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 André Caplet

André Caplet

Birth
Le Havre, Departement de la Seine-Maritime, Haute-Normandie, France
Death 22 Apr 1925 (aged 46)
Neuilly-sur-Seine, Departement des Hauts-de-Seine, Île-de-France, France
Burial Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Plot Division 22
Memorial ID 22519877 · View Source
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Composer, Conductor. His very personal style was rooted in French Impressionism but also reflected his profound interest in Medieval plainchant and Catholic mysticism. The oratorio "The Mirror of Jesus" (1923) is considered his masterpiece. Caplet was born in Le Havre, France. A child prodigy in music, he helped support his impoverished family by playing piano in cafes and at age 12 became a rehearsal pianist at his hometown's Folies-Bergeres. When he entered the Paris Conservatory at 18 he was already an experienced and promising conductor. In 1901 Caplet won the Conservatory's coveted Prix de Rome for his cantata "Myrrah", beating out Ravel (who placed third) in the competition. Upon his return from four years of post-graduate study in Italy he guest-conducted the Concerts Lamoureux and at the Paris Opera, where his perfectionism won the admiration of composer (and part-time music critic) Claude Debussy. Caplet became his close friend and assistant, and when Debussy was stricken with cancer he was entrusted with completing the orchestration of "Le Martyre de St. Sebastian" (1911), which he premiered. He also arranged Debussy's piano works "Children's Corner" and "Suite Bergamasque" for orchestra. From 1910 to 1914 he was music director of the Boston Opera. Joining the French Army at the outbreak of World War I, Caplet was wounded twice and exposed to poison gas, injuries which left him a physical wreck but intensified his creative thought. After the war he was mostly too frail to conduct, though he did give the scandalous Paris premiere of Schoenberg's "Five Orchestral Pieces" in 1922, and concentrated on composing and music editing. He died of pleurisy at Neuilly-sur-Seine. Caplet stood apart from his French contemporaries by applying archaic modes to the latest harmonic trends. Eager to develop new sounds, he favored unusual groupings of instruments and explored their solo possibilities in concerto settings; first-rate examples are the "Septet" for vocal trio and string quartet (1909), "Legende" (1918) for saxophone, piano, and orchestra, the "Epiphanie" for cello and orchestra (1923), and "Conte Fantastique" (1924) for harp and strings, based on a tale by Poe. Similar qualities are found in his songs, which are marked by spacious, rhapsodic melodies. Caplet's late music is increasingly original and forward-looking in tonality, making his death at 46 all the more tragic. Today he is best remembered for his collaboration with Debussy, another injustice to a man who was an excellent musician in his own right.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
  • Added: 28 Oct 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 22519877
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for André Caplet (23 Nov 1878–22 Apr 1925), Find A Grave Memorial no. 22519877, citing Cimetiere de Montmartre, Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave .