[ACADÉMIE DU DISQUE FRANÇAIS]
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Important Large Archive
A remarkable collection of letters, photographs and documents concerning the history of recordings in France. Ninety items in all, various sizes, Paris and elsewhere, c.1878-1983.
The Académie du Disque Français was founded in Paris in 1951 by Colette, Maurice Yvain, Jean Fayard, and the poet Guy-Charles Cros, son of the inventor of the phonograph. Its founding president was Arthur Honegger and it included among its ranks other composers, men of letters, such as Cocteau, critics and discophiles. Einstein, a gifted amateur violinist had been a member of the Académie du Disque from September 1954 until his death in April 1955. Honegger died later the same year on 27 November.
Details as follows:
Académie du Disque. Important mission statement from the Académie du Disque, addressed to the Secretaire d'Etat au Budget, celebrating the recent statute to place the recording industry alongside that of book publishing in terms of national importance and budgetary support from the State. 1 page. Paris. 19 May, 1954.
In part: “Le fonds musical et littéraire de notre pays étant notoirement l'un des plus riches du monde, alors que les moyens affectés a sa mise en valeur sont des plus modesties, une tell mesure aura pour effet immediate d'augmenter en France le nombre des discophiles, et a l'étranger la quantité et la variété des oeuvres enregistrées et exportées.”
A remarkable letter, signed by Colette, Jean Cocteau, Arthur Honegger, Florent Schmitt, Georges Duhamel, Jean Fayard, Michel de Bry, Guy-Charles Cros, Maurice Garcon, Maurice Yvain and others.
Cocteau, Jean. (1889 - 1963) Autograph letter signed to Michel [de Bry]. 1 page, 2 December, 1954. A paean in praise of Honegger, discussing 'Les Six' and asking that the Académie remember the “seventh man.”
[Cocteau, Jean. (1889 - 1963)]Typed Letter addressed to Cocteau (“Mon Cher Jean”) from Michel de Bry. 2 pages. 30 November, 1955. Concerning the recent death of Honegger, asking that he add some additional information to his published tribute in the name of the Académie du Disque. He notes that it was almost precisely one year ago that they honored Honegger with a dinner at l'Academie du Disque and that it was Cocteau who was then seriously ill, unable to attend, but who sent a letter celebrating him in the name of the Groupe des Six [the autograph letter included here (above)].
Honegger, Arthur. (1892 - 1955) 3 autograph letters and typed letters signed, written as president of the Académie du Disque:
July, 1955. 2 pages, autograph letter signed by Honegger and addressed “Mon cher Charles [Munch], Messieurs les Artistes du Boston Symphony Orchestra.” A very important letter, sending congratulations to the BSO for winning the Grand Prix of the Académie du Disque for their recording of Berlioz's “Roméo et Juliette.” Honegger remarks that the BSO, among all international orchestra, has always maintained a special relationship with France and discusses its history of close contact among the players and conductors of the orchestra. He notes too that he owes a great debt to the conductor and orchestra, as they were the first to play his works in America and it was for the BSO's 50th anniversary, that he wrote his First Symphony. He goes on to discuss his other contacts with the BSO, including his 1928 performances and relationship with Koussevitzky. He writes that Munch is for him “a well-loved brother, admired with tenderness, who has been the most certain and faithful defendant of his music,” and thanks the orchestra (“magnificent artists”) for their “joy and intelligence.”
23 May, 1955. 1 page, Typed letter signed by Honegger and Maurice Yvain. Concerning the market regression of recordings of French repertoire, saying that it is the mission of the Académie du Disque to strongly urge music editors to reorient their recording projects to restore a better “equilibrium” for their patrimony, French composers and artists.
15 June, 1955. 1 page, Typed letter signed by Honegger and addressed to M. Edgar Faure, Président du Conseil des Ministres. Concerning awards given by the Académie du Disque, asking him to sign the certificates and to give the stamp of the State's approval.
Auric, Georges. (1899 - 1983) Typed letter, signed. 1 page, addressed to Max Fischer. 22 November, 1966. Inviting him to be a “member titulaire” of the Académie du Disque, under the category of “Discophiles.” Together with Fisher's signed letter of acceptance.
Gaxotte, Pierre. (1895 - 1982). Two autograph manuscript essays regarding “Disques de Ballet.” 4; 5 pages. Both undated, ca. 1950. Fascinating commentary on the Ballets Russes, standard dance repertory (Delibes, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Stravinsky, Roussel) conductors etc.
[King Frederik IX of Denmark. (1899 - 1972)]. Typed letter draft with numerous edits throughout in blue in, from Arthur Honegger and Maurice Yvain. 3 pages, dated 8 July, 1955. Discussing the mission of the Académie du Disque, saluting several great Danish composers, and inviting the King (who was famed as an excellent and serious conductor) to take the recently vacated position in the Académie after the death of Albert Einstein. In part: “Nous avons été amenés a considerer Sa Majesté non pas comme un monarque accessoirement musicien, mais comme un musicien éminemment éclairé, un chef d'orchestre de grand talent, - qui se trouve porter une couronne.” Together with 2 typed signed letters (11 July 1955; 27 August,1955) regarding the King's acceptance, both from the Ambassador, E. Waerum.
Milhaud, Darius. (1892 - 1974) Autograph letter draft, signed. 2 pages, no date. Regarding the organization of and governmental support for the Académie du Disque Français. Together with a typed copy of the letter.
Ibert, Jacques. (1890 - 1962) Typed memorial letter, with autograph corrections. 3 pages. 2 December, 1955. A very moving tribute, addressed “Mon cher Arthur,” penned a few days after the death of Arthur Honegger. Together with a typed cover letter, noting that Ibert is in very ill health and cannot attend the memorial service for his friend, but is sending this message to be read in his name.
Fauchois, René. (1882 - 1962). Typed memorial letter, with autograph corrections. 2 pages. 1 December, 1955. A tribute to Arthur Honegger from the popular writer/actor, four days after Honegger's death.
Sauguet, Henri. (1901 - 1989) Autograph signed items, including letters and manuscripts:
Autograph letter, signed. 2 pp. Paris, 1/11/54. Addressed “Mon cher Ami” [Michel de Bry]. A detailed letter, his enthusiastic appraisal (and recommendation for an award) of a recent recording by mezzo-soprano, Flore Wend.
4-page autograph manuscript of a talk about Georges Auric and his involvement with the Académie du Disque Français. Together with a related autograph signed note and a copy of a letter to the Minister of Culture regarding Auric.
7-page autograph signed manuscript of a talk on the occasion of their Award Ceremony, paying tribute in particular to the recently deceased Charles Munch. Dated November, 1968.
Autograph Letter, signed. 2 pages. Paris. 14 November, 1970. Addressed “Cher Ami” [Michel de Bry]. An interesting letter regarding problems in the distribution of recordings to voting members of the Académie du Disque Français.
Autograph Letter, signed. 2 pages. Paris. 28 November, 1970. Addressed “Cher Ami” [Michel de Bry]. A second interesting letter regarding problems in the distribution of recordings to voting members of the Académie du Disque Français.
Autograph Letter, signed. 2 pages. 1 January, 1981. Addressed “Cher Ami” [Michel de Bry]. Noting that he will be unable to attend a meeting because he will be assisting in the preparation of a performance of his 2nd Quartet, and sending his very interesting endorsement of Benjamin Britten for that year's “Prix Ravel” from the Académie du Disque Français.
Autograph Letter, signed. 1 page. Paris. 13 June, 1981. Addressed “Cher Ami” [Michel de Bry]. An interesting letter discussing the naming of an award from the Académie du Disque Français, proposing that they use the name of one of the past Académie presidents - Rouché, Yvain, Honegger, or Milhaud.
Self-portrait drawing in ink, inscribed and signed at the foot with an affectionate note to Michel de Bry. Together with a separate signed note (8.23.81), enclosing the drawing.
Facsimile of a manuscript of his song "Le pli cacheté" with text by Charles Cros, and put into verse by Michel de Bry. 4 pp.
Mitterand, François. (1916 - 1996) Typed letter, signed. 1 page. June 17, 1981. Addressed to Georges Auric. Regarding the continued support of René Coty, Minister of Culture, for the Académie du Disque Français, and stating that the President remains very attached to the cause of the Académie. Together with 2 original portrait photographs.
Additional interesting letters from Pierre Gaxotte, Lord Harewood, Charles Boyer, Ginette Keller, Marcel Mihalovici, Jacques Chailley, Rene Dumesnil; additional official printed documents related to the Académie; 48 original photographs (various formats, mostly 7X 9 or 8 X 10 inches) showing members and associates of the Académie, including Honegger, Schmitt, Milhaud, Colette, Sauguet, Cocteau and Albert Schweitzer, Charles Munch, Lionel Hampton, Ernst Ansermet, Nathan Milstein, Edith Piaf etc.