Lalo, Édouard (-Victoire-Antoine)

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Lalo, Édouard (-Victoire-Antoine)

Lalo, Édouard (-Victoire-Antoine), distinguished French composer of Spanish descent, father of Pierre Lalo ; b. Lille, Jan. 27, 1823; d. Paris, April 22, 1892. He studied violin and cello at the Lille Cons. After his father objected to his pursuing a career as a professional musician, he left home at age 16 to study violin with Habeneck at the Paris Cons.; he also studied composition privately with Schulhoff and Crèvecoeur. He then made a precarious living as a violinist and teacher; also began to compose, producing some songs and chamber music between 1848 and 1860. In the meantime, he became a founding member of the Arm-ingaud Quartet (1855), serving first as a violist and subsequently as 2nd violinist. Since his own works met with indifference, he was discouraged to the point of abandoning composition after 1860. However, his marriage to the contralto Bernier de Maligny (1865), who sang many of his songs, prompted him to resume composition. He wrote an opera, Fiesque, and sent it to a competition sponsored by the Théâtre-Lyrique in Paris in 1867. It was refused a production, a rebuke that left him deeply embittered. He was so convinced of the intrinsic worth of the score that he subsequently reworked parts of it into various other works, including the first Aubade for Small Orch., the Divertissement, and the Sym. in G minor. Indeed, the Divertissement proved a remarkable success when it was introduced at the Concert Populaire (Paris, Dec. 8, 1872). Sarasate then gave the premiere performance of his Violin Concerto (Paris, Jan. 18, 1874), and subsequently of his Symphonie espagnole for Violin and Orch. (Paris, Feb. 7, 1875). The latter work, a brilliant virtuoso piece with vibrant Spanish rhythms, brought Lalo international fame. It remains his best-known composition outside his native country. While continuing to produce orch. works, he had not given up his intention to write for the stage. In 1875 he began work on the opera Le Roi d’Ys. The major portion of the score was finished by 1881, which allowed extracts to be performed in concerts. However, no theater was interested in mounting a production. While pursuing his work on several orch. pieces, he accepted a commission from the Opéra to write a ballet. Although the resulting work, Namouna (Paris, March 6, 1882), failed to make an impression, he drew a series of orch. suites from it, which became quite popular. He finally succeeded in persuading the Paris Opéra-Comique to produce Le Roi d’Ys. Its premiere on May 7, 1888, was an enormous success. Lalo was rewarded by being made an Officer of the Legion of Honor (1888). While Le Roi d’Ys is considered his masterpiece by his countrymen, his instrumental music is of particular importance in assessing his achievement as a composer. His craftsmanship, combined with his originality, places him among the most important French composers of his time.


dramatic:Fiesque, opera (1866-67; not perf.; parts of the score subsequently used in various other works); Namouna, ballet (1881-82; Opéra, Paris, March 6, 1882; also made into a series of orch. suites); Le Roi d’Ys, opera (1875-88; Opéra-Comique, Paris, May 7, 1888); Néron, pantomime with Chorus (1891; Hippodrome, Paris, March 28, 1891; based on Fiesque and other works); La Jacquerie, opera (1891-92; Monte Carlo, March 9, 1895; Act 1 only; finished by A. Co-quard). orch.: 2 syms. (n.d.; destroyed by the composer); 2 Aubades for 10 Instruments or Small Orch. (1872; based on Fiesque)’, Divertissement (Paris, Dec. 8, 1872; ballet music from Fiesque with the 2 aubades); Violin Concerto in F major, op.20 (1873; Paris, Jan. 18, 1874); Symphonie espagnole for Violin and Orch., op.21 (1874; Paris, Feb. 7, 1875); Cello Concerto in D minor (Paris, Dec. 9, 1877); Fantaisie norvégienne for Violin and Orch. (1878); Rapsodie norvégienne (Paris, Oct. 26, 1879; partly based on the Fantaisie norvégienne); Romance-serenade for Violin and Orch. (1879); Concerto russe for Violin and Orch., op.29 (1879); Fantaisie-ballet for Violin and Orch. (1885; from Namouna); Andantino for Violin and Orch. (from Namouna); Sérénade for Strings (from Namouna); Sym. in G minor (1886; Paris, 1887); Piano Concerto in F minor (1888–89). chamber:Fantaisie originale for Violin and Piano, op.l (c. 1848); Allegro maestoso for Violin and Piano, op.2 (c. 1848); Deux impromptus for Violin and Piano, op.4: Espérance and Insouciance (c. 1848); Arlequin, esquisse-caractéristique for Violin and Piano (c. 1848; also orchestrated); Piano Trio No. 1, in C minor, op.7 (c. 1850); Pastorale and Scherzo alla Pulcinella for Violin and Piano, op.8 (c. 1850); Piano Trio No. 2, in B minor (c. 1852); Violin Sonata, op.12 (1853; orig. Grand duo concertant); Chanson villageoise, Sérénade for Violin or Cello and Piano, op.14 (1854); Allegro for Cello and Piano, op.16 (c. 1856; also for Cello and Orch., op.27, and as Allegro symphonique); Soirées parisiennes for Violin and Piano, op.18 (1856; in collaboration with C. Wehle); Cello Sonata (1856); String Quartet in E-flat major, op.19 (1859; rev. as op.45, 1880); Piano Trio No. 3, in A minor, op.26 (1880;Scherzo orchestrated, 1884); Guitare for Violin and Piano, op.28 (1882); Valse for Cello and Piano (n.d.); Piano Quintet in A-flat major (n.d.); Adagio, 2nd fantaisie- quintette for Piano and String Quartet (n.d.).piano:Sérénade (1864); La Mère et Venfant for Piano, 4-Hands, op.32 (1873). vocal: collections: 6 romances populaires (1849); 6 mélodies, op.17 (1856); 3 mélodies (c. 1870); 5 Lieder (1879); 3 mélodies (1887). songs:Adieux au désert (1848); L’Ombre de Dieu (c. 1848); Le Novice, op.5 (1849); Ballade à la lune (1860); Humoresque (c. 1867); Aubade (1872); Chant breton (1884); Marine, op.33 (1884); Dansons, op.35 (1884; from Namouna); Au fond des halliers (1887; from Fiesque); Le Rouge-gorge (1887); Vent, Creator, d’après un thème bohème (n.d.). choral:Litanies de la sainte Vierge (1876); O salutaris for Women’s Voices, op.34 (1884).


M. Dufour, É. L. (Lille, 1908); H. Malherbe, É. L, conférence prononcée23 décembre, 1920 (Paris, 1921).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire