By Pierrette Germain
from an article of the monthly review « Léducation
musicale », february 2002
idealistic, reflective, ardent..., these terms may be appropriate
to describe the personality of the composer Edith Lejet. They allow
a good understanding of her thoughts, led by the need of finding
her genuine expression, through a demanding inner research.
The awareness of her vocation prompts her to transmit her intuitions
faithfully : « I am deeply convinced, she says, that the authentic
works of art pre-exist, and are totally beyond the artists
will ; the creator in art must remain humble, since his part
consists in bringing to light some obscure forces, which are universal
although they reflect a specific time and place.
Giving birth to a work of art requires a careful, voluntary and
patient unveiling of these « obscure forces ». They
appear through the urgent need of creating and burst into the impulse
which gears up the composer towards the unwritten page.
did Edith Lejet become a composer ?
At first the blank page was drawing paper, and thanks to the inducement
of her school teacher of plastic arts, who introduced her to modernism,
she had a great temptation to become a painter. However she was
obviously more gifted for playing the piano. So she carried on her
school education to get the Baccalauréat, and in order to
respond to her fathers wish, she prepared herself for the
profession which was the most adapted to her aptitudes : teaching
music in lycées.
She passed the examination to enter the official teachertraining-center
of Lycée La Fontaine, and the same year she was admitted
as a student of Harmony and Aesthetics at the Paris Conservatory.
It was there she attended later the course of Composition.
She got her degrees for teaching music, and taught for a few years.
Meanwhile she was a laureate of the « Prix de Rome »,
of the « Casa de Velazquez », and in 1972, aged 31,
she was appointed to a post of Professor of Theory at the Paris
class of André Jolivet, 1968
had she already composed ?
Several of her works had already been publicly performed at that
time. One of them at the Festival of Aix-en-Provence, others by
radio, such as « Monodrame » for violin and orchestra
(1969) and « Le Journal dAnne Frank » for female
choirs and a small group of instrumentalists. In an intense musical
thought the evolution of the tragedy is evoked, from childish unconcern
to final peace.
Recorded in 1970 at Radio-France, it was recently given in a concert
in Douai (March 2001), as arranged by the local Conservatory, with
the participation of the local primary schools and lycées,
and the regional choir.
The choice of dealing with this subject tallies with the intimate
orientation she likes to give to her output, with a deep human message
: « I find my genealogy, she says, where the music appeals
to emotions. I feel rather strange to intellectual and speculative
research. I put high value on spontaneity and intuition, which generate
Maurice Ravel's house at Montfort l'Amaury with Charles Chaynes
and Manuel Rosenthal.
are her roots and affinities ?
She acknoledges a filiation which dates back to Debussy, whose modal
scales « leading to unusual chords » attract
her. While Debussy escapes from the so called functional harmony,
and makes use of material which « induces him to question
the main basic notions of rhythm and shape », she finds
confirmation of her own truths.
She is very fond of the music of Ravel, the perfection of which
she fully enjoys, and she speaks highly of Dutilleux and Ohana,
who provided her with invaluable guidance and inspiration. The wonder
and comfort she experienced in the contemplation of works of art
-[music as well as architecture, sculpture, painting or literature]-
shaped her faith in the high value of Art.
The uncompromising conviction that it must raise itself towards
high ideals feeds her mind and helps her in the wish of playing
a part to enrich the cultural heritage of our time.
These viewpoints and aims are clearly reflected in the style of
her music, characterized by firmness, concision and an original
application of musical rules in composition. Her mastery of counterpoint,
her harmonic acuteness and her modal imagination found the specificity
of her language. For each of her scores, the quality of colouring
and the appropriateness of proportions may be listed among her main