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Indy, Vincent d'

INDY, VINCENT D'

Romanticist composer, teacher, writer; b. Paris, March 27, 1851; d. Paris, Dec. 2, 1931. D'Indy (christened Paul Marie Théodore Vincent) was reared and dominated by a music-loving grandmother; he received most of his musical instruction privately before studying under C. franck at the Paris Conservatory, where he later taught. In 1896 he devoted his fortune to founding, with Bordes and F. Guilmant, the (Paris) schola can torum (now the École César Franck), whose curriculum was mainly based on the best Catholic church music of all periods. D'Indy's chief literary works are biographies of Franck (1906) and beethoven (1911) and the five-volume Cours de composition musicale (1903, 1909,1933), a rigorous course that is valuable despite its musicological inexactnesses. Although he was active in virtually every musical form, he is best known today for his orchestral works, especially the early Symphony on a French Mountain Air and the Istar variations. As a faithful Catholic, he wrote much organ and sacred choral music, his most monumental being the opera La Légende de Saint Christophe (1918), for which he also wrote the libretto. From both musical and textual standpoints it is an extremely moving work; because of its staging difficulties it is most effective in concert performance. His mature music is characterized by luxuriant harmony, counterpoint, and instrumentation, a craftsmanship that is often intricate but seldom unclear, and melodic ideas informed by plainchant and French folk song. As conductor (chiefly of his own works), d'Indy visited Russia, Spain, and the U.S. His valorous record in the Franco-Prussian War later brought him the appointment of Commander of the Legion of Honor by the French government.

Bibliography: n. demuth, Vincent d'Indy (London 1951). l. vallas, Vincent d'Indy, 2 v. (Paris 194650); Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. e. blom, 9 v. (5th ed. London 1954) 4:467477. g. ferchault, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, ed. f. blume (Kassel-Basel 1949) 6:11991210. t. davidian, "Debussy, d'Indy, and the Société Nationale," Journal of Musicological Research, 11 (1991) 285301. w. e. grim, "(Paul-Marie-Théodore-) Vincent d'Indy," in International Dictionary of Opera, ed. c. s. larue, 2 v. (Detroit 1993) 343344. s. keym, "'L'unité dans la variété': Vincent d'Indy und das zyklische Prinzip," Musiktheorie, 13 (1998) 223241. r. orledge, "(Paul Marie Théodore) Vincent d'Indy," in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. s. sadie, v. 9 (New York 1980) 220225. n. slonimsky, ed., Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (8th ed. New York 1992) 823825.

[r. m. longyear]

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