Ernest Reyer

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Ernest Reyer, around 1848

Louis-Etienne-Ernest Reyer (actually Rey , born December 1, 1823 in Marseille , † January 15, 1909 in Le Lavandou ) was a French composer and music critic . He wrote in the neo-romantic style and was particularly successful with operas.


After an initial lesson with Barsotti at the Music School in Marseille, Reyer turned to the administrative career in Algeria . He worked from 1839 to 1848 as an employee of his uncle Louis Farrenc in the finance department of Constantine . In 1847, in addition to some smaller works, he composed a mass for the reception of the Duc d'Aumale in Algiers . Although his parents and uncle advised him not to pursue a musical career, he returned to France in 1848, where he began studying music under the guidance of his aunt, the piano professor Louise Farrenc . On April 5, 1850, his Ode Le Selam was performed in the Théâtre-Italy , which achieved great success. This later led to a close friendship with Hector Berlioz . From 1866 to 1909 he worked as a librarian at the Paris Opera and was a columnist at the Journal des Débats . He has written reports and reviews in various newspapers such as La Revue française , Le Courrier de Paris , La Presse and Le Moniteur universel . In 1875 he published some of these articles under the name Notes de Musique .

Reyer wrote mainly for the stage, and there are also dramatic traits in his other works. His compositional means are in the tradition of Hector Berlioz and Richard Wagner , which is particularly noticeable in the treatment of the orchestra and the use of leitmotifs. However, his musical style differs significantly from that of Wagner. He himself said that Wagner was the only composer who could write Wagnerian music. Due to his preference for foreign (exotic) themes such as in Le Sélam or his ballet Sacountalâ , he is considered a representative of musical exoticism . The latter and the opera Sigurd , which premiered in 1890, remained on the repertoire for a long time.


Vocal works

  • 40 vieilles chansons du XII au XVIII ème siècle , collected by Reyer, 1885
  • 30 mélodies in two collections for voice and piano
  • La Madeleine au désert , scene for baritone or low alto voice
  • O Salutaris , 1928
  • Redemption for voice and piano; Text: L. Bouilhet
  • Le Sélam , oriental symphony. in 5 pictures for solos, choirs and orchestra; Text: Théophile Gautier ; Premiere : April 5, 1850, Paris, Théâtre-Italy
  • L'hymne du Rhin , cantata for soprano and choir; Text: Joseph Méry ; 1865
  • Mass pour l'arrivée du Duc d'Aumale à Alger , 1847
  • Victoire , cantata, 1859 Paris, Opéra

Orchestral works

  • Marche tzigane , after original motifs for orchestra, 1865 (1882)

Piano works

  • Petite Fantaisie, alla moda antica , 1877
  • Pensée mélodique
  • Marche gaie , 1901
  • Piece in style antique

Stage works


  • Notes de musique , 1875
  • Quarante ans de musique , 1909


Web links

Commons : Ernest Reyer  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Hugh Macdonald:  Reyer [Rey], (Louis-Etienne-) Ernest. In: Grove Music Online (English; subscription required).