Monday, March 02, 2020

Unsung composers: Albéric Magnard

This is a new series for the blog, although partly similar to a series of posts 5-10 years ago, which I now converted to draft status. I will focus on composers I like very much that did not make the top100 composers list as compiled from personal preferences of 56 Talk Classical members (link).

Albéric Magnard (1865 - 1914) was a French late romantic composer, and one of the first cultural casualties of the Great War: he refused to surrender his property to German invaders and died defending it (Wikipedia).

His style of composition was somewhere between César Franck and Anton Bruckner, and I enjoyed everything I heard of him. His oeuvre includes four substantial symphonies, chamber music, and an opera, Guercoeur, that's well worth hearing. He may not be of the same level as his more famous contemporary countrymen Debussy, Ravel and Fauré, but he's worth exploring.

Some recommended works: symphonies 3 and 4, the string quartet, and the aforementioned opera.  A good starting CD would be the combination of his two last symphonies on a Naxos disc (Amazon link).

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