Méhul, Étienne Nicolas

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Méhul, Étienne Nicolas

(ātyĕn` nēkôlä` māül`), 1763–1817, French operatic composer of outstanding importance during the Revolutionary period. Méhul's masterpiece was the biblical opera Joseph (1807). His Euphrosine et Coradin (1790) and Stratonice (1792) were the first operas to be called opéras comiques—signifying at that time not that they contained humorous elements but that they employed spoken dialogue. He was highly original in his orchestration and harmony.

Méhul, Étienne Nicolas

 

Born June 22, 1763, in Givet, France; died Oct. 18, 1817, in Paris. French composer. Member of the Institut de France (1795).

Working in revolutionary Paris, Mehul and other progressive musicians composed music for the masses and organized elaborate festivals. Mehul helped found the Institut National de Musique (later the Conservatoire), and served as its first inspector. In his compositions, the heroic and tragic traditions of C. W. Gluck’s works received new expression. His songs “Campaign Song” and “Song of Victory” were popular. Mehul wrote 45 operas, including Stratonice (1792), Ariodant (1798), and Joseph (1807); music for theater; two symphonies; and other compositions.

REFERENCES

Radige, A. Frantsuzskie muzykanty epokhi Velikoi frantsuzskoi revoliutsii. Moscow, 1934. Pages 162-77. (Translated from French.)
Brancour, R. Mehul. Paris, 1912.