Henri Rabaud
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1873-11-10
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Henri Rabaud Biography (BBC)

If Rabaud is known at all today, it is mainly through two original works: his symphonic poem Procession nocturne (1899) and his opera Mârouf, savetier de Caire (1914), and via his orchestration of Dolly.

Born in 1873, he belonged to a particularly vigorous generation of French composers who took advantage of the increasing self-confidence of France during the Third Republic to distance themselves from German models. This distancing was not without its problems, and Rabaud had some difficulty in finding a consistent voice.

He came from a highly musical family. His father was a professor of cello at the Paris Conservatoire and his mother had been considered by Gounod for the role of Marguerite at the premiere of Faust. In 1892 Henri entered the Paris Conservatoire, studying composition with Massenet and fugue with André Gedalge. In 1894, at his first attempt, he won the Prix de Rome and spent four years in Rome and in Germany and Austria. The performance of Procession nocturne in 1899 was greeted with an acclaim that was to evade him for the next decade and more. His opera La fille de Roland, premiered at the Opéra-Comique in 1904, was felt to be too gloomy and lasted only 10 performances

Rabaud was a good deal more successful as a conductor, notably at the Opéra from 1908 to 1918, but he reached his apogee as a composer with the delightful Mârouf, savetier de Caire ('Mârouf, cobbler of Cairo'), an opera full of brilliantly exotic orchestration and striking scenic effects. After its premiere at the Opéra-Comique in 1914 it had already reached its 100th performance there in 1923. Without doubt, this success led to his nomination as a member of the Institut in 1918. Two further operas, L'appel de la mer (1924) and Rolande et le mauvais garçon (1934), achieved only limited runs.

Undoubtedly Rabaud's greatest achievement of his latter years was as Director of the Paris Conservatoire (1922-41). The war and Fauré's departure, hastened by general awareness that he was now profoundly deaf, had left the institution in some disarray and the post was widely regarded as a poisoned chalice. Rabaud's firm authority (he declared that 'modernism is the enemy') enabled it to weather the anarchic winds of the 'Silly Twenties'.

Profile © Roger Nichols

Henri Rabaud Biography (Wikipedia)

Henri Rabaud (10 November 1873 – 11 September 1949) was a French conductor and composer, who held important posts in the French musical establishment and upheld mainly conservative trends in French music in the first half of the twentieth century.

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Henri Rabaud Tracks

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Henri Rabaud
La procession nocturne (The Nocturnal Procession)
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La procession nocturne (The Nocturnal Procession)
Gabriel Fauré
Dolly Suite
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Dolly Suite
Henri Rabaud
Solo de concours for clarinet and piano
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Solo de concours for clarinet and piano
Henri Rabaud
Eglogue
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Eglogue
Henri Rabaud
Solo de Concours, Op.10
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Solo de Concours, Op.10
Gabriel Fauré
Dolly Suite, Op. 65
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Dolly Suite, Op. 65
Bryan Hymel, Emmanuel Villaume, Pražská komorní filharmonie & Henri Rabaud
Rolande et la mauvais garcon: Chante, vieux jardin, ta chanson de cigales
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Rolande et la mauvais garcon: Chante, vieux jardin, ta chanson de cigales
Pierre Dervaux, Henri Rabaud & London Philharmonic Orchestra
Marouf, savetier du Caire - opera in 5 acts
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Marouf, savetier du Caire - opera in 5 acts
Henri Rabaud
Mârouf, savetier du Caire: Danses pour orchestre
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Mârouf, savetier du Caire: Danses pour orchestre
Henri Rabaud
Procession Nocturne Op.6
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Procession Nocturne Op.6
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