Born: 1823, Lille, FranceDied: 1892, Paris France
“I kept the title Symphonie espagnole contrary to and in spite of everybody, first, because it conveyed my thought – that is to say, a violin solo soaring above the rigid form of an old symphony – and then because the title was less banal than those which were proposed to me.”
A violinist/violist and founder of two string quartets, Lalo went against the contemporary grain in France by concentrating on instrumental music. (He did compose several works for the theater, achieving success with the opera Le roi d’Ys only after much struggle.) In the 1870s he wrote several works for violin and orchestra – including the enduringly popular Symphonie espagnole – as well as a cello concerto, followed by a symphony and a piano concerto in the ’80s. Rhythmically vigorous and inclined to vivid colors and folk influences, his orchestral and chamber music created a French alternative to the school of Franck and to the emerging Impressionism.
Further listening:Cello Concerto (1877)Paul Tortelier, City of Birmingham Symphony OrchestraLouis Frémaux (EMI)