Boulanger, Lili


Boulanger, Lili

Pour les funérailles d’un Soldat for baritone solo, mixed choir and orchestra

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Lili Boulanger – Pour les funérailles d’un soldat

(b. Paris, 21. August 1893 – d. Mézy, 15. March 1918)

Marie Juliette Olga “Lili” Boulanger was a French composer and the first female winner of the Prix de Rome composition prize, which allowed to live in Rome for three to five years, all expenses paid. She came from a very influential musical family, mainly on her father’s side. Her mother, Raissa Myshetskaya (Mischetzky), was a Russian princess, who married her Paris Conservatoire teacher Ernest Boulanger (1815–1900), winner of the 1835 Grand Prix de Rome prize, and famous cellist. Lili’s grandfather, Frédéric Boulanger (1777–?), was a noted cellist and professor of voice at the Paris Conservatory, her grandmother Marie-Julie Boulanger, née Halligner, (1786–1850), was a famous mezzo-soprano at the Théâtre de l’Opéra-Comique in Paris, France. Lili was the younger sister of the famous French conductor, teacher, and composer of Nadia Boulanger (1887–1979). Lili suffered a nearly fatal case of pneumonia, which is believed to be from Crohn’s disease, when she was two years old, after which her immune system was compromised for the rest of her life, causing her to fall ill frequently. Famous French composer, organist, teacher, and family friend, Gabriel Fauré (1845–1924) encouraged Lili’s musical education when he found that she had perfect pitch at aged 2 after giving her piano lessons. She studied at the Paris Conservatoire where she learned organ, piano, violin, cello, and harp, and voice. Lily Boulanger composed 24 pieces during her lifetime. The asteroid Lilith 1181 is named after her, and according to astrological readings, it is representation of feminism, fighting for equality for women, confrontation, unconventionalism, and youth.

Boulanger’s Pour les funérailles d’un soldat was composed in 1912 in Paris, when she was 19 years old; however, she kept making edits until 1915. The composition was an assignment given to her by her composition teacher, Georges Paul Alphonse Emilien Caussade (1873–1936), as a sort of test run for the Prix de Rome competition. She was awarded the Prix Lepaulle for the piece in 1913. This is her earliest surviving choral work, of a total of 8 choral works and 4 choral works after this piece. The text comes from the dramatic poem La Coupe et les Lèvres by Alfred de Musset (1810–1857), which Caussade chose for her to use as part of the assignment. There is no evidence to a specific reason he chose the text. The text is from the fourth act of the poem, where the main character, Captain Frank, is disguised as a monk, wears a mask, and gives the eulogy at his own funeral. …


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Score Data


Repertoire Explorer


Choir/Voice & Orchestra


225 x 320 mm





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