French composer. Euphrosine (1790) established him as an opera composer, after which he became one of the most notable composers of the Revolution, his greatest success being Joseph (1807).
He became an organist in his home town at the age of ten, and went to Paris in 1778, where Gluck encouraged him to write for the stage. He took piano lessons from Edelmann, and supported himself by teaching until the success of the operas Euphrosine (1790) and Stratonice (1792). On the foundation of the Conservatory in 1795 he became one of its inspectors. His overture Le jeune Henri and operas Uthal and Joseph are notable for their novel instrumental effects.
WorksOperaEuphrosine et Coradin, ou Le tyran corrigé (1790), Cora, Stratonice (1792), Le jeune sage et le vieux fou (1793), Horatius Coclès, Mélidore et Phrosine (1794), La caverne, Doria, Le jeune Henri (1797), Le Pont de Lodi (1797), Adrien, Ariodant (1799), Epicure (with Cherubini), Bion, L'irato, ou L'emporté (1801), Une Folie, Le trésor supposé (1802), Joanna, Héléna (1803), Le baiser et la quittance (with Kreutzer, Boieldieu, and Isouard, 1803), L'Heureux malgré lui, Les deux aveugles de Tolède (1806), Uthal (without violins), Gabrielle d'Estrés, Joseph (1807), Les Amazones, Le Prince Troubadour (1813), L'Oriflamme (with Paer, Berton, and Kreutzer, 1814), La journée aux aventures (1816), Valentine de Milan (unfinished, completed by his nephew Louis Joseph Daussoigne-Méhul (1790–1875).
BalletLe jugement de Paris (with additions from Haydn and Pleyel), La dansomanie (1800), Daphnis et Pandrose (1803), Persée et Andromède (1810)
Other incidental music to Joseph Chénier's Timoléon; Mass for the coronation of Napoleon I (not performed); cantatas Chanson de Roland, Chant lyrique (for the unveiling of Napoleon's statue at the Institut); patriotic songs ‘Chant national du 14 juillet’, ‘Chant du départ’, ‘Chant de retour’; symphony; two piano sonatas.