished Paul Dukas (both of whom also taught Olivier Messiaen).
Alain won first prizes in harmony, counterpoint and fugue, and composition (the "Suite for Organ") and in 1936, became organist at Maisons-Laffitte. At the time of his tragic death, Marie-Claire was only about 8 years old*. To quote Alain’s friend Bernard Gavoty: "Then, with his creative powers at their height, on June 20, 1940, while defending Saumur, the cavalryman Alain fell, struck by a bullet in his heart. He had a wife and three children, was 29 years old - and a genius".
Apparently, when he was killed, some of his pages of manuscript that he always carried with him, were blown by the wind, accross the countryside and ultimately picked up and played with by peasant children. These were orchestrations of his last works for the organ, the "Trois Danses", the second of which, "Deuils", can virtually be regarded as a terrifying premonition of his own death - worth hearing when you know the history... or even if you don’t know!!
*Norma Stevlingson writes: Marie-Claire Alain was born in August, 1926. Therefore, she was nearly 14 when Jehan was killed, not 8 as it said in the article.