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Édouard Lalo

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Édouard (Victor Antoine) Lalo (27 January 1823 - 22 April 1892) was a French composer of Spanish descent.

Born in Lille, he studied first at that city’s conservatoire, and then at the Paris Conservatoire under Hector Berlioz’s old enemy François Antoine Habeneck. For years he worked as a violinist (particularly playing chamber music) and teacher in Paris before gaining fame as a composer, which eventually arrived when he was in his late forties. He died in Paris.

Although Lalo is not one of the most immediately recognized names in French music, his Symphonie Espagnole for violin and orchestra still enjoys a prominent place in violinists’ repertoire. He is also known for other solo works, including his Cello Concerto in D minor, and for his opera Le roi d’Ys (premiered 1888, and based on the same Breton legend which Claude Debussy afterwards, and much more famously, evoked in La Cathédrale Engloutie). His Symphony in G Minor was championed ardently by Sir Thomas Beecham, though few other conductors have shown any interest in the piece. Lalo’s style is notable for strong melodies and colourful orchestration, with a rather Germanic solidity that sets him apart from most of his compatriots.

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