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Henri Duparc

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Henri Duparc (Eugène Marie Henri Fouques Duparc) (January 21, 1848 – February 12, 1933) was a French composer of the late Romantic period.

Duparc was born in Paris. He studied piano with César Franck at the Jesuit College in the Vaugirard district and became one of his first composition pupils. Following military service in the Franco-Prussian War, he married Ellen MacSwinney, from Scotland, on November 9, 1871. In the same year, he joined with Saint-Saëns and Romain Bussine to found the Société Nationale de Musique Moderne.

Duparc is best known for his seventeen songs with texts by poets such as Baudelaire, Gautier, Leconte de Lisle, and Goethe. These pieces are considered by many to be among the greatest compositions by any composer in this form.

A mental illness, called “neurasthenia”, caused him to abruptly cease composing at age 37, in 1885. He devoted himself to his family and his other passions, drawing and painting. However, he began losing his vision after the turn-of the-century. He destroyed most of his music, leaving fewer than 40 works to posterity. In a poignant letter about the destruction of his incomplete opera written on January 19, 1922 to the composer Jean Cras, his close friend, Duparc states:

« Après avoir vécu 25 ans dans un splendide rêve, toute idée de représentation m’était – je vous le répète – devenue odieuse. L’autre motif de cette destruction, que je ne regrette pas, c’est la complète transformation morale que Dieu a opéré en moi il y a 20 ans et qui en une seule minute a abolie toute ma vie passée. Dès lors, la Roussalka n’ayant aucun rapport avec ma vie nouvelle ne devait plus exister. »

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  • shinobi001

    Sad to see such a lonely page. This guy is underrated.

    12 May 2011 Reply

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