FÉLICIEN DAVID (1810 - 1876)
Félicien David was a boy chorister in Aix-en-Provence and moved to Paris in 1830 to study at the Conservatoire. There he fell under the influence of the Saint-Simonians, a revolutionary philosophical, religious and social movement that attracted other musicians and artists of the time, becoming their official musician. He travelled with the ‘apostles’ to the Near East, which exerted a strong influence on him, and on his return to France he gradually won a reputation for himself, notably, in 1844, with his ode-symphonie Le désert, and then by other works that continued to display the influence of the Near East.
David’s operas include Lalla-Roukh, based on the poem by Thomas Moore.
Ode-Symphonies and Oratorios
The ode-symphonie Le désert, with its introductory recitations and vividly exotic scenes of desert life, is typical of David’s compositions in this form, which include Christophe Colombe. His oratorio Moïse au Sinai also finds an obvious place for exoticism.
Vocal and Choral Music
David wrote songs of all kinds, in addition to the choral works he wrote for the Saint-Simonians.
Piano music by David ranges from the Saint-Simonian to the exoticism of Mélodies orientales.