Silva, David Poll de
Prolific and original composer; born at St. Esprit, near Bayonne, France. He was taught by his mother and grandmother, who had received musical instruction in Paris from the best masters. Later he became a pupil of Funck at Bordeaux, where his family had settled. In 1854 he went to Paris, where he met Halevy, who advised him to enter the Conservatory for a period of study, but his failing eyesight prevented this, and when he became blind his mother wrote out his works at his dictation. In spite of his affliction De Silva composed a large number of works, including three operas; a ballet, La Sulamite; two oratorios; cantatas and choral works. Among his sacred compositions is a Stabat Mater, which won a prize at Bordeaux in 1871 and which was highly praised; and he wrote two symphonies; much piano and chamber-music; part-songs and songs; and much more that remained in manuscript.