André Ernest Modeste Grétry

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Grétry, André Ernest Modeste

 

Born Feb. 8 or 11, 1741, at Liège; died Sept. 24, 1813, in Montmorency, near Paris. French composer. Of Belgian descent. Member of the Institute of France (1795).

Grétry studied music with his father, the violinist François Grétry.and with other musicians of Liège. Between 1759 and 1766 he completed his education in Italy (in 1765, he passed the examination at the Bologna Music Academy). He moved to Paris in 1767. He became an inspector at the Paris Conservatory at the time of its founding (1795).

Grétry’s work, which developed under the influence of the aesthetics of the Encyclopedists, especially J. J. Rousseau, represents a significant stage in the history of French 18th-century comic opera, and prepared the way for French 19th-century lyric opera. Grétry composed about 60 operas (the librettos of many were written by J. F. Marmontel and M. J. Sedaine). including Huron (1768), Lucile (1769). and The Samnite Weddings (2nd ed., 1776). One of Grétry’s popular operas, Richard the Lion-Hearted (1784). anticipates many features of the “salvation opera” genre. He composed operas on national-patriotic and revolutionary themes—Peter the Great (1790), Guillaume Tell (1791), and The Festival of Reason, or the Republic’s Chosen One (1794)—as well as instrumental works (symphonies, quartets, and so on). He wrote several works about music. His Memoirs are a clear example of French sentimentalist aesthetics.

WORKS

Mémoires, ou Essais sur la musique, vols. 1–3. Paris, 1796–97.
In Russian translation:
Memuary, ili Ocherki o muzyke, vol. I. Moscow-Leningrad, 1939.

REFERENCES

Rolland, R. Sobranie muzykal’no-istoricheskikh sochinenii, vol. 4: Muzykanty proshlykh dnei. Moscow, 1938. (Translated from French.)
Levasheva, O. “Opernaia estetika Gretri.” In Klasskheskoe iskusstvo za rubezhom. Moscow, 1966.
Bobillier, M. Grétry, sa vie et ses oeuvres, par M. Brenet {Marie Bobillier). . .. Paris, 1884.
Wichmann, H. Grétry und das musikalische Theater in Frankreich. Halle, 1929.
Degey, M. A. M. Grétry. [Brussels. 1939.]
Marsick, P. L. A. M. Grétry. Brussels. 1944.

S. M. GRISHCHENKO