Born: February 19, 1887; Paramé, France
Died: January 9, 1968; Paris, France
French composer Louis Aubert was a native of Brittany and a child prodigy; he entered the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 10. Though his instruction passed through many hands at the Conservatoire, it was the example of Gabriel Fauré that left the deepest impression on Aubert. In youth, Aubert was recognized as a fine boy soprano, but as he gradually lost this facility and instead gained a prodigious ability at the piano. It impressed his olderRead more classmate Maurice Ravel to the extent that the two became lifelong friends, and Aubert gave the first performance of Ravel's Valses nobles et sentimentales (1911), a work dedicated to him. Much of Aubert's mature music is clearly influenced by Ravel while retaining some vestige of late post-romantic French style; though at the very end of his career -- from 1945 onward -- Aubert's harmonic language becomes considerably darker and more exploratory. Aubert composed his last music around 1960, and died in total obscurity at the age of 90.
Louis Aubert's output is dominated by songs and song sets, his earliest setting dating from 1892. He orchestrated many solo songs and/or adapted them into choral works, and after 1933 the choral settings take over completely, continuing into the mid-'50s. Aubert, however, only wrote one opera, La forêt bleu (1910), an adaptation from Charles Perrault. Aubert composed at least three ballets, including Cinéma (1953), a series of musical thumbnail sketches of movie stars, and a small number of orchestral pieces including his Habanera (1918), which became popular in France between the two World Wars. For someone so gifted at the piano, Aubert's production in terms of solo piano may seem disappointingly small, but it includes the transparent and beautiful suite Sillages, Op. 27 (1908-1913), a work that can be said to embody many of the very best qualities of his mature music. Read less