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Catel, Charles-Simon

Catel, Charles-Simon

French composer and pedagogue; b. l’Aigle, Orne, June 10, 1773; d. Paris, Nov. 29, 1830. He studied in Paris with Gossec and Gobert at the École Royale de Chant. He served as accompanist and teacher there (1787), and also was accompanist at the Opéra and asst. conductor (to Gossec) of the band of the Garde Nationale (1790). In 1795, on the establishment of the Cons., he was appointed prof, of harmony, and was commissioned to write a Traité d’harmonie (publ. 1802), a standard work at the Cons, for 20 years thereafter. In 1810, with Gossec, Méhul, and Cherubini, he was made an inspector of the Cons., resigning in 1816. He was named a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1817. As a composer, Catel was at his best in his operas, written in a conventional but attractive style of French stage music of the time.


DRAMATIC: Opera (all 1st perf. at the Paris Opéra and the Opéra-Comique): Sémiramis (May 4, 1802); L’Auberge de Bagnères (April 23, 1807); Les Artistes par occasion (Jan. 22, 1807); Les Bayaderes (Aug. 8, 1810); Les Aubergistes de qualité (June 11, 1812); Bayard a Mézières (Feb. 12, 1814); Le Premier en date (Nov. 3, 1814); Wallace, ou Le Ménestrel écossais (March 24, 1817); Zirphile et Fleur de Myrte, ou Cent ans en jour (June 29, 1818); L’Officier enlevé (May 4, 1819). other: Several syms. and chamber works.


J. Cariez, C.iÉtude biographique et critique (Caen, 1895); F. Hellouin and J. Picard, Un Musicien oublié: C. (Paris, 1910); S. Suskin, The Music of C.-S. C for the Paris Opéra (diss., Yale Univ., 1972).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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