AUGUSTA HOLMÈS (1847 - 1903)
Of acknowledged Irish parentage, although rumour suggested she had been fathered by her godfather, Alfred de Vigny, Augusta Holmès was born in Paris and became a pupil of César Franck. She wrote operas, symphonic poems and dramatic symphonies, and a large number of effective songs. She made a strong impression on many of her contemporaries through her intelligence and beauty and was for many years the mistress of the writer and French champion of Wagner Catulle Mendès, husband of Judith Gautier.
Orchestral and Choral Music/p>
The orchestral compositions of Augusta Holmès include the symphonic poems Irlande, Andromède and Pologne, the symphonic ode Ludus pro patria and the dramatic symphony Les Argonautes. Saint-Saëns, who unwisely and unsuccessfully proposed marriage to her, found some of her orchestral music noisy and over-orchestrated.
Augusta Holmès left some 128 songs, a number of which continue to form part of the repertoire of French song.