Fernande Decruck

Fernande Decruck. One of many celebrated women composers of clarinet music.

Fernande Decruck (1896 – 1954) was a French organist and prolific composer of woodwind music. She contributed numerous works to the clarinet repertory, included several extant reed trios, a piano-wind sextet, six clarinet duets, three solos for B-flat clarinet and piano, as well as a solo for contrabass clarinet and piano. In addition, records indicate she composed a clarinet concerto that is tragically lost at this time.

Contact Matthew Aubin, host of fernandedecruck.com

Fernande Decruck (1896 – 1954)

Fernande Decruck (née Breilh) was a French composer and organist, the majority of whose works for wind instruments have been recently rediscovered, preserved, and catalogued by Matthew Welz Aubin. A complete biography and catalogue of her works can be found on his website, fernandedecruck.com. Copies of her unpublished or out-of-print works for clarinet may be made upon polite request, while other published editions are available for purchase.

Decruck was born in the village of Gaillac in France to a local merchant. She began learning piano aged eight and studied at the Conservatoire de Toulouse. She was admitted to the Conservatoire de Paris in 1918 studying organ and composition. There she won prizes in harmony, fugue, counterpoint, and piano accompaniment.1

Her studies in improvisation on organ led her to travel to America where she gave her first organ recitals in New York. Her husband, Maurice Decruck, a clarinetist, saxophonist and double-bassist played both bass and saxophone with the New York Philharmonic. Maurice Decruck later became a music publisher, opening the company Les Editions de Paris. They married in 1924 and had three children, Jeannine Decruck (born 1925), Michel Decruck (born 1926) and Alain Decruck (born 1937). She moved to the United States with her family in 1928.1

In 1932, Maurice Decruck returned to Paris and began a publishing company ‘’Les Editions de Paris’’ that would go on to publish Fernande Decruck’s compositions. She was included in the 1936 edition list of members of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and Affiliated Societies (ASCAP).2 Fernande Decruck later rejoined her husband in Paris in 1933. When Fernande returned to France, she began teaching harmony at the Conservatoire de Toulouse. Between 1937 and 1942 she lived in Toulouse with her children apart from her husband in Paris. During this period she continued to teach, compose and perform. In 1942 she moved back to Paris and many of her works were premiered between 1943 and 1947 including her Sonata in C# minor.

Fernande and Maurice Decruck were divorced in 1950 after several years of separation. She died of a stroke on 6 August 1954.1

During her lifetime Decruck contributed numerous works to the clarinet repertory, included several extant reed trios, a piano-wind sextet, six clarinet duets, three solos for B-flat clarinet and piano, as well as a solo for contrabass clarinet and piano. In addition, records indicate she composed a clarinet concerto that is tragically lost at this time. A list of extant works can be found below, along with available recordings samples. A complete list of works for clarinet, including those that are lost, can be found at fernandedecruck.com.

Read the biography from which the above was excerpted on wikipedia.org, or, visit fernandedecruck.com for a more complete biography and catalogue of her life’s works.

Works for Clarinet

Cantilène | 1933
Clarinet and piano
Score and part may be made available upon request. Contact Matthew Aubin through his website


Recueillement | 1949
Clarinet and piano
Score and part may be made available upon request. Contact Matthew Aubin through his website


Elegie | 1931
Clarinet and piano
Score and part may be made available upon request. Contact Matthew Aubin through his website


Arioso | 1932
Contrabass clarinet and piano
Score and part may be made available upon request. Contact Matthew Aubin through his website



Chant Lyrique op. 69 | 1947-48
Clarinet, oboe, flute, bassoon, horn, piano (piano-wind sextet)
Publisher: Billaudot
Purchase link


Capriccio | 1933
Clarinet, oboe, bassoon (reed trio)
Score and part may be made available upon request. Contact Matthew Aubin through his website


Variations en trio sur l’air du P’tit Quinquin | 1935
Clarinet, oboe, bassoon (reed trio)
Score and part may be made available upon request. Contact Matthew Aubin through his website


Variations sur un air pyrénéen | 1945
Clarinet, oboe, bassoon (reed trio)
Score and part may be made available upon request. Contact Matthew Aubin through his website


Pavane | 1949
Clarinet, oboe, bassoon (reed trio)
Score and part may be made available upon request. Contact Matthew Aubin through his website


Trio Sonata (2e) | 1949
Clarinet, oboe, bassoon (reed trio)
Score and part may be made available upon request.


References
  1.  “Rediscovering Fernande Decruck’s Sonate en ut# pour saxophone alto (ou alto) et orchestre: A Performance Analysis”UNT Digital Library. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  2. List of Members of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and Affiliated Societies. United States. 1936. p. 28.
  3. NoMadMusic (1 March 2021). “CD booklet from the album “Saxophonie” by the Quatuor Ellipsos (NoMadMusic 2021)” (PDF). Nomadmusic.fr. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
Notes
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This page was last updated 3/12/2021

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