Calixa Lavallée

Biography

Born: December 28, 1842   Died: January 21, 1891   Country: Canada  
Nineteenth-century Canadian composer Calixa Lavallée might not be especially well remembered outside the land of his birth, but one of his tunes certainly is, particularly by hockey fans, some of whom unknowingly listen to Lavallée on nearly a nightly basis: Calixa's song O Canada, composed in 1880 to French words by Judge Adolphe-Basile Routhier, was officially named the Canadian national anthem a century later.

Lavallée was born in Ste.
Read more Théodosie de Verchères (later renamed Calixa-Lavallée in his honor), Quebec, in 1842. As a teenager, having received a certain amount of formal musical instruction in Montreal, he worked as a wandering theater musician. His employment during these early years was colorful and varied. He moved to the U.S. for a time and served in a Union band during the Civil War; as an accompanist to a Spanish violinist of moderate fame, he toured North and South America; he was music director of a theater in New York City (the New York Grand Opera House, 1870 - 1872). In 1872, he gathered up enough funds to travel to Paris and enroll at the Conservatoire there, returning to Canada in the mid-1870s with enough credentials to make some waves in the none-too-developed music scene there; unable, however, to make a good living, he went to Boston in the mid-1880s. In America, he was better known as an administrator than as a composer; in particular, he was an active member, and eventually president, of the Music Teachers National Association. Lavallée died less than one month past his forty-eighth birthday; originally buried in Massachusetts, he was later re-buried in Montreal.

The shame of it all is that Lavallée's music is almost all lost. Only a few lighter items -- a comic opera, a Native American melodrama called Tiq, a few songs, and some salon music for piano -- have survived, and so a complete assessment of his merits as a composer is impossible. Had Lavallée's more substantial works, which included two full-scale symphonies, two orchestral suites, and serious choral works, been preserved, he might have been more than a minor figure in music history. Nevertheless, his place in Canadian music history is both significant and secure. Read less
Browse 1-13 of 13 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Sounds Of North: Two Centuries Of Canadian Piano Music
    Label: Gala (Canadian Indie)   Catalog: 108 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  F. Glackemeyer,  George Pfeiffer,  W.H. Warren,  James Paton Clarke  ... 
    Performer:  Elaine Keillor
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  • 2.
    Brass@ge
    Label: Gall (Formerly Gallo)   Catalog: 1302 Release Date: 02/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Etienne Crausaz,  Christophe Sturzenegger,  Allan Stephenson  ... 
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  • 3.
    Stars & Stripes - Canadian Brass Salute America
    Label: Opening Day   Catalog: 7382 Release Date: 05/18/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Philip Sousa,  Traditional,  Samuel Augustus Ward,  George M. Cohan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canadian Brass
    CD: $17.98
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  • 4.
    Strong And Free / True North Brass
    Label: Cd Baby   Catalog: 5637510831 Release Date: 10/16/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Ernest MacMillan,  Alastair Kay,  Malcolm Forsyth,  Jim McGrath  ... 
    Performer:  Alastair Kay,  Stuart Laughton,  Raymond Tizzard,  J. Scott Irvine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  True North Brass
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  • 5.
    Introduction To Canadian Music
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550171 Release Date: 03/01/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Marcelle Deschênes,  Hugh Le Caine,  Mark Duggan,  Denys Bouliane  ... 
    Performer:  Bill Brennan,  Mark Duggan,  Richard Raymond,  David Kent  ... 
    Conductor:  Walter Boudreau,  Bramwell Tovey,  Stephen Chenette,  Alex Pauk  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra,  Esprit Orchestra  ... 
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  • 6.
    National Anthems Of The World / Swarovski Orchestra
    Label: Koch International Classics   Catalog: 7581 Release Date: 07/27/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Mohammed Abdel Wahab,  Enoch Mankayi Sontonga,  Nguyen Van Cao,  Francisco José Debali  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swarovski Orchestra
    CD: $13.99
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  • 7.
    Kiosque 1900 / Trudel, Le Kiosque À Musique
    Label: Atma Classique   Catalog: 22293 Release Date: 01/01/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Calixa Lavallée,  Igor Stravinsky,  Leó Weiner  ... 
    Conductor:  Alain Trudel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kiosque à Musique
    CD: $17.99
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  • 8.
    Canadian Bagpipes And American Brass
    Label: Altissimo   Catalog: 5573 Release Date: 10/29/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Newton,  Gioachino Rossini,  John Stafford Smith,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Mundt,  Roger McGuire,  Ian Webster
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canadian Scottish Regiment Pipes,  USMC Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band,  Canadian Scottish Regiment Pipes and Drums
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  • 9.
    A La Claire Fontaine - Music In Krieghoff's Quebec
    Label: Opening Day   Catalog: 9321 Release Date: 06/29/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Calixa Lavallée,  Traditional,  Henri Gagnon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beckwith Ensemble
    CD: $17.98
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  • 10.
    Millennium Opera Gala At Roy Thomson Hall
    Label: Cbc Sm 5000 Series   Catalog: 5198 Release Date: 11/28/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Calixa Lavallée,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Isabel Bayrakdarian,  Tracy Dahl,  Gino Quilico,  Catherine Robbin  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bradshaw,  Mario Bernardi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toronto Symphony Orchestra,  Toronto Mendelssohn Choir
    CD: $16.99
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  • 11.
    World Anthems
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 63231 Release Date: 06/16/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude-Joseph de Lisle,  John Stafford Smith,  Vincas Kudirka,  Traditional  ... 
    Conductor:  Donald Fraser
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
    CD not available
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  • 12.
    Davies: Opening & Closing Ceremonies Music - XIII Pan American Games
    Label: Lilypad   Catalog: 5999 Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Victor Davies,  Calixa Lavallée
    Performer:  Tracy Dahl,  Henriette Schellenberg,  Fred Penner,  Katherine Lee Raymond  ... 
    Conductor:  Bramwell Tovey
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra,  Combo Latino,  Pan Am Choir
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