Recordings/Discussions
Background Information
Performer Bios

Poet/Composer Bios

Additional Information

Biographies of Poets & Composers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | Bach & Other Composers

Henri Duparc (Composer, Arranger)

Born: January 21, 1848 - Paris, France
Died: February 12, 1933 - Mont-de-Marsan, France

Life

The French composer, Henri Duparc, showed as a child and teen an interest in many fields and possessed an extraordinary intellectual capacity. Yet, he also divulged a sensitive, sometimes hesitant nature. He initially began studying for a career in law, but concurrently took piano lessons from César Franck at the Jesuit College of Vaugirard and became one of his first composition pupils. Soon he began writing music. He typically destroyed his early works, not satisfied with aspects of his style, or with the entirety of the piece itself.

In 1868, Henri Duparc's Five Mélodies, for voice and piano, were published, marking his first major surviving song collection. Shortly afterward he expressed doubts about three of them (Serenade, Romance de Mignon, and Le galop), though he ultimately allowed their survival. From this early period there exists a Sonata for piano and cello (1867), not published but in manuscript form, held by his daughter's estate.

In 1869, Henri Duparc received his first substantial exposure to Wagner's music when he traveled to Munich for several performances. There he met Liszt, who introduced him to Wagner at that year's Bayreuth Festival. Wagner became a hero to Duparc, and at times a noticeable influence in his music. The composer would make numerous trips to Bayreuth over the next several decades, often with friends like Chabrier. In 1871, he joined with Camille Saint-Saëns and Romain Bussine to found the Société Nationale de Musique. By the early 1870's Duparc was turning toward the orchestra. In 1874 he wrote Poéme nocturne, which was premiered in April that year at a Société National concert. Only the first of the three parts, however, has survived. Also, Duparc composed the aforementioned symphonic poem, Lénore, in 1875. Four years later, still in the thrall of Wagner, though not stylistically now, he began work on his opera Roussalka.

In 1885, Henri Duparc abruptly abandoned composition, at least in part owing to a neurasthenia, which may have had psychological manifestations. He also destroyed most of his works. The composer had an acute sense of pain and other physical discomforts, but managed a reasonably normal life with his wife and family. Though he composed no new music after 1885, in the early 1900's he did revise some earlier works, like the 1868 Five Mélodies and the Poéme nocturne of 1874. In the early 1900's he became blind. Always a religious man and growing more so in his later years, he traveled to the shrine known for miracles in Lourdes, France, in 1906. He seemed to accept his blindness, and toward the end of his life he suffered from paralysis. He spent most of his later life in Switzerland and died in Mont-de-Marsan, France.

Music

Examination of the life of Henri Duparc often leads one not to explore what he accomplished but to speculate on what he might have accomplished. While Sibelius and Copland wrote virtually nothing over their last 30 years of life, presumably because their inspiration had been tapped out after producing sizable outputs, Duparc simply stopped composing in 1885, at age 36, in the midst of a burgeoning career. His oeuvre was made up of 13 songs, some incomplete works like his opera Roussalka, and other compositions, which he later would not acknowledge or only grudgingly acknowledge, such as his symphonic poem, Lenore. His greatest contribution was in his 16 songs, of which the texts are from poets such as Baudelaire, Gautier, and Goethe. The songs demonstrated a sophistication in uniting the text with the music, in using fairly elaborate contrapuntal elements in the accompaniment, and in eschewing overly sentimental moods often heard in the songs of other French composers of the time. While Duparc was obviously not a major composer, he was a minor figure who clearly demonstrated talents that might have elevated him to the front rank.

Works (Selection)

Piano:
Flying Leaves (1869)

Chamber Music:
Sonata for Cello and Piano (1867)

Orchestral Works:
To the Stars, symphonic poem (1874, rev. 1911)
Léonore, symphonic poem (1875)

Songs:
16 Mélodies: Au pays où se fait la guerre, La vie antérieure, La vague et la cloche, L'invitation au voyage, Le manoir de Rosemonde, Phidylé, Lamento, Sérénade Florentine (and several other poems by Jean Lahor).

Source: Wikipedia Website; All Music Guide Website (Author: Robert Cummings)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (July 2007)

Henri Duparc: Short Biography | Piano Transcriptions: Works | Recordings

Links to other Sites

Henri Duparc (Wikipedia)
Henri Duparc (Answers.com)

Henri Duparc (Classical Composers Database)

Bibliography

 

Biographies of Poets & Composers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | Bach & Other Composers

Introduction | Cantatas | Other Vocal | Instrumental | Performers | General Topics | Articles | Books | Movies | New
Biographies | Texts & Translations | Scores | References | Commentaries | Music | Concerts | Festivals | Tour | Art & Memorabilia
Chorale Texts | Chorale Melodies | Lutheran Church Year | Readings | Poets & Composers | Arrangements & Transcriptions
Search Website | Search Works/Movements | Terms & Abbreviations | Copyright | How to contribute | Sitemap | Links



 

Back to the Top


Last update: řApril 23, 2013 ř00:30:56