Book Title: The Diaries and Selected Letters of Jeanne Demessieux

Author: Lynn Cavanagh

Book Description: For the diaries and selected letters of French organist-composer Jeanne Demessieux (1921-1968), this publication provides French-to-English translations with annotations. Accompanying chapters introduce the context in which the diaries and letters were written or comment on their content.

Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike


Book Information

Book Description

This publication presents the diaries and selected letters of French organist-composer Jeanne Demessieux (1921-1968) in English translation. These fall into three sections. The earliest letters and diary, spanning 1932 to 1940, were written by the teenage Demessieux during her first eight years of study in Paris, mainly at the Paris Conservatory. They concern her tribulations and successes as a student of piano, composition, and organ. The second diary, with related letters, spans 1940 to 1946. The opening of the diary concerns Demessieux’s last semester of study at the Paris Conservatory; the bulk of the diary describes Demessieux’s collaboration, as organist and composer, with Marcel Dupré, and quotes from lengthy conversations she had with him. The third section consists of letters and travel diaries from Demessieux’s 1950s North American recital tours, and is a revealing glimpse of the trials of being a touring organist in a country very different from the European countries in which she ordinarily toured.

Interspersed with the translations are chapters of introduction and commentary. The chapters introducing each translation describe the biographical, historical, and musical contexts of its content. The chapter following each translation comments on the subject matter, reading between the lines to demonstrate how the written words provide clues to more than first meets the eye.

The translations are annotated with notes. These explain obscure or incomplete references, provide background information, and mention when statements made can either be confirmed by other sources, or appear to be in error. In the translations spanning 1932 to 1940 and 1940 to 1946, names of historical figures mentioned are linked to short biographical notes.


Lynn Cavanagh



Diaries, letters and journals


The Diaries and Selected Letters of Jeanne Demessieux
Lynn Cavanagh
Stacey Brown and Lynn Cavanagh
Primary Subject
Diaries, letters and journals
Additional Subject(s)
History of music
University of Regina
Lynn Cavanagh
Ebook ISBN