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Summary Article: Chabrier, (Alexis) Emmanuel (1841–1894)
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

French composer. He wrote España (1883), an orchestral rhapsody, and the light opera Le Roi malgré lui/The Reluctant King (1887). His colourful orchestration inspired Debussy and Ravel.

Born in Ambert, Puy-de-Dome, he studied law and was employed at the Ministry of the Interior, but cultivated music as a gifted amateur. Having produced two operettas in 1877 and 1879, he devoted himself entirely to composition. From 1884 to 1885 he was chorus master at the Château d'Eau theatre, where he assisted Charles Lamoureux to produce two acts of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. He also brought out selections from his opera Gwendoline (1885), which was performed as a whole in Brussels, Belgium, in 1886. After the production of Le Roi malgré lui, the run of which was interrupted by the fire of 25 May 1887 at the Opéra-Comique, he came under the influence of Wagner.

A colourful and ebullient figure (characteristics which were reflected in his music), Chabrier was one of the most entertaining letter-writers among French composers.

WorksStage operas Gwendoline (1885), Le Roi malgré lui (1887), and Briséis (unfinished, one act performed Paris, 1897); operettas L'Etoile (1877) and Une Education manquée (1879).

Orchestral rhapsody España (1883) and Joyeuse Marche for orchestra (1888).

VocalLa Sulamite for mezzo, chorus, and orchestra; songs.

Piano ten Pièces pittoresques, Habanera and Bourrée fantasque, and other pieces for piano; three Valses romantiques for two pianos.

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