Cavalry Museum
  • Home
  • News
  • Jehan Alain, musician, composer and comrade in arms of the Cadets de Saumur

Jehan Alain, musician, composer and comrade in arms of the Cadets de Saumur

20/06/2021 jusqu'au 30/12/2021

Posted on 20 June 2021, in News

Jehan Alain, musician, composer and comrade in arms of the Cadets de Saumur

From June 20 to December 30, 2021, the Cavalry Museum is hosting the exhibition "Jehan Alain, musician, composer and comrade-in-arms of the Cadets of Saumur". Called up in 1939, he fell in combat at the age of 29, with the Cadets de Saumur. His work met with posthumous success, especially outside France. The exhibition is the creation of the German-born organist Helga Schauerte-Maubouet, whose life was marked by her encounter with Jehan Alain.

Organist, composer, fighter: Jehan Alain

Eldest son of a composer, organist and organ builder, Jehan Alain launched into music from his childhood. He showed himself capable of accompanying Mass on the organ from the age of 11. The Conservatory will welcome him from his 16th to his 28th birthday. Church organist, he also gives piano and organ lessons. It was not until 1939, a few months before his mobilization, that he finally received a reward worthy of his talent: the first organ prize.

Deployed in Belgium in 1940, he served as a motorcycle courier to transmit orders and information. Trapped with the French troops, he embarked at Dunkirk. His war continues within the Franc Group Captain of Neuch├Ęze, whose 220 men are sent to support the students of the Cavalry School to defend the bridges over the Loire between Gennes and Montsoreau. Always a courier, Jehan distinguished himself by his courage. On June 20, 1940, while volunteering for a reconnaissance mission, he was surrounded by an enemy combat group. After having fought until the end, he was killed in a garden, at Petit Puy, the year of his 29th birthday.

Little known to the general French public, his work will have posthumous success, especially in the United States where he was one of the most performed organ composers in the 1970s. The city of Saumur has paid tribute to him on several occasions, notably by giving its name to a street in the Hauts Quartiers.

An exhibition to discover a fascinating artist

The exhibition proposes to discover the life course of the musician, who also sought artistic expression in drawing and poetry, by mixing personal objects, such as the wallet he was carrying at the time of his death, and reproductions of documents . Thus appear reproductions of drawings, letters and scores.

Jehan Alain's combat comrades are also present, through multiple objects and a sidecar of the time, an evocation of Jehan Alain's role as dispatch rider in 1939-1940.

This exhibition is a realization of an organist of German origin, Helga Schauerte-Maubouet, passionate about Jehan Alain. She dedicated a book to him, Jehan Alain, Dying at 30, the fruit of many years of research.