DÉODAT DE SÉVERAC (1872 - 1921)
Descended from a noble family, Déodat de Sévérac studied first in Toulouse, later moving to Paris to study under Vincent d’Indy at the Schola Cantorum (a rival to the academicism of the Conservatoire). There he took organ lessons from Guilmant and worked as assistant to Isaac Albéniz. He spent much of his life in his native south, a region that attracted a number of his contemporaries—artists and poets he had met in Paris.
Operas by Sévérac include Héliogabale, first performed in the Arena at Béziers in 1910. It was preceded in 1909 by Le Coeur du moulin (‘The Heart of the Mill’), which was mounted at the Opéra-Comique in Paris.
Vocal and Choral Music
Songs by Sévérac include settings of verse in Provençal as well as of poems by Verlaine, Baudelaire and others. Choral music includes settings of texts in the related language of Catalan.
Symphonic poems on the seasons, Autumn and Winter, were written in 1900, while a symphonic poem based on La Fontaine’s fable of the frogs who asked for a king was completed in 1921.
Piano music by Sévérac is often pictorial, as in his Chant de la terre (‘Song of the Earth’), described as a ‘georgic poem’ and depicting a rustic idyll, or the festive pieces in En Languedoc.