Albéric Magnard

Biography

Born: June 9, 1865; Paris, France   Died: September 3, 1914; Baron, Oise  
Lucien Denis Gabriel Albéric Magnard was a highly individual and inventive composer who, rather than embracing the new French trend of impressionism, extended his highly Romantic, post-Wagnerian style into Classical forms. His very touchy, misanthropic personality led to his being largely overlooked in his own lifetime, waiting until the end of the twentieth century before he started to attain wide appreciation.

His father was Francis
Read more Magnard, a journalist who became editor of Le Figaro, France's top newspaper, from 1879 to his death in 1894. Magnard's mother died when he was young. He had an easy, upper middle-class background in which musical training for social (not professional) attainment was standard. Eventually, he turned against the ease of his station, not hesitating to show his contempt for his bourgeois class, and seemingly choosing the rougher path whenever the opportunities arose.

After finishing secondary school he lived a monastic life for a while at Ramsgate Abbey in England, did a tour of military service as an officer, and then entered law school back in France. Although he had not demonstrated proficiency at an instrument or as a composer, he decided to make music a career, turning down offers of jobs in journalism from his father or from other journalists who obviously wanted to curry favor with the powerful elder Magnard.

Like many young Frenchmen of the time, Magnard made the pilgrimage to Wagner's theater and shrine at Bayreuth, Bavaria, where he was duly bowled over by Tristan und Isolde. Incidentally, the name he preferred is only coincidentally Wagnerian; it was his godfather's name.

Magnard entered the Conservatoire and studied with Dubois and Massenet. He didn't like either teacher, but he did graduate with first prize in harmony. He met César Franck and studied for four years with Vincent d'Indy. He was highly influenced by their music, which showed a tendency to mix Wagnerian harmony with Classical forms and to rely on cyclic themes (i.e., main musical ideas that recur from one movement to later ones) in their construction. Magnard adopted this sort of form, but initially wrote thickly over-orchestrated music, exemplified by his First Symphony.

He also wrote a one-act opera, Yolanda. It was premiered in 1892 in Brussels, while the First Symphony was first heard in Angers in 1894. He had to endure not-so-quietly whispered innuendos that these works could not make it on their own merits, but were produced solely to curry favor with his powerful journalist father. He did not endure these rumors gracefully, and he developed even more of a tendency to humorlessness and lack of tact and social grace.

In 1894 his father died. Seemingly in reaction to this blow, he wrote his Chant funèbre, a work of powerful but severely restrained emotions that seemed to clarify his artistic direction. In 1896, he became a counterpoint teacher at the Schola Cantorum. In the same year he married Julia Creton, and set to work on his Second Symphony. At the time of his marriage, he wrote for her to play a piano suite called Promenades, which is a rare light-hearted piece from his pen, happily recalling places in Paris they enjoyed together.

Magnard alienated a segment of the public by his reaction to the Dreyfus affair-polarized France. Magnard, disgusted with the Army's blatant anti-Semitism, publicly resigned his reserve commission.

In 1900, he wrote an opera, Guercoeur, a post-Wagnerian work set in legendary times. During his life it received only two separate concert performances of one individual act each. It was not produced on stage or heard in its entirety until April 1931, by which time some parts of it had gone missing and had to be reconstructed by Magnard's friend, the composer Guy Ropartz.

Failure to get Guercoeur produced further embittered Magnard. In addition, he began to go deaf. Much as in the case of Beethoven, this made his exterior even more forbidding. It prompted him to retreat to the quiet and security of his country estate at Baron. In a major career miscalculation, he fired his publisher because he thought it was unseemly to advertise and publicize himself. He self-published his music thereafter. Without an agent and publisher to promote and network his music, he lost opportunities for performance and began to be forgotten except by his strongest advocates. Still, his chamber music received some performance. Another opera, Bérénice, was performed at the Opéra-Comique in 1911, but again fell flat with an unprepared public.

In August 1914, when World War I began, Magnard sent his wife and children west for safety, but he remained at Baron for a while. On September 3, he was working in his study, alone in the house, when he spotted a troop of German cavalry riding on his estate grounds. He seized his old Army rifle and shot two of them dead from his upstairs window. The Germans returned fire and burned down the house, where his body was later found in the ashes. Also lost in the fire were all existing materials for the opera Yolanda, the full score of two acts of Guercoeur and a new set of 12 songs. Read less
Strauss: Ein Heldenleben; Magnard: Chant Funebre
Release Date: 12/11/2015   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8573563   Number of Discs: 1
On sale!
CD: $8.99
In Stock
On sale!     CD:  $8.99 Add CD to Cart

Browse 1-23 of 23 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Concert-Centenaire I / Ingolfsson, Stoupel
    Label: Accentus   Catalog: 303711 Release Date: 02/26/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Rudi Stephan,  Albéric Magnard
    Performer:  Judith Ingolfsson,  Vladimir Stoupel
    CD: $18.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $18.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 2.
    Strauss: Ein Heldenleben; Magnard: Chant Funebre
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8573563 Release Date: 12/11/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Albéric Magnard
    Conductor:  Jean-Claude Casadesus
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lille National Orchestra
    On sale!
    CD: $8.99
    In Stock
    On sale!     CD:  $8.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 3.
    Magnard: Piano Trio Op. 18; Violin Sonata Op. 13 / Triendl, Hornung, Laurenceau
    Label: Cpo   Catalog: 777765 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Albéric Magnard
    Performer:  Geneviève Laurenceau,  Maximilian Hornung,  Oliver Triendl
    Recommendation
    CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 4.
    Autograph – Jose van Dam
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 2564619049 Release Date: 03/10/2015   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Jacques Offenbach,  Hector Berlioz,  Jacques Ibert,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  José van Dam,  Rosalind Plowright,  Jean-Philippe Collard,  Dalton Baldwin  ... 
    Conductor:  Sylvain Cambreling,  Kent Nagano,  Michel Plasson,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brussels Théâtre de la Monnaie Orchestra,  Lyon Opera Orchestra,  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $46.98
    CD: $39.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $46.98   CD:  $39.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 5.
    No Exceptions, No Exemptions / Robin Trischler, Malcolm Martineau
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 401 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Albéric Magnard,  George Butterworth,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Frederick Delius  ... 
    Performer:  Malcolm Martineau,  Robin Tritschler,  Ruth Gibbons
    CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 6.
    Alberic Magnard: Complete Chamber Music
    Label: Timpani   Catalog: 44228 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Albéric Magnard,  Spoken Word
    Performer:  Laurent Wagschal,  Solenne Paidassi,  Camille Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Initium,  Quatuor Élysée (String Quartet)
    CD: $39.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $39.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 7.
    Ernest Ansermet - French Music
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4807898 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 32
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Gugolz,  Marie-Luise de Montmollin,  Nancy Waugh,  Suzanne Danco  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Union Chorale de la Tour-de-Peilz,  Geneva Motet Choir  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $109.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $109.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 8.
    The Complete Arthur Endreze
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 55001 Release Date: 05/01/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Ambroise Thomas  ... 
    Performer:  Arthur Endrèze,  Gaston Micheletti,  René Verdière,  Paul-Henri Vergnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Henri Défosse,  Gustav Cloëz,  François Ruhlmann,  Selmar Meyrowitz
    Recommendation
    CD: $55.49
    In Stock
    CD:  $55.49 Add CD to Cart

  • 9.
    Lalo, Magnard, Ravel: Cello Sonatas / Valentin Radutiu, Per Rundberg
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98654 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edouard Lalo,  Albéric Magnard,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Valentin Radutiu,  Per Rundberg
    CD: $18.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $18.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 10.
    Magnard: Guercoeur / Plasson, Van Dam, Behrens, Lakes
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 59828 Release Date: 06/05/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Albéric Magnard
    Performer:  José van Dam,  Gary Lakes,  Nadine Denize,  Hildegard Behrens
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  Orféon Donostiarra
    CD: $36.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $36.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 11.
    Arthur Endrèze - Recordings 1929-1937
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10078 Release Date: 10/15/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Albéric Magnard,  Ambroise Thomas  ... 
    Performer:  Arthur Endrèze,  Yvonne Gall
    Conductor:  Selmar Meyrowitz,  François Ruhlmann,  Henri Défosse,  Gustav Cloëz
    ArkivCD $16.99
    In Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 12.
    Magnard: Symphony No 2, Etc / Plasson, Capitole De Toulouse
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 49080 Release Date: 02/11/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Albéric Magnard
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Special Order
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 13.
    Magnard: Symphony No 1 & 3 / Plasson, Capitole De Toulouse
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 54015 Release Date: 12/01/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Albéric Magnard
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Special Order
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 14.
    Magnard: The Four Symphonies / Ossonce, Bbc Scottish So
    Label: Hyperion Dyad   Catalog: 22068 Release Date: 01/13/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Albéric Magnard
    Conductor:  Jean Yves Ossonce
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
    Recommendation
    CD: $18.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $18.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 15.
    Piano Dreams
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 516240 Release Date: 11/18/2008   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Albéric Magnard,  Joseph Guy Ropartz,  Déodat de Sévérac,  Erik Satie  ... 
    Performer:  Jean Doyen,  Michel Legrand,  Monique Haas,  Alexandre Rabinovitch  ... 
    Conductor:  Marek Janowski,  Maxim Shostakovich,  James Conlon,  János Rolla  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $34.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $34.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 16.
    Magnard, Lekeu: Violin Sonatas / Muresanu, Ciocarlie
    Label: Ar Re-se   Catalog: 20060 Release Date: 05/09/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Guillaume Lekeu,  Albéric Magnard
    Performer:  Irina Muresanu,  Dana Ciocarlie
    Recommendation
    CD: $18.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $18.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 17.
    The Very Best Of Hildegard Behrens
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 86308 Release Date: 04/26/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Robert Schumann,  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Hildegard Behrens,  Robert Schunk,  David Syrus,  José van Dam  ... 
    Conductor:  Peter Schneider,  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Michel Plasson,  Herbert von Karajan
    On sale! $29.98
    ArkivCD $24.99
    Special Order
    On sale!   $29.98   ArkivCD:  $24.99 Add to Cart

  • 18.
    Magnard, Fauré: String Quartets / Quatuor Ysaÿe
    Label: Aeon   Catalog: 426 Release Date: 04/12/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Albéric Magnard,  Gabriel Fauré
    Performer:  Guillaume Sutre,  Luc-Marie Aguera,  Miguel Da Silva,  François Salque
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ysaÿe String Quartet
    CD: $8.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $8.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 19.
    Chausson, Roussel, Magnard: String Quartets / Via Nova Quartet
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 4613682 Release Date: 05/03/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ernest Chausson,  Albert Roussel,  Albéric Magnard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Via Nova String Quartet
    CD: $8.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $8.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 20.
    A Tour D'anches - Magnard, Schmitt, Francaix / Nield, Et Al
    Label: Altarus   Catalog: 9028 Release Date: 12/19/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Florent Schmitt,  Jean Françaix,  Albéric Magnard
    Performer:  Luciano Magnanini,  Margaret Donaghue,  Luiz Fernando Benedini,  Robert Weiner  ... 
    On sale! $25.98
    CD: $20.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $25.98   CD:  $20.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 21.
    Magnard: Symphonies No 2 And 4 / Sanderling, Malmö So
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 928 Release Date: 03/01/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Albéric Magnard
    Conductor:  Thomas Sanderling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Malmö Symphony Orchestra
    Recommendation
    On sale! $21.99
    CD: $19.99
    Low Stock
    On sale!   $21.99   CD:  $19.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 22.
    Magnard: Symphonies No 1 & 3 / Thomas Sanderling, Malmö So
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 927 Release Date: 09/15/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Albéric Magnard
    Conductor:  Thomas Sanderling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Malmö Symphony Orchestra
    Recommendation
    On sale! $21.99
    CD: $19.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $21.99   CD:  $19.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 23.
    Caplet, Magnard: Quintette / Aura Ensemble
    Label: Thorofon   Catalog: 2375 Release Date: 11/01/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Albéric Magnard,  André Caplet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aura Ensemble
    CD: $22.49
    In Stock
    CD:  $22.49 Add CD to Cart