Edouardo Lalo

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    Joshua Bell discusses Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole


He was a French romantic composer of the 19th-century.  He is best known for Symphony Espagnole 1875 his most popular work, was written for the virtuoso Pablo de Sarasate.


Victor Antoine Edouard Lalo was born in Lille, France.  His father was a Military officer in Napoleons army.  His parents initially encourage his musical interest and allowed him to attend the Lille Conservatory, studying the violin and cello.  They opposed his decisions to become a professional musician.  At the age of 16 he disobeyed his authoritarian father and left home to pursue his dream.  He left Lille without any money to make a name for himself by pursuing a musical career in Paris.  After leaving home he struggled to make his own living and to pay for tuition at the Paris Conservatory.  He supported himself by making his living as a violinist, performer and teacher in Paris.  He played in some of Hector Berliozs concerts.  While at the Paris Conservatory he studied violin with teacher Francois Antoine Habeneck and he studied composition privately with the pianist Julius Schulhoff and the composer J. E. Crevecoeur.


In 1848 Jules Armingaud and Edouard Lalo were involved in the leftist Association des Artistes Musicians.  And in 1855 he was a founding member of the Armingaud Quartet with Jules Armingaud, Joseph Mas and Léon Jacquard.  They wanted to promote the music of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann and Mendelssohn.  He played the viola and second violin in the quartet. He married one of his students Julie Besnier de Maligny, a singer in 1865.  They had a son Pierre Lalo.  Many of his songs were written for his wife’s contralto voice, unfortunately, their projects were not well received and he change career to write chamber and orchestra music.  He became notable for the clarity of his orchestration.  He did not attain celebrity until his late 40’s as a composer.  It was with the creation in 1871 of the Societe Nationale de Musique which promoted the works of composers and provided them a way to continue composing that his career flourished.  He was made a knight an Officer of the Legion of Honor in 1880.  His other successes were the opera, Le Roi d'Ys (1888) and a ballet Namouna (1882) made him a famous composer.  Edouard Lalo died on April 22, 1892 at the age of 69 and was buried at the Père Lachaise Cemetery.


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  • Le Roi d'Ys
  • Symphonie Espagnole
  • Cello Concerto in D minor