Henri Duparc

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Henri Duparc (1848-1943), French composer, had a long life and a short career. He was a composition student of Franck and Vincent D'Indy, was influenced by Wagner, and wrote some chamber music which he destroyed. In his mid-thirties he fell ill with a psychological disorder and never wrote again.

His sole legacy is 17 songs in the French melodie style. They all are of an emotional depth rare in this usually lyrical song-form; beautifully crafted examples of voice and piano and perfectly at one with the – usually intense - texts used. It is on these few miniatures that his fame rests – it is unusual for an anthology or recital of French melodie of his era not to include one or more of his songs.

  • [1] Gerald Souzay, - "L'Invitation au voyage"
  • [2] Dimitri Hvoroskovsky with – "Phidylé"

(These examples were chosen, not only as differing examples of Duparc’s art, but to show the universality of this music – the French lyric baritone Souzay, who died in 2004, is acknowledged as one of the great melodie singers – the Siberian dramatic baritone, Hvoroskovsky, is one of the most sought after operatic performers today, and is usually heard in Tchaikovsky, Verdi or in Russian song. They also show the difference there can be between two baritone voices.)

Reference: “The Grove Concise Dictionary of Music”