Lenepveu, Charles Ferdinand


A French composer; born at Rouen. Destined for the law, his inclination was for music. A cantata he composed for the centenary of the Societe d'Agriculture et de Commerce of Caen was so successful that he resolved to devote himself entirely to music. He entered the Paris Conservatory and studied under Ambroise Thomas, Savard and Chauvet. In 1865 his cantata, Renaud dans les jardins d'Armide, won the Grand Prize of Rome, and in 1867 his score of Le Florentin, writen on a poem by St. Georges, took the prize at Rome in a competition offered by the Minister of Fine Arts. At this point, however, Lenepveu rather rested on his laurels and allowed Massenet, Dubois, Guiraud, Bizet and others, who were working hard at symphonic music, to get ahead of him. Upon his return from Rome he resumed his contrapuntal studies with the celebrated Chauvet but produced nothing while awaiting the production of Le Florentin. When this was at last given in 1874 it was unfortunately so unsuccessful that he has since been unable to get any work represented in France. In 1880 he became a professor of harmony at the Conservatory. A grand opera, Valleda, was accepted and produced, in 1882, at Covent Garden, London, with Mme. Patti in the principal part. Following this his next work of importance is a sacred drama, Jeanne d'Arc, which was performed in the Cathedral at Rouen, in 1886. A Hymne Funebre et Triomphale was performed there in 1889, an Ode a Jeanne d'Arc, in 1892, and a requiem in 1893. Since 1894 he has been professor of composition in the Conservatory and in 1896 was elected a member of the Institute. In 1887 he was decorated with the Legion of Honor. A great fault with his music is the amount of noise it contains and it also lacks originality. Among his other compositions are smaller church numbers, melodies, scenes, lyriques and small works for solos, choruses and orchestra, of which the best is Meditation.