Pierre Vellones (1889-1939)

Here is a fascinating 1993 documentary on composer Pierre Vellones (1889-1939), one of Maurice Martenot's early collaborators, and among the first to compose works for the ondes Martenot. Of particular interest to me was the section beginning at 16:00, which features an interview with Ginette Martenot, as well as excerpts from several works for Ondes Martenot.

Vellones composed the following works for ondes:

  • "Fantaisie" for ondes and piano (1930 - unpublished), performed in the above film by Jean-Philippe Dartois and Sophie Cieren; the second known work for ondes and the first written by a French composer according to Jean Laurendeau’s biography of Maurice Martenot.

  • “Split” and "Vitamines" for ondes and ensemble (1935 - ed. Salabert), composed for ondes, saxophone quartet, two flutes, contrabass and percussion battery including celesta and vibraphone; both were recorded for Columbia Records in 1935 under the title “Two Pieces for Columbia”, featuring Maurice Martenot on ondes. Both were also scored in piano conductor reductions by the composer.

  • “À Cadix” (score dated 28 May 1938), a pasodoble for two ondes Martenot, 3 saxophones, trumpet, contrabass, piano, harp and percussion battery. Also scored in piano conductor reduction.

  • "Karakoram" (1935 - unpublished) for 7 ondes Martenot, piano and eastern ensemble, written to accompany the film of the same name.

  • "Fête Fantastique" (1936 - unpublished?) for three ondes and large exotic ensemble, written to accompany firework and waterwork displays along the Seine during the International Expo of 1937.

  • "Une aveture de Babar" (1936 - ed. Lemoine, available as a recording)

The Fantaisie and Fête Fantastique are of considerable historical importance.

Charlie Draper