Birth: Jun 9, 1865 in Paris
Death: Sep 3, 1914 in Baron, Oise
Alberic Magnard was the son of Francois Magnard, a respected journalist, and from 1879 editor of Le Figaro, one of the premier Parisian daily newspapers. Magnard's mother died when he was four, and his father raised him alone. Magnard's childhood was lonely and isolated, and he bristled at the taunts of others who dubbed him 'le fils du Figaro' (the son of Figaro). Early in life Magnard became determined to make his own way without his father's assistance. Magnard served in the military and by 1887 had taken a law degree, though he never practiced, as the previous year he had decided to devote himself to music after witnessing a performance of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde in Bayreuth.
Magnard entered the Paris Conservatoire, taking composition with Massenet and theory with Dubois. Magnard proved an excellent student, winning first prize in harmony in 1888. Through classmate Guy Ropartz, Magnard entered the circle of musicians surrounding Cesar Franck, meeting Chausson and d'Indy. With d'Indy Magnard embarked on four years' private study in orchestration and fugue. Magnard's first two symphonies and his first opera, Yolande, were composed under d'Indy's direct supervision.
Magnard found his mature voice in the Chant funebre, Op. 9, for orchestra, written as a memorial to his father who had died in 1894. In 1896 Magnard married and composed his most often revived symphony, the Third in B flat minor. Magnard took on a full time position as a teacher of counterpoint at the Schola Cantorum. He also began to experience the partial deafness that was to prove a painful annoyance to him in later years. A concert of Magnard's music, mounted at his own expense in Paris in 1899, met with public approval, as did his 1905 appearance in Berlin, conducting the Third Symphony. Eugen Ysaye and Raoul Pugno adopted Magnard's Violin Sonata and made it a standard feature of their recitals. Otherwise, performances of Magnard's work were few during his lifetime. Magnard disliked self-promotion and the commercial nature of music publishing; from 1904 Magnard printed his own scores. That year he settled into his permanent home at Baron, near Senlis in the Oise. With the advance of the Germans at the start of World War I, Magnard sent his family away, electing to face invaders alone. He shot and killed at least one soldier before the German Army set fire to his estate, and Magnard perished within, along with his manuscripts.
Thus, only his 21 published opus numbers are left to posterity, including two significant operas, Guercoeur (1900) and Berenice (1905), four symphonies and a small amount of chamber music that is of magnificent quality. Opinions are sharply divided as to Magnard's musical style; some writers view him as the last representative of the Franck-d'Indy school, others as sort of a "French Bruckner." The first view contravenes the achievements of Magnard's friend Ropartz and Sylvio Lazzari, among others. The second refers specifically to the motivic development of Magnard's later symphonies and to their rustic scherzi, but likewise this seems wide of the mark. Magnard's music is tightly constructed and deeply emotional yet unsentimental and bears a cosmopolitan regard for European styles, being neither predominantly French nor German, but containing elements of both. In this respect Magnard is closest to his colleague Ferrucio Busoni, though Magnard did not share Busoni's interest in unconventional harmony. Nor did Magnard fully embrace the harmonic innovations fostered by his fellow countrymen Debussy and Ravel. Magnard's style is stubbornly his own, and his contribution occupies a unique position among the French composers working in the late Romantic tradition.
- David Lewis (All Music Guide)
Альберик Маньяр, французский композитор конца XIX - начала XX века, родился в 9 июня 1865 г. Париже. Его отец был известным автором и редактором газеты Фигаро. Имея возможность продолжить работу отца, Маньяр, все-же, решил заняться музыкой, с надеждой лишь на свои способности и талант. После службы в армии и окончания юридической школы, он поступил в Парижскую Консерваторию, где изучал контрапункт с Теодором Дюбуа в классе Жюля Массне. Там, Маньяр встретил Венсана д'Энди, с которым занимался гармонией и полифоническим письмом в течение четырех лет. Две первые Cимфонии Маньяра были созданы под опекой д'Энди (Cимфония No 1 С-moll имеет посвящение д'Энди).
С 1896 г. Маньяр ведет полифоническое отделение в Школе канторов (Schola Cantorum, незадолго до этого основанной дЭнди), и пишет Симфонию No 3 B-flat moll. Произведения с Op.8 по Op.20 были изданы композитором за свой счет.
В 1914 г., во время первой мировой войны, Альберик Маньяр трагически погиб, отказавшись сдавать свое имущество немецкой армии. Во время пожара в доме композитора, погибла и большая часть его рукописей (часть из них, позже была восстановлена).
Музыкальный стиль большинства сочинений Маньяра типичен для современных ему французских композиторов. Иногда (например, в четырех законченных симфониях), он применял музыкальные обороты более характерные стилистике Густава Малера. Использование циклических форм и включение хора, снискали ему прозвище французского Брукнера, но было бы правильнее считать его последователем Сезара Франка. Сохранившееся количество произведений композитора насчитывает немногим более 20-ти опусов.