Edouard Lalo

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Edouard Lalo

Édouard Victor Antoine Lalo (born January 27, 1823 in Lille , † April 22, 1892 in Paris ) was a French composer .


Lalo, the son of a family of officers who immigrated to France from Spain in the 16th century , showed an early interest in music, so that in 1833 he entered the conservatory in his home town to take violin, cello and composition lessons there. In 1839 he moved to Paris, where he studied violin at the Conservatory with François-Antoine habeneck until 1847 . He also took private lessons in composition, but later referred to himself as a self-taught composer. He had to forego material support from his family, as they had planned for him the career of an officer.

In the following years Lalo earned his living primarily through teaching; he also worked temporarily (1849/1850) as an orchestra musician. He was particularly active in the Paris chamber music scene (especially as a violist in the Armigaud Quartet). In 1865 he married the contralto Julie Bernier de Maligny, a second marriage, which opened up wider social circles for him. From around 1870 Lalo had greater success as a composer. Outstanding are his second violin concerto, which he called the Espagnole Symphony , and the cello concerto, composed in 1877, which is one of the best known and most played of its kind. Lalo joined the Société nationale de musique and made contacts with important musicians such as Pablo de Sarasate . In the years that followed, his recognition increased and he received more international attention. His last and at the same time greatest success was the world premiere of his opera Le roi d'Ys in 1888. Nevertheless, its great importance only became apparent years after his death.


Lalo himself saw his musical roots mainly in German-speaking countries, especially with Ludwig van Beethoven , Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann . This orientation is particularly evident in his traditional sense of form. But other influences can also be found in his work. From around 1870 he dealt more and more with the folk music of different countries (France, Spain, Scandinavia , Russia ), which was to shape his tonal language especially in terms of harmony, on the one hand through the use of church modes , on the other hand through the inclusion of comparatively bold expressions. However, the folkloric element does not dominate, but is used with moderation. Further characteristics of Lalo's musical language are the gripping drama of many works, an astonishingly differentiated rhythm, which is often built up in triplets , and a remarkably complex feeling for different timbres.

Lalo's music met with a lot of incomprehension during his lifetime. In his homeland he was avoided as a supposed Wagnerian . However, he became an important pioneer of Impressionism and was highly valued by Claude Debussy for the color of his works and his progressive harmony.


Orchestral works

  • Symphony in G minor (1886)
  • Divertissement (1869)
  • Piano Concerto in F minor (1888)
  • Violin Concerto No. 1 in F major, op.20 (1873)
  • Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 21 Symphonie espagnole (1873/74)
  • Violin Concerto No. 3 Fantaisie norvégienne (1878)
  • Violin Concerto No. 4 in F minor op.29 Concerto russe (1879)
  • Violoncello Concerto in D minor (1877)
  • Scherzo for orchestra in D minor

Stage works and other vocal music

  • Fiesque , Opera (1866–68) - complete recording under Alain Altinoglu
  • Le roi d'Ys , opera (1875–87)
  • La Jacquerie , Opera (1889, unfinished)
  • Namouna , ballet (1881/82)
  • Néron , pantomime (1891)
  • 23 songs

Chamber music

  • Fantaisie originale for violin and piano in A major op.1 (around 1848)
  • Allegro maestoso for violin and piano in C minor, Op. 2 (around 1848)
  • Deux impromptus [Espérance, Insouciance] for violin and piano op. 4 (around 1848)
  • Arlequin, esquisse caractéristique for violin / violoncello and piano (around 1848)
  • Piano Trio No. 1 in C minor, Op. 7 (around 1850)
  • Impromptus [Pastorale, Scherzo alla Pulcinella] for violin and piano op. 8 (around 1850)
  • Piano Trio No. 2 in B minor (1852)
  • Sonata for violin and piano op. 12 (1853) [also Grand duo concertant ]
  • Deux pièces [Chanson villageoise, Serenade] for violoncello and piano op. 14 (1854)
  • Allegro for violoncello and piano in E flat major op.16 (1856)
  • Soirées parisiennes for violin and piano op. 18 (1850) [together with C. Wehle]
  • Sonata for violoncello and piano (1856)
  • String quartet in E flat major op. 19 (1859) [revised as op. 45 in 1880]
  • Piano Trio No. 3 in A minor, Op. 26 (1880)
  • Guitare for violin and piano op.28 (1882)
  • String quartet in E flat major op. 45 (1880) [first version 1859 op. 19]


  • Fabian Kolb: "Thèmes d'un drame lyrique traités d'une façon entièrement symphonique". For genre transfer between Edouard Lalos Fiesque and Symphony in G minor. In: Hans-Joachim Hinrichsen / Klaus Pietschmann (eds.): Beyond the Stage: Forms of Arrangement and Reception of Opera in the 19th and 20th Centuries (= Swiss Contributions to Music Research ; 15), Kassel 2011, pp. 93–126.

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