MAURICE EMMANUEL (1862 - 1938)
A pupil of Delibes at the Paris Conservatoire, Maurice Emmanuel also studied a wide range of subjects at the Sorbonne and the École du Louvre. The disapproval expressed by Delibes of an early composition led him to study with Bizet’s friend Guiraud. Having specialised in a study of ancient Greek dance, he was eventually appointed to the Conservatoire as teacher of the history of music, a position he held for 25 years. His interest in earlier music is reflected in his modal musical language.
Emmanuel’s interest in Greek drama is apparent from his two operas based on Aeschylus, Prométhée enchaîné (‘Prometheus Bound’) and Salamine.
Emmanuel’s Trente Chansons bourguignonnes du pays de Beaune (‘Thirty Songs of Burgundy’), based on folksongs of the region, reflect the composer’s interest in material of this kind.
There is a literary basis to Emmanuel’s two symphonies, as there is to his Le Poème du Rhône (‘Poem of the Rhone’), derived from the poet Mistral.
Emmanuel’s chamber music includes a Trio for flute, clarinet and piano, a String Quartet, and the early Cello Sonata that earned such condemnation from Delibes.
Piano music by Emmanuel consists chiefly of six sonatinas, the earlier with programmatic titles and the fourth based on Hindu modes.