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    • Edmond AUDRAN (1842 - 1901) is a French composer, born in Lyon on April 11, 1842. Son of a famous musician of the time (the tenor Marius Audran), he entered the Niedermeyer School (in Paris) in order to become a chapel master and encountered, among others, André Messager and Camille Saint-Saëns. In 1861, he joined Marseille and began working as an organist and then chapel master at the Saint Joseph church.
    • Edmond AUDRAN  composed his first scores: motets, masses, romances, operettas (including Le Grand Mogol with which he became popular) but also songs in Provençal dialect. He then returned to Paris and imposed himself as one of the main successors of Jacques Offenbach in the style of opera-buffa.
    • His numerous works (the best known of which are Les Noces d'Olivette, La Poupée, La Cigale et la Fourmi and especially La Mascotte) are successfully performed in operetta theaters all over France but also in England.
    • Edmond Audran died on August 17, 1901 in Tierceville (Seine-et-Oise).
    • Born around 1504, of Flemish origin, little is known about the youth of Jacques Arcadelt. He lives in Namur in the Burgundian Netherlands, where he receives a French education. He is probably a pupil of Josquin des Près, most certainly of Philippe Verdelot at the court of the Medici.
    • His presence in Florence is attested as a composer of madrigals in the service of Duke Alexandre de Medici in 1534-1535. He left this city after the assassination of the Duke in 1537. In Florence, he seems to have been the employee of Roberto Pucci, Gonfalonnier- head of government, close to the Medici, who alternates stays in Rome and Florence. The prelate settled in Rome after having been elected bishop and then created cardinal by Pope Paul III in 1547. Arcadelt was present in Rome from 1538 where he participated in the marriage of Margaret of Austria, widow of Duke Alexander, and Octavian Farnese, celebrated in the Sistine Chapel in the presence of Pope Paul III, Octavian's grandfather.
    • Four madrigal books with 4 voices appear in Venice at the publisher Antoine Gardane, between 1539 and 1544. He is introduced as "the most excellent and divine Arcadelt". The collections of 250 madrigals, quickly reissued, make him His style is described as “simple, elegant, never too complex.” Arcadelt greatly contributes to defining and then developing the Madrigal, this new genre which succeeds frotella, a type of profane song, popular in Italy until late 15th century.
    • He notably composed in 1539, Il bianco e dolce cigno, an Italian polyphonic madrigal on a poem by Count Alfonso d'Avalos / Guidiccioni? (The sweet white swan dies while singing, while the sobbing poet arrives at the end of his days). He earned the nickname "Arcadelt the sweet white swan".
    • In 1540, he was appointed chapel master at the Sistine Chapel during the reign of Paul III. The pope grants him the benefit of the prebend of two Liège collegiate churches, Saint-Barthélémy and Saint-Pierre de Liège.
    • Arcadelt left definitively for France in 1552 and became chapel master of Cardinal Charles of Lorraine who, with his brother François de Guise, governed France (reign of François II Valois, 1559). He stood out by composing, in addition to religious music, no less than 126 French songs. Strongly inspired by its origins, these publications can be considered as the first songs in the form of strophic tunes.
    • A book published by Pierre Attaingnant mentions him as the King's musician (master of the chamber of King Henry II). At that time, he met the poet of the Pléiade Rémy Belleau (1528-1577) who lived at the Hôtel de Guise. •
    • Like many Renaissance composers, Arcadelt composes as well on Italian poems (Petrarch, Boccaccio, Michelangelo), French (Ronsard, du Bellay, Magny, de Baïf, Mellin de Saint-Gelais (Let color verde, 1561) than Latin (Virgil and Horace), modernizing the latter with the help of elegant popular expressions.
    • He harmonized six Psalms of David (1559), on the melodies of the Huguenot psalter by Clément Marot (despite this contribution, Arcadelt does not seem to have been sensitive to the ideas of the reform). Among the works also received today, we can still cite two masses with four and five voices, the first, Missa Ave Regina caelorum on the motet of Andreas de Silva, the second on the motet of Jean Mouton Noë, Noë, Psallite, Noë.
    • Jacques Arcadelt died on October 14, 1568 in Paris. He remains immortalized by Rabelais in the prologue to Gargantua and Pantagruel's Quart livre (1548), quoted prominently between Clément Janequin and Claudin de Sermisy (in a chorus of bawdy songs). 
    • © Didier Chagnas

    Pierre ATTAIGNANT or ATTAINGNANT (1494? -1552?) is a famous Parisian publisher established rue de la Harpe in Paris (today Saint Germain des Prés district), "near the Saint-Côme church", as he said - even in his collections.

    Pierre Attaignant published in the first half of the 16th century, several collections of songs and tunes by various known or anonymous composers, such as Claudin de Sermisy and Clément Janequin and poems (among others) by Clément Marot. He also publishes instrumental collections.

    • Filippo Azzaiolo, a 16th-century Italian composer and singer born in Bologna in northern Italy, is known as (one of the greatest) villotta composers. 
    • The "villotta", polyphonic song of simple form mainly for four voices, appeared in Frioul in the middle of the 15th century. Villottas resumed the origin of dance music with a lively rhythm. Composed in the regional street dialect, on texts of popular inspiration and often hedonistic, they spread quickly in Veneto and throughout northern Italy.
    • Three Azzaiolo villottas books were published in Venice by Antonio Gardano. The collection entitled "Villotte del fiore" alla padovana brings together villottas d'Azzaiolo and compositions by other authors, notably "Seven Napoletane with four voices". The first two books (1557 and 1559) are anonymous, only the third is published under the name of Azzaiolo in 1569.

    • The "villotte del flori" pleased by their ease and their dancing character. This musical form played an important role in the evolution of secular vocal music of the Renaissance and heralds the madrigal.
    • The music of Filippo Azzaiolo has gone far beyond the borders of his country. The villotta "Chi passa per 'sta strada" for voice, lutes and violins has been adapted by many composers including William Byrd.
    • © Didier Chagnas

    Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750)

    • German composer from the Baroque period, he worked as a composer, chapel master, organist in different cities, having often difficulties in recognizing his talent and in suitable working conditions. Although he did not travel outside his country, but was always interested in music from other European countries (Italy, France, Austria, etc.).
    • Remarkable improviser, decipherer and passionate transcriber with an exceptional memory, Johann-Sébastian Bach is recognized as an excellent musician (organ, harpsichord, viola) but also, as an expert in instrumental organ making.
    • Bach approached and assimilated all styles of compositions, except Opera: Concerto, Religious and secular cantatas, Oratorios, Pieces for organ, violin, cello, flute, harpsichord, etc. The richness of his catalog is due to his tremendous creative capacity and the professional obligations he had (especially in Leipzig). He died blind and isolated, only few of his musics having been published in his time.
    • Johann-Sébastian Bach remains one of the pillars of the History of Western Music.
    • © Didier Chagnas

    Adriano BANCHIERI (1567 - 1634), initially named Tomaso before entering orders, is an Olivet monk from Bologna. • This Italian composer and organist rubbed shoulders with many great composers of the time such as Claudio Monteverdi, Girolamo Frescobaldi and even Orazio Vecchi. He quickly became noticed by his aptitudes as a musician but also as a theoretician and his numerous works (Cartella musicale, Conclusioni del suono dell'organo) made him largely posterity.

    Banchieri is also one of the first composers to explain the figured bass notation, to use nuances in his scores or even to use barlines as we know them today.

    His musical compositions cover many genres: masses, motets, dramatic compositions, madrigals, canzone ... As a poet (under the name of Camillo Scaglieri), he is the author of several madrigalesque comedies on comic themes based on life of yesteryear. Adriano Banchieri died in his hometown in the year 1634.

  • BARRE (MICHEL de la)
    • French instrumentalist and composer and more particularly parisian, Michel DE LA BARRE (1675-1745) is considered as the founder of the French school of flute, as much by his talent as a virtuoso as by his numerous compositions.
    • Musician at the orchestra of the Royal Academy of Music, he was named in 1703 "Oboe and Musette de Poitou de la Chambre et de la Grande Écurie du Roy" at Versailles, the heart of baroque music in France.
    • Michel de la Barre dies at an advanced age leaving an important work including many collections of music for the flute (in duet or trio) but also an opera-ballet in 5 acts “the Triumph of the Arts”, a comedy-Ballet in 3 acts "la Vénitienne" and a 2-part book of Airs à Drinking (1724), from which the scores published here are extracted.
    • © Didier Chagnas
  • BEETHOVEN (Ludwig VAN)
    • Jacques Berthier (1923 - 1994) is a French composer and organist, a major contributor to liturgical music of the 20th century. Son of the composer Paul Berthier (1884 - 1953), organist in Auxerre and founder of the Manécanterie des Petits Chanteurs à la Croix de Bois, he carried out his musical training in particular with Guy de Lioncourt at the César Franck school in Paris.
    • Organist at the cathedral of Auxerre (Burgundy) then from 1961 in Paris at Saint-Ignace church, Jacques Berthier is the author of numerous profane and religious works (more than 1500 music) and is known worldwide for his collaboration (from 1955) with the community of Taizé. For it, he will write pieces for his offices, then a number of canons, litanies, verses (in multiple languages) for the international gatherings of young people organized by Taizé. Jacques Berthier has also brought to music texts by contemporary poets such as Patrice de la Tour du Pin or Didier Rimaud.
    • His music is now broadcast all over the world, recorded or published. Jacques Berthier is also recognized for his formidable qualities as an organ improviser.
  • BERTRAND (Antoine de)

    Georges Bizet (1838 - 1875)

    • This French composer, who died suddenly too soon, wrote pages that are among the most played in the world. Even if the opera Carmen (1875) is immediately associated with its name, it does not make us forget the continuation of the Arlesian (1872), the Fishermen of Pearls (1863) and its Te Deum (1858).
    • A remarkable pianist, an outstanding decipherer, he won the first Prix de Rome in 1857 and spent three years at the Villa Medici in Italy. Georges Bizet wanted to "put the Mediterranean" in his music to "take leave of the humid North and Wagnerian mists" (F. Nietzsche).

    Joseph Bodin de Boismortier (1689- 1755)

    • Joseph Bodin de Boismortier, baroque composer (instrumental and vocal music, cantatas, ballet operas), was one of the first desiring to live from his music without having recourse to a patron.
    • Indeed, once obtained the royal privilege to publish and sell his works to the public (1738-1750), the breadth and success of his compositions (one hundred and thirty volumes listed) enabled him to live in comfort, without as much to occupy an official position (court, chapel).
    • It was in 1700 that the Bodin dit de Boismortier family left Thionville to settle in Metz. Joseph, aged about ten, received musical instruction there from Joseph Valette de Montigny (1665-1738), a composer famous for his motets, who taught him song and flute.
    • In 1713, Boismortier followed his master to Perpignan and obtained the post of receiver of the Régie Royale des Tabacs for the troops of Roussillon. In 1720 he married Marie Valette, daughter of a wealthy Catalan goldsmith and (distant) niece of his teacher. From 1724, Bodin de Boismortier, lived in Paris and began a career as a successful composer.
    • Much of his work is written for the flute. She contributed to the development and improvement of this instrument (her treatise Principles of the flute, 1740, is now lost). Other instruments are not forgotten either: bass sonatas, harpsichord suites, quartet sonatas, works for oboe and recorder, "trendy" instruments: bagpipe and viola, viola top….
    • Boismortier composed several operas for the Royal Academy of Music (including Les Voyages de l'Amour, opera ballet, 1736, Daphnis et Chloé, pastorale, 1747) and a few motets intended for the Concert Spirituel (including the grand motet, Fugit Nox, 1741). His compositions, much appreciated by the Parisian public, open the doors of the most famous salons and fortune.
    • Joseph Bodin de Boismortier died in 1755 in his residence at La Gâtinellerie, in Roissy-en-Brie.
    • © Didier Chagnas

    • Born May 7, 1833 in the depths of Hamburg, Johannes Brahms comes from a poor family. His father Jakob, an itinerant musician, was a horn player in municipal music, then a double bassist at the orchestra of the Little Theater in Hamburg. He gives his son piano lessons. His master transmitted to him the cult of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven.  
    • From the age of 10 Johannes played the piano in the harbor taverns. At 14, he gave his first solo piano concerts in public and played his own compositions. Having the experience of choir conducting, he began composing Lieder. Throughout his life, he wrote nearly two hundred (their particularity: importance of the piano part that the voice seems to accompany)
    • In 1853, at the age of 20, Brahms undertook a concert tour in Germany. He met the Hungarian violinist Joseph Joachim in Hanover with whom he became friends (despite the quarrels and jealousy). In Weimar, his contacts with Liszt, leader of the "new German school" are not conclusive. On the other hand, in Düsseldorf, he met Robert Schuman and his wife Clara, who warmly encouraged him. On the death of Robert Schuman (1856) Brahms renounces marrying Clara and leaves Düsseldorf. Her friendship with Clara will last until her death.  
    • Between 1857 and 1859, Brahms was appointed choirmaster at Detmold (chapel master at the court of the prince of Lippe-Detmold) and taught to princesses. From this period date a series of vocal and instrumental pieces including the Serenades 0p.11 and 16, as well as many lieder.  From 1862 Vienna became the adopted homeland of Brahms. He holds the position of choirmaster at the ViennaSingakademie (Vienna Singing Academy). However, the following year, he gave up his post to devote himself to composition, but continued to give concerts.
    • In 1865, he began composing his German Requiem op.45 written in German in homage to his mother. The creation which he conducts in April 1868 in the cathedral of Bremen, obtains a considerable success.  In May 1896, the death of Clara Schumann upset him, when He had just finished three weeks earlier the composition of "Four serious songs" (Vier ernste Gesänge).
    • During the burial in the Old Cemetery of Bonn, after forty hours on the train, Brahms catches a flu which drives him to bed. He died of liver cancer on April 3, 1897, at the age of 63. Johannes Brahms is buried in the musicians' square of the Vienna Central Cemetery next to Beethoven and Schubert.
    • © Didier Chagnas

    About Julia Brainard, we know very little. American composer (some works are in the Library of Congress in Washington), she probably stayed in F :ance, in Paris, around 1870, where several of her scores were published.

    The music of Julia Brainard is of romantic inspiration, full of freshness and simplicity.

  • de BROSSARD (Sébastien)

    Sébastien de Brossard (1655-1730)

    • The French baroque composer Sébastien de Brossard comes from a Norman aristocratic family (he was born on September 12, 1655 in Dompierre in the Orne). Ordained priest in Caen, he moved to Paris and was appointed vicar in 1687 at the cathedral of Strasbourg.
    • His compositions are then signed: M. Br VP. E. MDC. D. L. C. D. STR (Monsieur Brossard Prébendé and Maître de Chapelle De La Cathedrale de Strasbourg). From 1698 he was chapel master at the Cathedral of Meaux, of which Bossuet (1627-1704) had been bishop since 1681. He died there on August 10, 1730.
    • Sébastien de Brossard composed motets (little and grands), cantatas and sonatas, as well as 6 collections of serious tunes to drink. Passionate collector, he brings together a unique set of partitions of great value and donates his library in 1724 to Louis the 15th (in return for a pension).
    • De Brossard is considered as a musicologist and music theorist. His Music dictionary, published in 1703, has been republished many times.