Emmanuel Chabrier (1841-1894)

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20151113

Donald focuses on Chabrier's final years, beset with illness yet productive.

The composer's final years were beset with illness and depression but this period saw the creation of several major works, including Chabrier's final opera, Briséïs - a work that he intended should be the last word in modernism. When Chabrier is invited to tea by the widow of his great musical hero, Richard Wagner, his manners and his music are not well recieved!

Chabrier must surely be one of the most likeable fellows to have graced this earth. It seems no-one had a bad word to say about him. His wide circle of friends included all the leading musicians, writers, poets and painters of the day. Chabrier owned a remarkable collection of impressionist paintings including several by Manet, who produced the best known portrait of the composer.

Emmanuel Chabrier's life slots into a fascinating point in French musical history. When he was born in 1841, Berlioz was already thirty-eight and famous, Saint-Saëns was six, while the rising stars of the future, Massenet and Fauré, were not yet born. Despite Wagner's dominance, and indeed Chabrier's own reverence for the German composer, Chabrier's music retains a staunchly Gallic individuality, with critics subsequently paying tribute to him as a "direct forerunner of the modern school." The reason for this may well relate, at least in part, to his studies. Chabrier was largely self-taught, and although he was better educated than most musical amateurs, he never followed the accepted route into the Paris Conservatoire or a similar institute. He trained first in law, only taking up full time composition in his thirties.

Habanera c. 1885

Orchestre de la Suisse Romande

Neeme Järvi, conductor

Ballade des gros dindons

Steven Varcoe, baritone

Graham Johnson, piano

Villanelle des petits canards

Les Cigales

Felicity Lott, soprano

Gwendoline, Overture to Act 1

Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra

Jean-Paul Penin, conductor

Briséïs: Excerpt from Act 1, Part IV

Simon Keenlyside , baritone (Le Catéchiste)

Michael George, bass (Stratoklès)

Joan Rodgers, soprano (Briséïs)

Kathryn Harries, mezzo soprano (Thanasto)

Chorus of Scottish Opera

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Jean Yves Ossonce, conductor

Air de ballet

Annie d'Arco, piano.

0120050926

The French composer Emmanuel Chabrier holds a unique position in musical history.

His ground-breaking harmonies were cited as formative influences on later composers such as Ravel, Debussy and Poulenc.

Although he was better educated than most amateurs, Chabrier was a largely self-taught musician and spent the first 18 years of his working life as a civil servant before switching to a career composing full time.

Espana

Vienna Philharmonic

John Eliot Gardiner (conductor)

Marion

S'en va-t-a l'ou

Felicity Lott (soprano)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Impromptu in C

Jean Casadesus (piano)

Lied

Stephen Varcoe (baritone)

Excerpts from Fisch-ton-Kan

Jean-Louis Georgel (baritone)

Mireille Delunsch (soprano)

Francis Dudziak (baritone)

Orchestra du Collegium Musicum de Strasbourg

Roger Delage (director)

L'invitation au voyage

Ursula Leveaux (bassoon)

Overture to Gwendoline

Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra

Jean-Paul Penin (conductor).

01The Bon Vivant20141229
01The Bon Vivant2014122920151109 (R3)

Donald Macleod traces Chabrier's roots from a childhood in Auvergne to the salons of Paris

Donald Macleod explores the engaging personality and music of Emmanuel Chabrier, a man whose reputation has come to rest on a handful of hits, yet whose originality is acknowledged by some of the leading voices of French music in the twentieth century, among them Debussy and Ravel.

Chabrier must surely be one of the most likeable fellows to have graced this earth. It seems no-one had a bad word to say about him. His wide circle of friends included all the leading musicians, writers, poets and painters of the day. Chabrier owned a remarkable collection of impressionist paintings including several by Manet, who produced the best known portrait of the composer.

Emmanuel Chabrier's life slots into a fascinating point in French musical history. When he was born in 1841, Berlioz was already thirty-eight and famous, Saint-Saëns was six, while the rising stars of the future, Massenet and Fauré, were not yet born. Despite Wagner's dominance, and indeed Chabrier's own reverence for the German composer, Chabrier's music retains a staunchly Gallic individuality, with critics subsequently paying tribute to him as a "direct forerunner of the modern school." The reason for this may well relate, at least in part, to his studies. Chabrier was largely self-taught, and although he was better educated than most musical amateurs, he never followed the accepted route into the Paris Conservatoire or a similar institute. He trained first in law, only taking up full time composition in his thirties.

In the first of the series, Donald Macleod traces Chabrier's roots from a childhood spent in provincial Auvergne to the salons of Paris, where his engaging personality charmed all the leading artists of the day, eventually leading to success with a sparkling confection for stage, l'Étoile.

Joyeuse marche

Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo

Hervé Niquet, conductor

Duo de la chartreuse vert (Act 3, l'Étoile)

Georges Gautier, tenor, Le roi Ouf

Gabriel Bacquier, bass, Siroco

Lyons Opera Orchestra

John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

Bourrée fantasque

Allan Schiller, piano

L'éducation manquée (excerpt)

Jean-Louis Georgel, baritone, Pausanias

Mireille Delunsch, soprano, Gontran

Brigitte Desnoues, soprano, Hélène

Orchestra du Collegium Musicum de Strasbourg

Roger Delage, director

Larghetto for horn and orchestra

Pierre Del Vescovo, horn

Capitole Toulouse Orchestra

Michel Plasson, conductor

L'Étoile (Act 1, excerpt)

O petite étoile....Je suis Lazuli!

Colette Alliot-Lugaz, soprano, Lazuli,

Magali Damonte, mezzo, Aloès

Ghislaine Raphanel, soprano, La Princesse Laoula

01The Bon Vivant20141229
01The Bon Vivant20141229

Donald Macleod explores the engaging personality and music of Emmanuel Chabrier, a man whose reputation has come to rest on a handful of hits, yet whose originality is acknowledged by some of the leading voices of French music in the twentieth century, among them Debussy and Ravel.

Chabrier must surely be one of the most likeable fellows to have graced this earth. It seems no-one had a bad word to say about him. His wide circle of friends included all the leading musicians, writers, poets and painters of the day. Chabrier owned a remarkable collection of impressionist paintings including several by Manet, who produced the best known portrait of the composer.

Emmanuel Chabrier's life slots into a fascinating point in French musical history. When he was born in 1841, Berlioz was already thirty-eight and famous, Saint-Saëns was six, while the rising stars of the future, Massenet and Fauré, were not yet born. Despite Wagner's dominance, and indeed Chabrier's own reverence for the German composer, Chabrier's music retains a staunchly Gallic individuality, with critics subsequently paying tribute to him as a "direct forerunner of the modern school." The reason for this may well relate, at least in part, to his studies. Chabrier was largely self-taught, and although he was better educated than most musical amateurs, he never followed the accepted route into the Paris Conservatoire or a similar institute. He trained first in law, only taking up full time composition in his thirties.

In the first of the series, Donald Macleod traces Chabrier's roots from a childhood spent in provincial Auvergne to the salons of Paris, where his engaging personality charmed all the leading artists of the day, eventually leading to success with a sparkling confection for stage, l'Étoile.

Joyeuse marche

Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo

Hervé Niquet, conductor

Duo de la chartreuse vert (Act 3, l'Étoile)

Georges Gautier, tenor, Le roi Ouf

Gabriel Bacquier, bass, Siroco

Lyons Opera Orchestra

John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

Bourrée fantasque

Allan Schiller, piano

L'éducation manquée (excerpt)

Jean-Louis Georgel, baritone, Pausanias

Mireille Delunsch, soprano, Gontran

Brigitte Desnoues, soprano, Hélène

Orchestra du Collegium Musicum de Strasbourg

Roger Delage, director

Larghetto for horn and orchestra

Pierre Del Vescovo, horn

Capitole Toulouse Orchestra

Michel Plasson, conductor

L'Étoile (Act 1, excerpt)

O petite étoile....Je suis Lazuli!

Colette Alliot-Lugaz, soprano, Lazuli,

Magali Damonte, mezzo, Aloès

Ghislaine Raphanel, soprano, La Princesse Laoula

022005092720051004

Chabrier finally threw in the towel and gave up his day job as a civil servant in 1880 to compose full time.

By then he was a well established and popular character in all the leading salons of the day.

Professionally, too, his reputation was beginning to grow.

With Donald Macleod.

Duo à la Chartreuse vert (L'Étoile)

Georges Gautier (tenor)

Gabriel Bacquier (baritone)

Lyon Opera Orchestra

John Eliot Gardiner (conductor)

Finale Act 3, L'Étoile

Ghyslaine Raphanel (soprano)

Colette Alliot-Lugaz (soprano)

Lyon Opera Orchestra and Chorus

Trois Valses romantiques for two piano

Kathryn Stott and Elizabeth Burley

Pièces pittoresques - Suite Pastorale

Vienna Philharmonic

Faisons-nous petits, from Une ducation manque

Liliane Berton (soprano)

Jane Berbie (mezzo soprano)

Orchestre de la Societe des Concerts du Conservatoire

Jean-Claude Hartman.

02The Civil Servant20141230
02The Civil Servant2014123020151110 (R3)

Donald Macleod focuses on how Wagner's music inspired Chabrier's opera Gwendoline.

Emmanuel Chabrier's 'road to Damascus' encounter with Wagner inspires him to write a grand opera, Gwendoline.

Chabrier must surely be one of the most likeable fellows to have graced this earth. It seems no-one had a bad word to say about him. His wide circle of friends included all the leading musicians, writers, poets and painters of the day. Chabrier owned a remarkable collection of impressionist paintings including several by Manet, who produced the best known portrait of the composer.

Emmanuel Chabrier's life slots into a fascinating point in French musical history. When he was born in 1841, Berlioz was already thirty-eight and famous, Saint-Saëns was six, while the rising stars of the future, Massenet and Fauré, were not yet born. Despite Wagner's dominance, and indeed Chabrier's own reverence for the German composer, Chabrier's music retains a staunchly Gallic individuality, with critics subsequently paying tribute to him as a "direct forerunner of the modern school." The reason for this may well relate, at least in part, to his studies. Chabrier was largely self-taught, and although he was better educated than most musical amateurs, he never followed the accepted route into the Paris Conservatoire or a similar institute. He trained first in law, only taking up full time composition in his thirties.

Today Donald Macleod follows Chabrier to Germany, where hearing Wagner's Tristan und Isolde creates a profound impression. He finally decides to abandon his career as a civil servant in favour of becoming a full-time composer. For the next six years Chabrier toils over creating his own grand opera, Gwendoline.

Overture to l'Étoile

Lyons Opera Orchestra

John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

Impromptu

Kathryn Stott, piano

Lied

Stephen Varcoe, baritone

Graham Johnson, piano

Gwendoline (Act 2, excerpt)

Didier Henry, baritone, Harald

Adrian Kohútková, soprano, Gwendoline

Gérard Garino, tenor, Armel

Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus

Czech Philharmonic Chorus of Brno

Jean-Paul Penin, conductor

Pieces pittoresques, Nos 1, 2, 3 and 5 (Paysage; Mélancolie; Tourbillon, Mauresque, Menuet Pompeux)

02The Civil Servant20141230
02The Civil Servant20141230
02The Civil Servant20141230
02The Civil Servant20141230

Emmanuel Chabrier's 'road to Damascus' encounter with Wagner inspires him to write a grand opera, Gwendoline.

Chabrier must surely be one of the most likeable fellows to have graced this earth. It seems no-one had a bad word to say about him. His wide circle of friends included all the leading musicians, writers, poets and painters of the day. Chabrier owned a remarkable collection of impressionist paintings including several by Manet, who produced the best known portrait of the composer.

Emmanuel Chabrier's life slots into a fascinating point in French musical history. When he was born in 1841, Berlioz was already thirty-eight and famous, Saint-Saëns was six, while the rising stars of the future, Massenet and Fauré, were not yet born. Despite Wagner's dominance, and indeed Chabrier's own reverence for the German composer, Chabrier's music retains a staunchly Gallic individuality, with critics subsequently paying tribute to him as a "direct forerunner of the modern school." The reason for this may well relate, at least in part, to his studies. Chabrier was largely self-taught, and although he was better educated than most musical amateurs, he never followed the accepted route into the Paris Conservatoire or a similar institute. He trained first in law, only taking up full time composition in his thirties.

Today Donald Macleod follows Chabrier to Germany, where hearing Wagner's Tristan und Isolde creates a profound impression. He finally decides to abandon his career as a civil servant in favour of becoming a full-time composer. For the next six years Chabrier toils over creating his own grand opera, Gwendoline.

Overture to l'Étoile

Lyons Opera Orchestra

John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

Impromptu

Kathryn Stott, piano

Lied

Stephen Varcoe, baritone

Graham Johnson, piano

Gwendoline (Act 2, excerpt)

Didier Henry, baritone, Harald

Adrian Kohútková, soprano, Gwendoline

Gérard Garino, tenor, Armel

Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus

Czech Philharmonic Chorus of Brno

Jean-Paul Penin, conductor

Pieces pittoresques, Nos 1, 2, 3 and 5 (Paysage; Mélancolie; Tourbillon, Mauresque, Menuet Pompeux)

032005092820051005

Emmanuel Chabrier (1841-1894)

3/5.

In Emmanuel Chabrier's time, Wagnerism was a national epidemic in France.

A trip to Munich in 1879 with his friend Henri Duparc famously reduced Chabrier to tears, so moved was he by the music he heard.

In his own estimation, Chabrier only adopted elements of Wagner's ideals and was able to keep a firm hold on his own compositional approach.

Donald Macleod considers Chabrier's assessment.

Galop from Souvenirs de Munich (Quadrille on favourite themes from Tristan and Isolde)

Pierre Barbizet, Jean Hubeau (4 hands piano)

Gwendoline - Air de Gwendoline and finale to Act 1

Adriana Kohútková (soprano)

Didier Henry (baritone)

Grard Garino (tenor)

Chorus and Orchestra of the Slovak Philharmonic

Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno

Jean-Paul Penin (director)

La Sulamite

Susan Mentzer (mezzo soprano)

Female voices from the Toulouse Midi Pyrenees Chorus

Toulouse Capitole Orchestra

Michel Plasson (conductor)

Je l'aime de toute mon âme from Le roi malgr lui

Barbara Hendricks (soprano)

Gino Quilico (baritone)

Nouvel Orchestra Philharmonique de Radio France

Charles Dutoit (conductor)

Opening to Act 2, Le roi malgr lui

Radio France Chorus

Chorus & Orchestra of the Slovak Philharmonic

03The Apprentice20141231
03The Apprentice2014123120151111 (R3)

Donald Macleod explores the story behind Chabrier's biggest-ever musical hit, Espana.

The Chabriers take a trip to Spain where the dances and rhythms fascinate Emmanuel, inspiring him to write his biggest ever hit, Espana.

Chabrier must surely be one of the most likeable fellows to have graced this earth. It seems no-one had a bad word to say about him. His wide circle of friends included all the leading musicians, writers, poets and painters of the day. Chabrier owned a remarkable collection of impressionist paintings including several by Manet, who produced the best known portrait of the composer.

Emmanuel Chabrier's life slots into a fascinating point in French musical history. When he was born in 1841, Berlioz was already thirty-eight and famous, Saint-Saëns was six, while the rising stars of the future, Massenet and Fauré, were not yet born. Despite Wagner's dominance, and indeed Chabrier's own reverence for the German composer, Chabrier's music retains a staunchly Gallic individuality, with critics subsequently paying tribute to him as a "direct forerunner of the modern school." The reason for this may well relate, at least in part, to his studies. Chabrier was largely self-taught, and although he was better educated than most musical amateurs, he never followed the accepted route into the Paris Conservatoire or a similar institute. He trained first in law, only taking up full time composition in his thirties.

The Chabriers' holiday in Spain is vividly documented in Emmanuel Chabrier's delighted correspondence with all his friends back home in Paris. Today Donald Macleod dips into those letters for an insight into the sights and experiences that inspired Chabrier to produce a uniquely Gallic take on Spanish rhythms, much loved everywhere except Spain!

España

Ulster Orchestra

Yan Pascal Tortelier, conductor

Rondes Champêtre

Allan Schiller, piano

Finale to Fisch-Ton-Kan (orchestration by Roger Delage)

Mireille Delunsch, soprano, Goulgouly

Christian Mehn, tenor, Fisch-Ton-Kan

Ensemble Vocal

Collegium Musicum de Strasbourg

Roger Delage, director

Trois valses romantiques (arr. Cortot)

Kathryn Stott, piano

Elizabeth Burley, piano

La Sulamite

Susan Mentzer, mezzo soprano

Toulouse-Midi-Pyrénées Womens' Chorus

Toulouse Capitole Orchestra

Michel Plasson, conductor.

03The Apprentice20141231

03The Apprentice20141231

The Chabriers take a trip to Spain where the dances and rhythms fascinate Emmanuel, inspiring him to write his biggest ever hit, Espana.

Chabrier must surely be one of the most likeable fellows to have graced this earth. It seems no-one had a bad word to say about him. His wide circle of friends included all the leading musicians, writers, poets and painters of the day. Chabrier owned a remarkable collection of impressionist paintings including several by Manet, who produced the best known portrait of the composer.

Emmanuel Chabrier's life slots into a fascinating point in French musical history. When he was born in 1841, Berlioz was already thirty-eight and famous, Saint-Saëns was six, while the rising stars of the future, Massenet and Fauré, were not yet born. Despite Wagner's dominance, and indeed Chabrier's own reverence for the German composer, Chabrier's music retains a staunchly Gallic individuality, with critics subsequently paying tribute to him as a "direct forerunner of the modern school." The reason for this may well relate, at least in part, to his studies. Chabrier was largely self-taught, and although he was better educated than most musical amateurs, he never followed the accepted route into the Paris Conservatoire or a similar institute. He trained first in law, only taking up full time composition in his thirties.

The Chabriers' holiday in Spain is vividly documented in Emmanuel Chabrier's delighted correspondence with all his friends back home in Paris. Today Donald Macleod dips into those letters for an insight into the sights and experiences that inspired Chabrier to produce a uniquely Gallic take on Spanish rhythms, much loved everywhere except Spain!

España

Ulster Orchestra

Yan Pascal Tortelier, conductor

Rondes Champêtre

Allan Schiller, piano

Finale to Fisch-Ton-Kan (orchestration by Roger Delage)

Mireille Delunsch, soprano, Goulgouly

Christian Mehn, tenor, Fisch-Ton-Kan

Ensemble Vocal

Collegium Musicum de Strasbourg

Roger Delage, director

Trois valses romantiques (arr. Cortot)

Kathryn Stott, piano

Elizabeth Burley, piano

La Sulamite

Susan Mentzer, mezzo soprano

Toulouse-Midi-Pyrénées Womens' Chorus

Toulouse Capitole Orchestra

Michel Plasson, conductor.

042005092920051006

4/5.

Despite a natural talent for writing light opera, Emmanuel Chabrier's obsession was grand opera.

Brisis was his last offering in the genre and was the work in which Chabrier saw himself as being modernist, raising the ideals of French opera above and beyond anything that had come before.

Donald Macleod examines the history of this opera and the reasons why Chabrier saw it as his crowning masterpiece.

Duo de l'ouvreuse de l'Opra Comique et de l'employ du Bon March

Geraldine McGreevy (soprano)

Toby Spence (tenor)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Marche Joyeuse

Orchestra National de France

Armin Jordan (conductor)

Excerpt from Scene 2, Act 1 from Brisis

Joan Rodgers (soprano)

Mark Padmore (tenor)

Kathryn Harries (mezzo soprano)

Chorus of Scottish Opera

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Jean Yves Ossonce (conductor)

Farmyard Songs: Ballade des gros dindons

Stephen Varcoe (baritone)

Villanelle des petits canards, Pastorale des cochons rose and Les Cigales

Felicity Lott (soprano)

À la Musique

Female Chorus of Toulouse-Midi-Pyrenees

Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse

Michel Plasson (conductor)

04A Bouillabaisse20150102

04A Bouillabaisse2015010220151112 (R3)

The short rise and faster fall of Chabrier's comic opera, Le roi malgre lui.

The demise of Chabrier's brilliant comic opera, Le roi malgré lui, on the Paris stage sees the composer's reputation spread in Germany.

Chabrier must surely be one of the most likeable fellows to have graced this earth. It seems no-one had a bad word to say about him. His wide circle of friends included all the leading musicians, writers, poets and painters of the day. Chabrier owned a remarkable collection of impressionist paintings including several by Manet, who produced the best known portrait of the composer.

Emmanuel Chabrier's life slots into a fascinating point in French musical history. When he was born in 1841, Berlioz was already thirty-eight and famous, Saint-Saëns was six, while the rising stars of the future, Massenet and Fauré, were not yet born. Despite Wagner's dominance, and indeed Chabrier's own reverence for the German composer, Chabrier's music retains a staunchly Gallic individuality, with critics subsequently paying tribute to him as a "direct forerunner of the modern school." The reason for this may well relate, at least in part, to his studies. Chabrier was largely self-taught, and although he was better educated than most musical amateurs, he never followed the accepted route into the Paris Conservatoire or a similar institute. He trained first in law, only taking up full time composition in his thirties.

Today Donald Macleod looks at Chabrier's final comic opera, a work in which the riches and innovation of the music managed to overcome the deficiencies of a confusing plot and weak libretto. Fellow composer, Ravel, declared that its premiere had "changed the direction of French harmony."

Danse slave. Allegro con brio

Orchestre de la Suisse Romande

Neeme Järvi, conductor

Ode à la musique

Barbara Hendricks, soprano

Toulouse-Midi-Pyrénées Womens' Chorus

Capitole Toulouse Orchestra

Michel Plasson, conductor

Suite pastorale

Orchestra de la Suisse Romande

Introduction and choeur dansé (Act 2, Le roi malgré lui)

Ah! Hurrah!

Chris de Moor, bass, Laski

Chorus of Radio France

New Philharmonic Orchestra of Radio France

Charles Dutoit, conductor

O rêve éteint! Réveils funèbres (Act 3, Le roi malgré lui)

Barbara Hendricks, soprano, Minka

Isabel Garcisanz, soprano, Alexina

04A Bouillabaisse20150102

04A Bouillabaisse20150102

04A Bouillabaisse20150102

The demise of Chabrier's brilliant comic opera, Le roi malgré lui, on the Paris stage sees the composer's reputation spread in Germany.

Chabrier must surely be one of the most likeable fellows to have graced this earth. It seems no-one had a bad word to say about him. His wide circle of friends included all the leading musicians, writers, poets and painters of the day. Chabrier owned a remarkable collection of impressionist paintings including several by Manet, who produced the best known portrait of the composer.

Emmanuel Chabrier's life slots into a fascinating point in French musical history. When he was born in 1841, Berlioz was already thirty-eight and famous, Saint-Saëns was six, while the rising stars of the future, Massenet and Fauré, were not yet born. Despite Wagner's dominance, and indeed Chabrier's own reverence for the German composer, Chabrier's music retains a staunchly Gallic individuality, with critics subsequently paying tribute to him as a "direct forerunner of the modern school." The reason for this may well relate, at least in part, to his studies. Chabrier was largely self-taught, and although he was better educated than most musical amateurs, he never followed the accepted route into the Paris Conservatoire or a similar institute. He trained first in law, only taking up full time composition in his thirties.

Today Donald Macleod looks at Chabrier's final comic opera, a work in which the riches and innovation of the music managed to overcome the deficiencies of a confusing plot and weak libretto. Fellow composer, Ravel, declared that its premiere had "changed the direction of French harmony."

Danse slave. Allegro con brio

Orchestre de la Suisse Romande

Neeme Järvi, conductor

Ode à la musique

Barbara Hendricks, soprano

Toulouse-Midi-Pyrénées Womens' Chorus

Capitole Toulouse Orchestra

Michel Plasson, conductor

Suite pastorale

Orchestra de la Suisse Romande

Neeme Järvi, conductor

Introduction & choeur dansé (Act 2, Le roi malgré lui)

Ah! Hurrah!

Chris de Moor, bass, Laski

Chorus of Radio France

New Philharmonic Orchestra of Radio France

Charles Dutoit, conductor

O rêve éteint! Réveils funèbres (Act 3, Le roi malgré lui)

Barbara Hendricks, soprano, Minka

Isabel Garcisanz, soprano, Alexina

New Philharmonic Orchestra of Radio France

Charles Dutoit, conductor.

04A Bouillabaisse20150102

The demise of Chabrier's brilliant comic opera, Le roi malgré lui, on the Paris stage sees the composer's reputation spread in Germany.

Chabrier must surely be one of the most likeable fellows to have graced this earth. It seems no-one had a bad word to say about him. His wide circle of friends included all the leading musicians, writers, poets and painters of the day. Chabrier owned a remarkable collection of impressionist paintings including several by Manet, who produced the best known portrait of the composer.

Emmanuel Chabrier's life slots into a fascinating point in French musical history. When he was born in 1841, Berlioz was already thirty-eight and famous, Saint-Saëns was six, while the rising stars of the future, Massenet and Fauré, were not yet born. Despite Wagner's dominance, and indeed Chabrier's own reverence for the German composer, Chabrier's music retains a staunchly Gallic individuality, with critics subsequently paying tribute to him as a "direct forerunner of the modern school." The reason for this may well relate, at least in part, to his studies. Chabrier was largely self-taught, and although he was better educated than most musical amateurs, he never followed the accepted route into the Paris Conservatoire or a similar institute. He trained first in law, only taking up full time composition in his thirties.

Today Donald Macleod looks at Chabrier's final comic opera, a work in which the riches and innovation of the music managed to overcome the deficiencies of a confusing plot and weak libretto. Fellow composer, Ravel, declared that its premiere had "changed the direction of French harmony."

Danse slave. Allegro con brio

Orchestre de la Suisse Romande

Neeme Järvi, conductor

Ode à la musique

Barbara Hendricks, soprano

Toulouse-Midi-Pyrénées Womens' Chorus

Capitole Toulouse Orchestra

Michel Plasson, conductor

Suite pastorale

Orchestra de la Suisse Romande

Neeme Järvi, conductor

Introduction & choeur dansé (Act 2, Le roi malgré lui)

Ah! Hurrah!

Chris de Moor, bass, Laski

Chorus of Radio France

New Philharmonic Orchestra of Radio France

Charles Dutoit, conductor

O rêve éteint! Réveils funèbres (Act 3, Le roi malgré lui)

Barbara Hendricks, soprano, Minka

Isabel Garcisanz, soprano, Alexina

New Philharmonic Orchestra of Radio France

Charles Dutoit, conductor.

05 LAST2005093020051007

Chabrier lived in a period when Wagner's music dominated French musical thought.

Yet it was the originality of Chabrier's innovative harmonies and textures which made his music so appealing to later French composers.

Donald Macleod examines how Chabrier's musical world merged with the aesthetics of the period.

Prelude to Le roi malgr lui

Nouvel Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France

Charles Dutoit (conductor)

arr Ravel: Menuet Pompeux

Orchestra du Capitole de Toulouse

Michel Plasson (conductor)

Excerpt from Scene 4, Act 1, Brisis

Joan Rogers, Kathryn Harries (soprano)

Simon Keenlyside (baritone)

Chorus of Scottish Opera

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Jean-Yves Ossonce (conductor)

Bourre fantasque

Alain Planès (piano)

Song for Jeanne

Stephen Varcoe (baritone)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Introduction to Le roi malgr lui

Martin Shopland, Peter Jeffes (tenor)

Maurice Sieyes, Philippe Bohe (baritone)

Chorus of Radio France

Emmanuel Chabrier (1841-1894)

Bourre fantastique