"The composer's final years were beset with illness and depression but this period saw the creation of several major works, including Chabrier's final opera, Briséïs - a work that he intended should be the last word in modernism. When Chabrier is invited to tea by the widow of his great musical hero, Richard Wagner, his manners and his music are not well recieved!
Chabrier must surely be one of the most likeable fellows to have graced this earth. It seems no-one had a bad word to say about him. His wide circle of friends included all the leading musicians, writers, poets and painters of the day. Chabrier owned a remarkable collection of impressionist paintings including several by Manet, who produced the best known portrait of the composer.
Emmanuel Chabrier's life slots into a fascinating point in French musical history. When he was born in 1841, Berlioz was already thirty-eight and famous, Saint-Saëns was six, while the rising stars of the future, Massenet and Fauré, were not yet born. Despite Wagner's dominance, and indeed Chabrier's own reverence for the German composer, Chabrier's music retains a staunchly Gallic individuality, with critics subsequently paying tribute to him as a ""direct forerunner of the modern school."" The reason for this may well relate, at least in part, to his studies. Chabrier was largely self-taught, and although he was better educated than most musical amateurs, he never followed the accepted route into the Paris Conservatoire or a similar institute. He trained first in law, only taking up full time composition in his thirties.
Habanera c. 1885
Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Neeme Järvi, conductor
Ballade des gros dindons
Steven Varcoe, baritone
Graham Johnson, piano
Villanelle des petits canards
Felicity Lott, soprano
Gwendoline, Overture to Act 1
Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
Jean-Paul Penin, conductor
Briséïs: Excerpt from Act 1, Part IV
Simon Keenlyside , baritone (Le Catéchiste)
Michael George, bass (Stratoklès)
Joan Rodgers, soprano (Briséïs)
Kathryn Harries, mezzo soprano (Thanasto)
Chorus of Scottish Opera
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Jean Yves Ossonce, conductor
Air de ballet
Annie d'Arco, piano."
"Donald focuses on Chabrier's final years, beset with illness yet productive."