Léo Delibes

Composition Types

Biography

Born: 1836   Died: 1891   Country: France   Period: Romantic
Léo Delibes was the first notable composer of ballet to emerge after the death of Rameau, the art of ballet composition having suffered a period of neglect in the interim. Delibes was the first to craft a full-length ballet score with the care and distinction already common among the best opera composers; not only could he produce buoyant, memorable tunes, but he delivered them in sparkling orchestrations. He also wrote several operas, of which Read more Lakmé -- which generated one popular aria (the "Bell Song") and a now-ubiquitous duet -- is the best known.

Delibes studied at the Paris Conservatory under Adolphe Adam. In 1853, he became accompanist at the Théâtre-Lyrique, moving to the same position at the prestigious Paris Opéra ten years later. His great success as a composer of music for the theater in the 1870s and early 1880s gained him a professorship in composition at the conservatory in 1881, and membership in the French Institute in 1884.

The French did not place much value on instrumental music during Delibes' youth, so the emerging composer concentrated on light-hearted operettas and farces in the manner of Offenbach. His first opportunity to work on a large ballet score came in 1866, when he collaborated with Ludwig Minkus on La Source. The success of this ballet led eventually to commissions for the two works that would again raise ballet music to its highest level: Coppélia (1870), based on a story of E.T.A. Hoffmann, and Sylvia (1876), based on a mythological theme. The former is still produced regularly; both light, graceful works generated concert suites that, although not as common in the concert hall as they might be, have been frequently recorded.

Meanwhile, Delibes honed his skill as an opera composer. Most notable are his opéra comique Le Roi l'a dit (1873) and his more serious, exotic Lakmé (1883). Delibes's church music (he once worked as an organist) has fallen by the wayside, as have most of his colorful songs, with the exception of Les Filles de Cadiz, which exudes the same Franco-Spanish air as Bizet's Carmen.

His most important work, clearly, was for the stage, particularly those two 90-minute ballet scores. Their significance, beyond their own merits, is the direct influence they had on Tchaikovsky, whose mastery of the symphonic ballet owes everything to Coppélia and Sylvia. Read less
Delibes: Lakme / Piantini, Ruffini, Morino, Pratico, Et Al
Release Date: 03/04/2003   Label: Opera D'oro  
Catalog: 1378   Number of Discs: 2
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Delibes: Sylvia & Coppelia Suites, Selections from Lakme & Le Roi s'Amuse / Davis, RPO
Release Date: 04/12/2011   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28730   Number of Discs: 1
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There are 462 Léo Delibes recordings available.

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Composition Types

Léo Delibes


WORKS
Prélude
A l'heure accoutumée
Blanche Dourga, pâle Siva!
Lakmé, c'est toi qui nous protèges
Viens, Mallika, ... Dôme épais (Flower Duet)
Miss Rose, Miss Ellen, respectez les clôtures
Quand une femme est si jolie
Leur vertu si bizarre manque d'apparat
Prendre le dessin d'un bijou... Fantaisie aux divins
C'est elle ... c'est Lakmé
Les fleurs me paraissent ... Pourquoi dans les grands
D'où viens-tu? Que veux-tu?
C'est le dieu de la jeunesse
Entr'acte
Allons, avant que midi sonne
Ils sont assourdissants!
Dances- Terana/Rektah/Persian
Voyez donc ce viellard
Lakmé, ton doux regard se voile
Ah! c'est de ta douleur
Où va la jeune Indoue (Bell song)
La rage me dévore
Au milieu des chants d'allégresse
Le maître ne pense qu'à sa vengeance
Lakmé! Lakmé! C'est toi!
Dans le forêt près de nous
O Dourga, toi qui renais
Voyez cette ville en fête
Entr'acte
Sous le ciel tout étoilé
Quel vague souvenir abourdit ma pensée ...Ah! viens
Là, je pourrai t'entendre ... Desendons la pente
Vivant! Ah! Frédéric!
Ils allaient deux à deux
Tu m'as donné le plus doux rêve
C'est lui! C'est lui!


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