BEING CLEOPATRA: Cleopatra's Voice: Gaston Carraud

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cleopatra's Voice: Gaston Carraud

Viens enfuyons-nous tous deux from Cléopâtre by Gaston Carraud (July 20, 1864 Le Mée-sur-Seine, France - June 15, 1920 Paris, France)

Gaston Carraud, while he may not be known as a composer, he was a very influential French music critic of the 19th century.

Carraud was born on July 20, 1864 in Le Mée-sur-Seine, France. He began his musical training at the prestigious Ecole Monge (now called Lycée Carnot) where he studied with Hungarian-born violinist Dezso Lederer. Carraud's school friends also ended up having careers as composers Albéric Magnard (1865-1914) and Charles Koechlin (1867-1950). Then, Carraud continued his studies at the Conservatory of Paris where he studied with Jules Massenet (1842 -1912).

After writing symphonic poem La Chevauchée de la chimère, Les Nuits (based on the poems of Alfred de Musset, 1810-1857), and an overature Buona Pasqua. Carraud abandoned composing in 1905 where he dedicated his focus on becoming a music critic. He wrote predominantly for the newspaper Liberté reviewing the likes of Claude Debussy, Gabriel Fauré, Gustav Mahler, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in adittion to many other composers of the time. In 1912 he also wrote a book, La vie, lœuvre et la mort dAlbéric Magnard (The life, work and death of Alberic Magnard) written about his high school friend, Albéric Magnard. However, this book also goes on the attack of foreign influences poisoning the purity of French music.

He died at 55 years of age on June 15, 1920 in Paris, France.

In 1890, Carraud won the prestigious Prix de Rome for his opera Cléopâtre, with libretto by Fernand Beisser. At its premiere, he dedicated it "to my master J. Massenet." The three characters were Baréty and Fiérens as Cléopâtre, Cossa as Antoine and Taskin as Caesar.

More resources:

Claude Debussy - His Life And Works by Leon Vallas

The Composer as Intellectual: Music and Ideology in France 1914-1940 by Jane Fulcher

Fauré and French Musical Aesthetics (Music in the Twentieth Century) by Carlo Caballero

Musica et Memoria

Sheet music by Carraud

La vie, lœuvre et la mort dAlbéric Magnard by Gaston Carraud

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