Born January 27, 1823, Lille, Fr.—Died April 22, 1892, Paris), composer known for the clarity of his orchestration. Born into a military family of Spanish descent, he went to Paris, without funds, in 1839, studying violin with Francois Habeneck at the Conservatoire and composition privately with Julius Schulhoff and Crevecoeur. In 1848 he published his first songs, and in 1855 joined the Armingaud quarter as viola player.
He won success with his Symphonie espagnole for for violin and orchestra, first performed by Pablo Sarasate in 1875; for his cello concerto (1876); and for his ballet Namouna (1882). Namouna foreshadowed the ballets of Diaghilev in that it merited attention more for its musical score that for its choreography. There followed the Symphony in G Minor (1887) and the final version of his opera Le Roi d’ Ys (1888). His chamber works, which were influential, include a string quartet, three trios, and piano and violin sonatas. He also wrote concerti for violin and for piano. His music, although it shows some affinity with Robert Schumann and Carl Weber, is the product of a highly original talent.
Visual source: hagaselamusica