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Édouard Lalo: Wikis


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Disambiguation: Lalo redirects here. For the fictional character see Lalo Muldron.
Édouard Lalo

Édouard-Victoire-Antoine Lalo (27 January 1823 – 22 April 1892) was a French composer.



Lalokura was born in Lille (Nord), in northernmost France. He attended that city's music conservatory in his youth. Then, beginning at age 16, Lalo studied at the Paris Conservatoire under Berlioz's old enemy François Antoine Habeneck. For several years, he worked as a string player and teacher in Paris. He joined with friends to found the Armingaud Quartet, playing viola and second violin. Lalo's earliest surviving compositions are songs and chamber works. (Two early symphonies were destroyed.) Julie Besnier de Maligny, a contralto from Brittany, became his bride in 1865. She aroused Lalo's early interest in opera and led him to compose works for the stage. Unfortunately, they were deemed too progressive and Wagnerian and were not initially well received despite their freshness and originality. This led him to dedicate most of his career to the composition of chamber music, which was in vogue, and to writing works for orchestra.

Although Lalo is not one of the most immediately recognized names in French music, his distinctive style has earned him some degree of popularity. Symphonie espagnole for violin and orchestra still enjoys a prominent place in violinists' repertoire, and is known in many classical circles simply as "The Lalo". Lalo is also known for concertos, including his Cello Concerto in D minor. The same Breton legend that inspired "Le roi d'Ys", went on to spark the creation of his Symphony in G Minor and chamber works. Lalo's style is notable for strong melodies and colourful orchestration, with a rather Germanic solidity that sets him apart from most of his compatriots. This distinctive style and strong expressive bent can be seen even in such compactly constructed works as the Scherzo in D minor, one of Lalo's most colorful compositions.

Lalo did not gain fame as a composer until his late forties. "Le roi d'Ys" ("The King of Ys"), an opera based on a Breton legend (see: "Ys"), is his most accomplished and complex work. (The same legend inspired Debussy to compose his famous piano piece, La Cathédrale engloutie.) The opera was rejected for 10 years after composition and was not performed until 1888, when he was 65 years old. Its success opened doors for Lalo to the end of his life. However, his imagination and the desire to compose new music were diminishing. He died in Paris at age 69, leaving several unfinished works.

Lalo's son Pierre Lalo (6 September 1866 - 9 June 1943) was a music critic who wrote for Le Temps and other French periodicals from 1898 until his death.




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Simple English

Edouard Lalo (born Lille, 27 January 1823; died Paris, 22 April 1892) was a French composer.

His life

His family originally came from Spain. Edouard learned to play the piano and violin at the Lille Conservatory, but his parents did not want him to take music as a profession. So he left home when he was 16 and went to Paris. He took some lessons and earned money by teaching and playing the violin. He liked chamber music. Not many people in France were interested in chamber music at that time. With three friends he formed a string quartet and they helped to make the string quartets of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven better known in France. He played the viola in his quartet, and later he played second violin. In 1859 he composed a string quartet.

It was not until the 1870s, when he was already in his 50s, that he started to become really well known. Some famous conductors such as Pasdeloup, Lamoureux and Colonne and the violinist Sarasate took an interest in his orchestral works and performed them. He wrote a violin concerto and a work called Symphonie espagnole (Spanish Symphony) which was also for solo violin and orchestra. Sarasate played both these works. He wrote a cello concerto in 1877.

He wrote an opera Le roi d’Ys, but no opera house wanted to perform it. They asked him to write a ballet instead. He did not know anything about ballet, but he composed one called Namouna. It had some good music, although people who did not like him said it sounded like Wagner or like the music of someone who is used to writing symphonies.

In 1888 his opera Le roi d’Ys was performed at last. It was an enormous success, but Lalo only had four more years to live, and he did not compose anything more of importance. He had married one of his pupils in 1865 and they had a son.

His music

In France Lalo is mainly remembered for his opera Le roi d’Ys, but in other countries his best known work is his Symphonie espagnole. It is not really a “symphony”, it is a violin concerto. It has five movements and there are lots of lively, Spanish rhythms. His cello concerto is also an excellent work.


The New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians ed. Stanley Sadie, 1980


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