André Messager

Biography

Born: December 30, 1853; Montluçon   Died: February 24, 1929; Paris, France  
André Messager is one of those examples of a musical talent that appears without warning in a non-musical setting. Although his family was affluent (the father prospered as a revenue collector), they did not play music. But they gave him the standard education that included playing piano, and he showed immediate ability and deep interest in it. In 1869, he entered the Neidermeyer music school. His teachers were Fauré and Read more Saint-Saëns, who remained his close friends and supporters. In 1874, he succeeded Fauré as assistant organist at St. Sulpice to Charles-Marie Widor.

In 1876, Messager finished a symphony that won first prize in a competition organized by the French composers' rights organization and was premiered by the Concerts Colonne in 1878. He entered a cantata called Promethée the next year, winning second prize. He began conducting at the Folies-Bergère, where he also wrote some ballets. In order to have more time for these activities, he took a less prestigious and less demanding steady job as organist of the church of St. Paul-St. Louis in 1881. Even so, he accepted an offer in 1882 to become choirmaster of Ste. Marie des Batignolles.

In 1883, he married Edith Clouette (Fauré played organ at the ceremony). The same year, he received a major opportunity: Firmin Bernicat had left an unfinished operetta, François-les-Bas-Bleus. The publisher Enoch commissioned Messager to complete it. The music was charming and a success, giving Messager the opportunity to compose operettas of his own.

He was among the first French musicians to attend the summer Wagner Festival in Bayreuth, a trip that virtually became a pilgrimage for a generation of French musicians. He and Fauré gently satirized this trend (which had immediate stylistic effects in French music) in their jointly composed quadrille for piano duet, Souvenirs de Bayreuth.

Messager became famous for his operettas and other light music; in 1886 he wrote one of his most enduring pieces, the score for the ballet Les deux pigeons. One of his greatest successes was an opera named Madame Chrysanthemum (1893), based on a story by Pierre Loti which was also the basis of Puccini's Madame Butterfly. He became one of the few composers to co-write an opera with his wife; he had divorced his first wife and in 1895 married Dottie Davis, an Irish composer who used the pen name Hope Temple. This opera was only a mild success. The marriage had its share of troubles; the Scots soprano Mary Garden said that he was persistent in wooing her as she was preparing to create the role of Mélisande in Debussy's opera Pélleas et Mélisande, which was premiered under Messager's baton in 1902.

He was also in great demand as a conductor, both in light music and the operas of Wagner and Mozart in particular. And yet another talent manifested itself when he became a successful administrator. At different times, he headed the Opéra-Comique, the Grand Opera Syndicate at Covent Garden, and the Opéra de Paris. Although this curtailed time available for composition, he continued to write popular stage works. He showed a great deal of adaptability of style during his career. He produced hit operas, operettas, and songs in the late-Romantic style, and in the 1920s, successfully wrote popular songs in the latest chanson/cabaret style. He continued to achieve success into the 1920s and in 1927 was appointed a Commander of the Legion d'honneur. Many of his songs, some of his operettas, and Deux pigeons remain viable and popular, although his serious operas are rarely if ever encountered. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 47 Available Recordings
1 2
  • 1.
    Nuits / Veronique Gens, I Giardini
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 589 Release Date: 04/24/2020   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Guillaume Lekeu,  Gabriel Fauré,  Hector Berlioz,  Fernand de La Tombelle  ... 
    Performer:  Véronique Gens
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Giardini
    Recommendation
    CD: $18.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $18.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 2.
    The Frederick Ashton Collection, Vol. 1 / Royal Opera House Orchestra
    Label: Opus Arte   Catalog: 1280 Release Date: 01/25/2019   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  André Messager
    DVD: $39.99
    In Stock
    DVD:  $39.99 Add DVD to Cart

  • 3.
    Messager: Les P'tites Michu / Dumoussaud, Pays de la Loire National Orchestra
    Label: Bru Zane   Catalog: 1034 Release Date: 01/11/2019   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  André Messager
    Conductor:  Pierre Dumoussaud
    Recommendation
    On sale! $42.98
    CD: $36.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $42.98   CD:  $36.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 4.
    Confidence / Behr, Bleuse, Lyon National Opera Orchestra
    Label: Alpha Classics   Catalog: 401 Release Date: 09/28/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Léo Delibes,  André Messager,  Victorin Joncières  ... 
    Performer:  Julian Behr
    Conductor:  Pierre Bleuse
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Opera Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $18.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 5.
    Mirages / Devieilhe
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 565160 Release Date: 11/10/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  André Messager,  Claude Debussy,  Léo Delibes,  Maurice Delage  ... 
    Performer:  Sabine Devieilhe,  Alexandre Tharaud,  Marianne Crebassa,  Jodie Devos
    Conductor:  François-Xavier Roth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Siècles
    Recommendation
    On sale! $18.98
    CD: $16.99
    Special Order
    On sale!   $18.98   CD:  $16.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 6.
    A Portrait / Mesple
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 564154 Release Date: 10/13/2017  
    Composer:  Léo Delibes,  Jules Massenet,  Ambroise Thomas,  Edouard Lalo  ... 
    Performer:  Mady Mesplé
    On sale! $16.98
    CD: $14.99
    Back Order
    On sale!   $16.98   CD:  $14.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 7.
    Faure & Messager: Messe des pecheurs de Villerville - J.S. Bach: Tilge, Hochster, meine Sunden, BWV 1083
    Label: Rondeau Productions   Catalog: 6119 Release Date: 01/27/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  André Messager,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Ania Vegry,  Mareike Morr
    Conductor:  Gudrun Schrofel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arte Ensemble,  Hannover Female Choir
    CD: $18.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $18.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 8.
    Rhapsody & The Two Pigeons / Ashton, Wordsworth, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House [Blu-ray]
    Label: Opus Arte   Catalog: 7180 Release Date: 10/28/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  André Messager
    Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
    In Stock
    Blu-ray Video:  $39.99 Add to Cart

  • 9.
    Rhapsody & The Two Pigeons / Ashton, Wordsworth, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House [DVD]
    Label: Opus Arte   Catalog: 1187 Release Date: 10/28/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  André Messager
    Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
    DVD: $29.99
    Low Stock
    DVD:  $29.99 Add DVD to Cart

  • 10.
    Royal Ballet: The Collection
    Label: Opus Arte   Catalog: 7210 Release Date: 10/28/2016   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Adolphe Adam,  Léon Fyodorovich Minkus,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Léo Delibes  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Clark,  Anssi Karttunen
    Conductor:  Boris Gruzin,  Valeriy Ovsyanikov,  Martin Yates,  Koen Kessels  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Max Richter Quintet
    Blu-ray Video: $148.99
    Back Order
    Blu-ray Video:  $148.99 Add to Cart

  • 11.
    Royal Ballet: The Collection [DVD]
    Label: Opus Arte   Catalog: 1222 Release Date: 10/28/2016   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Adolphe Adam,  Léon Fyodorovich Minkus,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Léo Delibes  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Clark,  Anssi Karttunen
    Conductor:  Boris Gruzin,  Valeriy Ovsyanikov,  Martin Yates,  Koen Kessels  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Max Richter Quintet
    DVD: $148.99
    In Stock
    DVD:  $148.99 Add DVD to Cart

  • 12.
    The Two Pigeons: Royal Ballet Gems
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1302 Release Date: 01/22/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  André Messager,  Franz Liszt
    Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Ballet Sinfonia
    Recommendation
    CD: $11.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $11.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 13.
    Sempre Libera / Miah Persson
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 2112 Release Date: 06/09/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Charles Gounod,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Miah Persson,  Katarina Karnéus [Mezzo Soprano Vocals],  Andrew Staples
    Conductor:  Daniel Harding
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
    SuperAudio CD: $19.99
    In Stock
    SuperAudio CD:  $19.99 Add to Cart

  • 14.
    Surrender: Voices Of Persephone / Ilona Domnich
    Label: Signum Classics   Catalog: 419 Release Date: 05/12/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Francis Poulenc,  André Messager,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Ilona Domnich,  Leo Nucci
    Conductor:  Simon Over
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Southbank Sinfonia
    CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 15.
    Paris, Mon Amour / Sonya Yoncheva
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 501720 Release Date: 01/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet,  Giacomo Puccini,  Charles Gounod,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  Sonya Yoncheva
    Conductor:  Frédéric Chaslin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Valencia Community Orchestra
    CD: $12.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $12.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 16.
    Felicity Lott & Thomas Allen In Recital
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4915 Release Date: 12/17/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Johannes Brahms,  Robert Schumann,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Felicity Lott,  Thomas Allen,  Malcolm Martineau
    On sale! $19.99
    DVD: $15.99
    Special Order
    On sale!   $19.99   DVD:  $15.99 Add DVD to Cart

  • 17.
    Messager: Veronique / Thompson, Ohio Light Opera
    Label: Newport Classic   Catalog: 85635 Release Date: 05/07/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  André Messager
    Performer:  Susan Miller
    Conductor:  J. Lynn Thompson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ohio Light Opera
    On sale! $36.98
    CD: $33.99
    Special Order
    On sale!   $36.98   CD:  $33.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 18.
    100 Best Operetta
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 972635 Release Date: 11/19/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Various,  Franz Lehár,  Carl Zeller,  Johann Strauss Jr.  ... 
    Performer:  Mady Mesplé,  Régine Crespin,  Hermann Prey,  Victoria de los Angeles  ... 
    CD: $19.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $19.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 19.
    Messager: Fortunio / Gardiner, Dran, Cachemaille, Dudziak, Opera De Lyon
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 666983 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  André Messager
    Performer:  Sylvie Stewart,  Thierry Dran,  Brigitte Desnoues,  Colette Alliot-Lugaz  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon Opera Orchestra,  Lyon Opera Chorus
    Recommendation
    CD: $18.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $18.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 20.
    50 Best Ballet
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 48438 Release Date: 04/19/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Léon Fyodorovich Minkus,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Aram Khachaturian,  Dmitri Shostakovich  ... 
    Performer:  Christopher Warren-Green,  Robert Truman
    Conductor:  Robert Irving,  John Lanchbery,  André Previn,  Aram Khachaturian  ... 
    CD: $11.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $11.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 21.
    Paul Payan - Recordings 1908-1926
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10182 Release Date: 12/03/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hippolyte Monpou,  Gustave Charpentier,  Jules Massenet,  André Messager  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Payan,  Suzanne Brohly,  Rose Heilbronner,  Georges Régis  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
    In Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 22.
    The Virtuoso Clarinet / Michael Collins, Piers Lane
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10615 Release Date: 10/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alamiro Giampieri,  André Messager,  Darius Milhaud,  Donato Lovreglio  ... 
    Performer:  Piers Lane,  Michael Collins
    Recommendation
    CD: $18.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $18.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 23.
    Frost & Friends - Encores / Martin Frost
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1823 Release Date: 07/27/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Eden Ahbez,  Svante Henryson,  Goran Fröst,  Charles Chaplin  ... 
    Performer:  Svante Henryson,  Torleif Thedéen,  Martin Fröst,  Asa Thedéen  ... 
    Recommendation
    SuperAudio CD: $19.99
    In Stock
    SuperAudio CD:  $19.99 Add to Cart

  • 24.
    50 Best Romantic Classics
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 57555 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Jacques Offenbach,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Georges Bizet,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Ann Murray,  Jessye Norman,  Han-Na Chang,  Maria Callas  ... 
    Conductor:  Sylvain Cambreling,  Leonard Slatkin,  Georges Prêtre,  Wolfgang Sawallisch  ... 
    On sale! $13.98
    CD: $11.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $13.98   CD:  $11.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 25.
    Midsummer Night / Kate Royal
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 68192 Release Date: 06/02/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Erich Wolfgang Korngold,  Bernard Herrmann,  Benjamin Britten,  André Messager  ... 
    Performer:  Kate Royal
    Conductor:  Edward Gardner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English National Opera Orchestra
    Recommendation
    CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

1 2