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Definition: Dukas, Paul from Philip's Encyclopedia

French composer. His best-known work, the orchestral scherzo The Sorcerer's Apprentice (1897), shows his skilful orchestration and individual style. He also wrote the opera Ariane et Barbe-Bleue (1907).


Summary Article: Dukas, Paul Abraham from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

French composer and teacher. His scrupulous orchestration and chromatically enriched harmonies were admired by Debussy. He wrote very little, composing slowly and with extreme care. His small output includes the opera Ariane et Barbe-Bleue/Ariane and Bluebeard (1907), the ballet La Péri/The Peri (1912), and the animated orchestral scherzo L'Apprenti sorcier/The Sorcerer's Apprentice (1897).

Dukas studied at the Paris Conservatory, where his teachers included Théodore Dubois and Ernest Guiraud. He taught the orchestral class there 1910–13 and was then appointed professor of composition; in 1926 he also began teaching at the École Normale, and held both posts until his death. Among his pupils at the Conservatory was Olivier Messiaen.

He wrote very little, composing slowly and with extreme care. His opera Ariane et Barbe-Bleue is among the finest French operas of its day, premiered four years before Bartók wrote Duke Bluebeard's Castle (1918).

WorksStage opera Ariane et Barbe-Bleue (Maeterlinck; 1907); ballet La Péri (1912).

Orchestral symphony in C major (1896), overture to Corneille's Polyeucte, L'Apprenti sorcier (on Goethe's poem ‘Der Zauberlehrling’; 1897).

Piano sonata in E♭ minor, Variations on a theme by Rameau, Prélude élégiaque on the name of Haydn (1909), La Plainte, au loin, du faune (in memory of Debussy; 1920).

Voice and pianoSonnet de Ronsard (1924) and Vocalise for voice and piano.

ChamberVillanelle for horn and piano.

Other unpublished overtures to Shakespeare's King Lear and Goethe's Götz von Berlichingen.

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