Personalities | Edouard Lalo | Late Romantic | Classical

(A-dwär La-lo’) 1823–92
French composer

After studies at the Paris Conservatoire, Lalo joined a string quartet, composing salon music and songs. In 1874, after a fallow period, he first achieved success with the Symphonie espagnole (‘Spanish Symphony’, 1874), a scintillating violin concerto whose five movements exude Spanish rhythmic zest and lyricism (he was of Spanish descent). This was followed by the impressive Cello Concerto (1877), the colourful Rapsodie norvégienne (‘Norwegian Rhapsody’) for violin and orchestra (1878), the opera Le roi d’Ys (‘The King of Ys’, 1888), and numerous songs. His finest work is the ballet Namouna (1882), much admired by younger French composers such as D’Indy and Debussy. Among the favourite movements are the atmospheric ‘Serenade’, the ‘Valse de cigarette’ and ‘La sieste’.

Recommended Recording:
Symphonie espagnole, op. 21, Vadim Repin, London SO (cond) Kent Nagano (Erato)

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