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Adolphe Adam

Adolphe Adam, Lithograph, 1850
"Maestro Adolphe Adam".
Photograph. Paris, circa 1855
Detail of Adolphe Adam engraving from the library of the Royal College of Music, London

Adolphe Charles Adam (French: ; 24 July 1803 – 3 May 1856)[1] was a French composer and music critic. A prolific composer of operas and ballets, he is best known today for his ballets Giselle (1841) and Le corsaire (1856, his last work), his operas Le postillon de Lonjumeau (1836), Le toréador (1849) and Si j'étais roi (1852) [n 1] and his Christmas carol Minuit, chrétiens! (1844), later set to different English lyrics and widely sung as "O Holy Night" (1847). Adam was a noted teacher, who taught Delibes[n 2] and other influential composers.

Contents

  • Life and career 1
  • Works 2
  • Media 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Life and career

Adolphe Adam was born in Paris to harmonium under the celebrated opera composer François-Adrien Boieldieu. Adam also played the timpani in the orchestra of the Conservatoire; however, he did not win the Prix de Rome and his father did not encourage him to pursue a music career, as he won second prize.[3]

By age 20, he was writing songs for Paris La dame blanche and made a piano reduction of the score. Adam was able to travel through Europe with the money he made, and he met Eugène Scribe, with whom he later collaborated, in Geneva. By 1830, he had completed twenty-eight works for the theatre.

Adam is probably best remembered for the ballet Giselle (1841). He wrote several other ballets and 39 operas, including Le postillon de Lonjumeau (1836) and Si j'étais roi (1852).

After quarreling with the director of the Opéra, Adam invested his money and borrowed heavily to open a fourth opera house in Paris: the Théâtre National (Opéra-National). It opened in 1847, but closed because of the Revolution of 1848, leaving Adam with massive debts (Théâtre National later was resurrected under the name of Théâtre Lyrique at the Boulevard du Temple). His efforts to extricate himself from these debts include a brief turn to journalism.[1] From 1849 to his death in Paris, he taught composition at the Paris Conservatoire.

His Christmas carol "Cantique de Noël", translated to English as "O Holy Night", is an international favorite, and is said to have been one of the first pieces of music broadcast on radio.[4][5][6]"Cantique de Noel" is based on a poem written by M. Cappeau de Roquemaure. Adam subsequently crafted a melody for the tune that was translated into English by John Sullivan Dwight (1813 - 1893), a Boston, Mass. music teacher and music journalist, as well as co-founder of The Harvard Music Society.

Adam is buried in Montmartre Cemetery in Paris.

Works

Media



Performed by Andrew Mogrelia &
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Courtesy of NAXOS

Problems playing these files? See .

References

Notes

  1. ^ Si j'étais roi, particularly in France is often regarded as his finest work.
  2. ^ Delibes is widely known in the English speaking world for writing The Flower Duet, Lakmé, Coppélia and Sylvia.

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b Randel, Don Michael, ed. (1996). "Adam, Adolphe (Charles)". The Harvard biographical dictionary of music. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press.  
  2. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/adolphe-adam-mn0000394866
  3. ^ - BiographiesOpéretteMusical Theatre magazine (In French)
  4. ^ Early Radio History web-site quoting "Builder of Tomorrows" by Helen Fessenden, 1940, pages 153-154, Accessed 7 December 2010
  5. ^ Cyber Hymnal
  6. ^ Richliano, James (2002). "O Holy Night". Angels We Have Heard: The Christmas Song Stories. Chatham, New York: Star Of Bethlehem Books.  

External links


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