Guillaume Costeley (1530-1606)
Clément Philibert Léo Delibes was born on February 21, 1836 in Saint-Germain du Val (Sarthe). His father, a postman, died when he was only eleven years old. His mother, Élisabeth Batiste, belongs to a family of musicians. When her husband died, she moved to Paris. His mother and her half-brother Antoine-Édouard Batiste (1820-1876), organist at the Saint-Nicolas-des-Champs church in Paris, who taught him music.
Being an excellent singer, the young Leo entered the Conservatoire de Paris at the age of twelve, where he obtained a first music theory prize in two years. He also studied piano, organ and composition there, under the direction of François Benoît (1794-1878), Adolphe Adam (1803-1856) and François Bazin (1816-1878).
From 1853, he was organist at Saint-Pierre de Chaillot and coach-accompanist at the Théâtre-Lyrique (destroyed in 1860 by Hausmann to establish Place de la République). He, then, met Jules Verne, himself the author of opera-comic librettos, who was its secretary until 1855.
Léo Delibes begins to write for the stage. His first opera-buffa "Deux sous de charbon" was created in 1856 and was regularly performed until 1870. During this period, he composed around fifteen works, including the Omelette à la Follembûche (1859) in a libretto Eugène Labiche and Marc Michel, the Musicians of the Orchestra (1861), The court of king Pétaud (1869). In 1865, he became second choir director of the Paris Opera and was asked to write ballet music. La source (1866), Coppélia (1870), Sylvia (1876) gave him fame. His music was then applauded as much in concert halls as in theaters.
Léo Delibes left his duties as organist and choirmaster in 1871 to devote himself entirely to composition. Professor of composition at the Conservatoire de Paris from 1881, after Napoleon-Henri Reber (1807-1880), it is with Lakmé, opera in three acts according to a short story by Pierre Loti, premiered on April 14, 1883, that it reaches an international audience never denied today. The air des clochettes remains an essential partition of the program of the colorature sopranos and the duo des fleurs (for soprano and mezzo) is regularly performed in concert.
The music of Léo Delibes with great melodic and harmonic fluidity is often considered easy to approach. Having never sought to be a "revolutionary", the composer reflects the Parisian musical life of his time, light and elegant.
Léo Delibes died on January 16, 1891 in Paris, leaving the Kassya opera unfinished, completed and orchestrated by Jules Massenet (1842-1912) and premiered two years later at the Opéra-Comique de Paris. He is buried in the Montmartre cemetery, in the same section as Jacques Offenbach, Louis Niedermeyer and Théodore Dubois.
Considered a European musician by the many trips he made throughout his career, Josquin des Prés was born around 1440 in Beaurevoir in Picardy.
He received his first music lessons at the masters of the Collegiate Church of Saint-Quentin, a major musical center at the time, and began his career as a singer at the Chapel of the Dome in Milan. In 1473 (or 1474), Josquin entered the service of Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza in Milan as biscantor (singer using "his two voices", chest and falsetto).
He writes a Music Book for the prince’s chapel, one of the most important in Europe. He was then found in the service of Cardinal Ascanio Sforza, brother of the Duke, whom he accompanied to Rome. He won the pseudonym "Josquin d'Ascanio". The cardinal introduces the musician to the court of the pope. From 1486 to 1494, Josquin was a singer and composer in the Sistine Chapel under the pontificates of Innocent VIII and Alexander VI Borgia. He accompanied Cardinal Sforza during his travels in the various courts of Italy and until Nancy (1493). He then returned to Milan and to France around 1499 in the service of King Louis XII, perhaps as chapel master at court.
From this period are the instrumental fanfare Vive le roy (1500), the motet Memor esto verbi tui, the song Adieu mes amours, and Ludovici Regis Franciae iocosa cantio, with voice called "vox regis".
At the beginning of 1503, Josquin became "maestro della capella" of the Duke of Ferrara Hercule I of Este who sent him to Bruges to recruit singers and musicians. With the Duke's approval, he accompanied Philippe le Beau (born in Bruges) to Spain, who had inherited the crown of Castile. Returning to Ferrara in 1505, Josquin fled the city and an epidemic of plague to return to his region of origin of Condé-sur-Escaut near Valenciennes. Emperor Maximilian 1st appoints him canon and provost of the Notre-Dame de Condé collegiate church, which he led until the end of his life.
Josquin des Prés died in Condé-sur-Escaut in Hainaut, in 1521 or 1524 (around 76 years old). He is buried in the Notre-Dame de Condé collegiate church (destroyed).
Josquin des Prés, a composer with multiple talents and great fruitfulness, with almost 400 works attributed to him. He impressed Palestrina and Roland de Lassus. His music was widely distributed thanks to the musical printing press invented in 1501 by the Venetian Ottavio Petrucci
In the works of the Milan era, the influence of the cantus firmus of Guillaume Dufay (1400-1474) and Jean Ockenghem (1420-1497) is evident. While the motets and songs from the more melodious period of Rome and Ferrara evolve towards a simpler polyphony which gives more importance to the text.
© Didier Chagnas
Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848), the fifth son of a poor Bergamo family, was one of three great Italian romantic composers of the 19th century, with Rossini, Bellini and Verdi. Donizetti is best known for his operas and his masterpiece "Lucia di Lamermoor", but his work covers all genres and takes all forms: 71 operas but also symphonies, quartets, quintets, 28 cantatas and many compositions nuns (including a "Requiem" in 1835, on the death of Bellini) without counting the numerous pieces of chamber music and other "living room pieces".
After his marriage to Virginia Vasselli in 1828, Donizetti moved to Naples, capital city of the kingdom of the Two Sicilies, where he was musical director of the conservatory then of the royal theaters from 1828 to 1838. With the death of Bellini at 34 ( 1835), and the withdrawal of Rossini (Guillaume Tell, 1829), Donizetti, is the undisputed master of the Italian scene. He goes to Paris at the invitation of Rossini. He discovered the composers Meyerbeer and Halévy and the "grand opéra" à la française.
Back to Naples, he won a triumph there in 1835 with "Lucia di Lammermoor", composed in six weeks according to the legend, based on a novel by Walter Scott. The following years are particularly fatal. Death takes away his parents and children, his daughter, followed by his wife, victim of a cholera epidemic (1837). Depressed, he stopped teaching and left Naples for Paris.
Despite Berlioz's criticisms of him, the "music capital" has a triumph in store for him. The French version of "Lucie de Lamermoor" was premiered in 1839 at the Théâtre de la Renaissance. Donizetti then composed a series of operas on French librettos: "La fille du regiment" (1840), "La favorite" (1840), L "inda de Chamounix" (1842), "Don Pasquale" (1843).
In 1842, Emperor Ferdinand of Austria appointed him master of chapel at the court of Vienna, ("hofkapellmeister", as in the past Mozart). Donizetti then shares his time between Paris, the main Italian cities and Vienna.
But the first attacks of the disease are felt. He can no longer walk, loses speech. Returning to Paris in 1846, he was interned at the Ivry asylum and then transferred to Bergamo where he spent his last months sinking into madness. He died on April 8, 1848, in full glory. •
© Didier Chagnas
Composer born in 1610 in Belgium, near Hasselt, in Limburg (his birth name is Thiers, which means Mont), Henry Dumont received his musical education in Maastricht (Holland), including the organ. After a stay in Liège, in 1638 he became organist at the Saint-Paul church in Paris (under the name of Henry Dumont, or according to the publications of some of his works Du Mont).
Harpsichordist at the court of the Duke of Anjou, brother of Louis XIV, from 1652, he entered the service of the Queen in 1660 and in 1663 became one of the four sub-masters of the Royal Chapel (with Pierre Robert, Thomas Gobert and Gabriel Expilly). He died in Paris in 1684.
His compositions, mainly religious, include motets with 2 and 4 voices in French (paraphrase of the psalms of Antoine Godeau, bishop of Vence and Grasse) and in Latin, grands motets for choir, soloists and instruments and five "messes royales".
Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924), composer, pianist, organist