Born: October 18, 1850; Port Louis, Mauritius
Died: November 16, 1909; Paris, France
Francis Thomé was a celebrated composer in his lifetime who fell into obscurity in the decades following his death. Obituaries carrying news of his passing spoke of Thomé's exceptional gifts as a composer of light stage music and salon pieces. Today there is a renewed interest in the stylish kind of light music Thomé produced and thus his works are experiencing a mild revival of sorts. Still, his compositions usually appear on recordings as partRead more of a collection, and rarely is a disc devoted to his music alone. Indeed, and one searches in vain to find news of an all-Thomé concert or to remember the last time a major stage work of his was produced. That said, his music may be deserving of attention: much of his output divulges a melodic charm and masterly craftsmanship, whether in his numerous etudes and preludes for piano or in his ballets, operettas, or incidental music. Scattered instrumental pieces and songs by Thomé are available on a variety of labels, including Danacord, Centaur, Summit, Capriccio Records, and Pearl.
Francis Thomé was born in Port Louis, Mauritius, on October 18, 1850. He was a musically gifted child and at 16 (1866) enrolled at the Paris Conservatory, where he studied composition under Jules Laurent Duprato and Ambroise Thomas. He also studied piano under Antoine-François Marmontel. Thomé graduated in 1870 and soon established a reputation as a composer of attractive salon music.
In 1886 his operetta Le Baron Fric was presented in Paris and achieved a measure of success. By this time he was already a veteran of ballet as well, with Les noces d'Arlequin (1885) having drawn positive notice in Paris. But Thomé was largely supporting himself as a concert pianist and piano teacher during this time. In fact, he was highly successful in both roles throughout most of his career. That said, his music was not exactly foundering, either. Perhaps his most notable success before the turn-of-the-century was his incidental music for Romeo and Juliette (1890).
Thomé was also gaining notice for his songs, as well as for his chamber music. His 1893 Trio for piano, violin, and cello and his 1901 Violin Sonata were quite popular for a time. Thomé experienced a fair level of success right up to the time of his death in 1909. In fact, his popularity lingered for several decades before his name and works faded. Read less
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