Georges Auric

b. 1899

French

Summary

Raised in Montpellier, French composer Georges Auric was born on February 15th 1899. Auric is often associated with the group of Parisian composers Les Six. He was a child prodigy, composing from the age of ten. In 1913, his parents moved to Paris, so that he could study at the conservatory there. Schmitt, Koechlin and Roussel all took a great interest in Auric’s work and very quickly, he was projected into the public eye. By the age of 15, Auric was an acquaintance of Stravinsky, Apollinaire, Cocteau, Radiguet, Braque and Picasso, often discussing sociology with Léon Bloy and theology with Jacques Maritain. He studied under Georges Caussade whilst at the conservatory and whilst there met future members of Les Six Honegger, Milhaud and Tailleferre. He was a very talented pianist and, after performing many of his works, it was through his piano playing that he became such a good friend of composer Eric Satie. 

Throughout his life he composed a large range of works, but in particular, he composed many ballets – around 15 in fact – and any film scores, seeing particular success with the film Moulin Rouge (dir. J. Huston, 1952). Auric’s early style was characterised by its brilliant and often aggressive sound, with many of his best works being described as having a ‘certain unpretentious charm’. His later output shows a certain expressionism and seriousness with his much later works evincing his interest in the avant garde in a brief flirtation with serialism. He is a source of much interest – although a significant public figure, Auric was a very private and secretive person, about whom very little is actually known. There is not even a complete list of his works. In the words of Jeremy Drake, ‘though he is most at ease in stage and film music, Auric has a delicate sense of poetry that comes out particularly in his songs and instrumental slow movements’. He died on July 23rd 1983, having established himself as a significant force within twentieth century French music.

Photos