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Guy d'Hardelot

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Biography

Guy d’Hardelot (August 1858 – January 7, 1936) was the pen name of Helen Rhodes (nee Helen Guy), a French composer, pianist, and teacher.

d’Hardelot was born Helen Guy at Chateau d’Hardelot, near Boulogne-sur-Mer. This old castle, from which she took her pen name, was once occupied by Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Her father was English and her mother was French.

At the age of fifteen she went to Paris, where she studied at the Conservatoire under Renaud Maury and came under the notice of Gounod and Victor Maurel, who were much impressed with her ability. She also met Jules Massenet, who encouraged her to compose. On coming to London she became a pupil of Clarence Lucas. Emma Calvé was a good friend to d’Hardelot, and did much to bring her songs into notice.

Most of her life, d’Hardelot was engaged in teaching singing and diction at her home in London, and many of her pupils attained success. In 1896 she toured the US with Calvé. Her first real success as a composer was won with “Because”, though her song “Sans Toi” had previously been favorably received. Among her other successes may be mentioned “I Know a Lovely Garden”, “I Think”, “I Hid My Love”, “Dawn”, and “A Bunch of Violets”.

She was singularly successful as a writer of songs, in which she combined French delicacy with English solidity. Few women composers became more popular in the early 20th century than did d’Hardelot, and her success was won on merit alone.

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