William Sterling

Cécile Chaminade

Cécile Chaminade, from Fame to Obscurity

In her lifetime Chaminade was celebrated round the world but her reputation has diminished since her death. Her remarkable output ranges from delightful salon pieces to serious chamber, vocal and orchestral works. This course was about the extraordinary life and beautiful music of one of the foremost French composers of the late nineteenth century. She was hailed by none other than Bizet and became celebrated in France, Britain and the USA on her tours. Her music was among the most popular of its time but has since been neglected and largely forgotten. The course followed Chaminade’s life and career chronologically looking at the influences on her music and we heard numerous examples including a selection of her songs and salon piano works as well as her piano sonata, two piano trios, her ballet Callirhoë, Concertstück for piano and orchestra, flute concertino and Mass for two equal voices.

I ran this course at the City Lit in April 2011.

Chaminade chronology and works list

The spreadsheet below was the one I created for the class shwoing the chief events of her life and as comprehensive a list of works as I can mange using all available sources.

Chaminade Life and Works 2011

New Discovery

Whilst researching this course I bought a copy of the piano reduction for Chaminade’s ballet Callirhoë which Donald Mcleod had said was lost when Chaminade was BBC Radio 3’s Composer of the Week joinly with Augusta Holmès in 2008.  For this reason I thought it would be useful to make this available in my website as a PDF which will appear movement by movement below over the next few weeks.

Callirhoe No. 1 Prelude

Callirhoe No. 2 Scherzo

Callirhoe No. 3 Pas des Amphores

Callirhoe No. 4 Entree d’Alcmeon

Callirhoe No. 5 Pas des Escharpes

Callirhoe No. 6 Pas du Voile

Callirhoe No. 7 Orage