Gustave Charpentier

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Charpentier, Gustave


Born June 25, 1860, in Dieuze, Lorraine; died Feb. 18,1956, in Paris. French composer and musician. Member of the Institut de France (1912).

In 1887, Charpentier graduated from the Paris Conservatory, where he had studied with J. Massenet. His work developed the traditions of the French lyric opera and the verists. The opera Louise (1900, libretto by the composer), based on the life of a Parisian working woman, achieved great popularity. Charpentier’s other works include the opera Julien (1913), whose music was taken from the symphonic drama La Vie du poéte (1892); the suite Impressions d’ltalie (1890; reworked as a ballet, 1913); and the song cycle Les Fleurs du mal (1895), based on the poems by C. Baudelaire. Charpentier organized festivals of folk music and in 1902 founded a people’s conservatory.


Frantsuzskaia muzyka vtoroi poloviny XIX v.: Sb. perevodnykh rabot. Edited by M. Druskin. Moscow, 1938.
Baser, F. “Gustave Charpentier.” Musica, 1956, no. 4.
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Musicologists have long viewed Gustave Charpentier as a relatively marginal figure of the fin-de-siecle, dwarfed by Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, and Claude Debussy.
Composer Gustave Charpentier was clearly influenced by Italian verismo, both in music style and theme.
Part 4, "Realist Opera" (the book's shortest section), addresses an alternative form of musical progress together with the influence of Emile Zola on Bruneau and bohemian anarchism on Gustave Charpentier.
In "Czech Composers and Verismo," Jan Smaczny examines harmonic and textural influences from the music of Gustave Charpentier, Pietro Mascagni, and Giacomo Puccini on the music of Antonin Dvorak, Janacek, and Richard Rozkosny.