Canadian composer Conrad Letendre (190477) was born at Saint-Zéphrin-de-Courval in Québec. Afflicted with blindness from an early age, Letendre overcame this challenge to become one of Canada's greatest organ virtuosi. A pupil at the Institut Nazareth, Letendre possessed a keenly inquisitive mind with a capacity for in-depth scientific inquiry. An unexcelled master of harmony, Letendre established an important school for organists where his insightful instruction and method books laid the foundation for the careers of some of Québec's most brilliant performers and composers. The great organ at the Church of Saint-Fréderic de Drummondville is largely the result of his inspiration.
As the eminent composer and organist Raymond Daveluy observes in Pour l'amour de la musique: les Mélodistes indépendants (see Delian Society Resources page), "He deplored the fact that since the time it was founded our conservatory here in Québec was mired in the obsolete concepts being taught at the Paris Conservatory, and that harmony and counterpoint were being treated like a sort of dead language, a sort of purgatory through which one had to pass without really knowing why, in order to become a composer. . . It was as if the fact of having learned Latin and Greek gave one the licence to write incoherent words, formless poems, and absurd speeches." [Trans. J. D. Ford]
Letendre's exponents credit him with having arrived at "the first truly coherent and comprehensive view of harmony:"
Among Letendre's many works for organ may be cited the Suite Orbis factor and the Suite Alma Pater. These and others of his compositions have been masterfully recorded by his pupils, Lucienne L'Heureux-Arel and Gaston Arel (see Delian Society resources page).
For further information:
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