Helga Schauerte-Maubouet’s book, Jehan ALAIN, To Die at the Age of Thirty, presents this composer’s life and works according to unpublished primary source materials, letters and personal accounts. Based on various analyses, this book offers deep reflections concerning the personality, the works and the posterity of Jehan Alain (1911-1940). Enriched with numerous illustrations, a catalog of his works and manuscripts, as well as his biography, they are all scrupulously presented with great respect to the composer’s intentions. In 1991, Olivier Messiaen already recognized that Helga Schauerte-Maubouet’s book provides us with valuable information about Jehan Alain’s life and work.
In less than ten years, Jehan Alain managed to compose works whose density and specificity have always struck me as remarkable. Many of his pieces reflect an inner life of rare depth and clearly develop numerous elements that were adopted by post-war composers: in particular, a tendency to highlighting tonal colors (in certain organ pieces and their registrations) and a personal conception of structuring musical time, which deviates from the criteria of rational metrics.
Henri Dutilleux, June, 1980