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Grétry, André Ernest Modeste

Grétry, André Ernest Modeste (b Liège, 1741; d Montmorency, Paris, 1813). Belg. (later Fr.) composer. Comp. mass for 4 vv. 1759, thereby winning patronage enabling study in Rome 1761–5. His intermezzo La Vendemmiatrice was successfully prod. 1765. Visited Geneva, where he met Voltaire, and returned to Paris 1767. In Paris his opéras-comiques, from Le Tableau parlant, 1769, quickly found favour. During the next 35 years he wrote some 50 operas, of which the best were Zémire et Azor (1771), L'Amant jaloux (1778), L'Épreuve villageoise (1784), La Caravane du Caire (1783) and Panurge dans l'île des lanternes (1785). His finest work is said to be his most serious opera, Richard Cœur de Lion (1784). Also comp. requiem, motets, str. qts., 6 pf. sonatas, fl. conc., and songs. His melodic gift was immense, but his lack of mastery of harmony and counterpoint was a permanent defect. Wrote several treatises. Standard edn. of his works in 42 vols. financed by Belg. Govt. from 1883.

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Grétry, André Ernest Modeste

André Ernest Modeste Grétry (äNdrā´ ĕrnĕst´ môdĕst´ grātrē´), 1741–1813, French operatic composer. Enormously prolific and successful in his lifetime, he was a master of the 18th-century opéra comique. His works combined the melodic grace of Italian opera with the imagination, delicacy, and dramatic interest of the French. His masterpiece is Richard Cœur de Lion (1784).

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