Lalo, Eduard Victor Antoine


Distinguished orchestral and concert-room composer. Born at Lille and studied under Baumann at the Conservatory there. He went to Paris in 1858 and played the viola in the Armingaud-Jacquard string quartet. He began to compose with enthusiasm, entering a competition at the Theatre Lyrique in 1867 with his opera, Fiesque, which took a third place. But it has never been performed, something always happening to prevent, even when it once reached rehearsal. Lalo subsequently used much of the music in other works, the ballet music, under the title of Divertissement, was successfully given at the Concert Populaire in 1872. Devoting himself to the composition of instrumental works he next produced for Sarasate a violin concerto in F which was played by him at the Concert Nationale in 1874 and at the London Philharmonic Society later. A Symphonic Espagnole, for violin orchestra, was also played by Sarasate the next year. Lalo had struggled hard for recognition and these two productions gave him his much desired position of first-class composer.

He next composed an allegro symphonique, the overture to his opera, Le Roi d'Ys, a violoncello concerto, and a scherzo for orchestra, all performed in Paris. A serenade and Fantaisie Norvegienne for violin and orchestra was first given in Berlin. His last concert-room compositions of importance were his Rhapsodic Norvegienne and his Concerto Russe. His grand ballet, Namouna, was performed at the Opera in 1882, but being coldly received he rearranged it to a grand orchestral suite in five movements and it scored a great success. Lalo's greatest success, however, came when he was sixty-five years old, with the production of his opera, Le Roi d'Ys. The libretto of this opera had been set to music some years before, but at this time it had been entirely rewritten. Though not a prolific writer, he composed, besides the works already named, a symphony in G minor, an allegro for piano and violoncello, a sonata for the same, a serenade and chanson villageoise for violin and piano, and many songs. Lalo possessed much individuality of style, formed greatly by intense study of Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann, whom he preferred. At this time the French were much opposed to anything Wagnerian, but Lalo recognied his genius and upheld him. Lalo received the decoration of the Legion of Honor in 1880. He died in Paris.