(Marie) August Durand (1830–1909) began his career as an organist, studying in his native Paris under François Benoist and holding various posts at successive churches in the city. He also occupied himself with musical criticism and composition. In 1870 he acquired with Schönewerk the music-publishing business of Flaxland. Durand & Schönewerk, then Durand & Fils (1891) and succeeded by Durand & Cie, made a speciality of publishing the works of the most important French composers, including Chausson, Debussy, Ravel and Saint-Saëns. Durand could hardly claim to number himself among this illustrious company, but all of his music found a ready publisher, including his glittering Waltz No 1 in E flat, a great favourite for many years. It is known as Durand’s Première valse
—there are five others, all of them completely unknown—and is gratifyingly effective to play … until the fast repeated notes and consecutive fourths on the last page give rise to a maddening finger jam.
from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2003