Personalities | Luigi Cherubini | Early Romantic | Classical

(Loo-e’-je Ka-roo-be’-ne) 1760–1842
Italian composer and teacher

Cherubini was a dominant figure in French musical life, particularly as a composer of operas, but also as director of the Paris Conservatoire. He studied with Giuseppe Sarti in Bologna and Milan (1778–81) before returning to his native Florence. After a brief period in London, where he composed La finta principessa (‘The False Princess’, 1785) for the Theatre Royal, he settled in Paris in 1786. When the Paris Conservatoire was founded in 1795 he was appointed one of its inspectors, becoming director in 1822. His most successful operas were Médée (‘Medea’, 1797) and Les deux journées (‘The Two Days’, 1800), which expanded the dramatic possibilities of opéra comique. However, his works soon became outmoded, replaced by the grand Romantic operas of Spontini and Meyerbeer; Cherubini’s reputation faded and in the late nineteenth century he was remembered primarily for his treatise on counterpoint, although more recent revivals have led to a re-evaluation of his work.

Recommended Recording:
Requiem in D minor, Symphony in D major, Médée overture, soloists, Czech Philharmonic Chorus & Orchestra (cond) Igor Markevitch (Supraphon)

Introduction | Early Romantic | Classical
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