Luigini, Alexandre


Luigini, Alexandre

Ballet Égyptien

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Alexandre Luigini – Ballet égyptien, op. 12

(b. Lyons, 9 March 1850 – d. Paris 29 July 1906)


Alexandre Clément Léon Joseph Luigini, who was a French violinist, conductor, and composer of Italian descent, was born and raised into a musical family. His father Joseph Luigini was a composer and conductor of several orchestras, including the Grand Théâtre Orchestra in Lyons, the Théâtre Italien in Paris, the Théâtre Lynque, and the Folies-Dramatiques. Alexandre Luigini’s grandfather, furthermore, had played trumpet with the Grand Théâtre Orchestra in Lyons. Alexandre Luigini went on to study violin and composition at the Paris Conservatoire and later followed in his father’s footsteps when he became the conductor of the Grand Théâtre Orchestra in Lyons in 1877. While serving as conductor of the Grand Théâtre Orchestra, Luigini was appointed as professor of harmony at the conservatory in Lyons, where he founded the Concerts Bellecour and the Concerts du Conservatoire ensembles.

In 1897 Luigini returned to Paris to become the conductor of Paris’ Opéra-Comique. There he led the orchestra in several world premiere performances, including those of Jules Massenet’s Cendrillon (1899) and Camille Erlanger’s Aphrodite (1906). Luigini remained in Paris until his death in 1906.

Ballet égyptien, op. 12
As a composer, Luigini composed numerous ballets and light orchestral music, as well as three string quartets, piano music, and two operas (Les capris de Margot, 1877, and Faublas, 1881). Luigini’s best known composition is Ballet égyptien, op. 12, which was dedicated to the French conductor Jules Pasdeloup (1819-1887) and was first performed in Lyons in 1875. The work consists of eight movements and is scored for two flutes and piccolo, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two cornets, three trombones (or two trombones and tuba), timpani, percussion (including triangle, bass drum, cymbals, and tambourine), two harps, and strings. The main melodic theme, which consists of an alternating eighth note and sixteenth note rhythm in 2/4 time, is introduced in the first movement and is mainly conveyed throughout the piece by the flute and string sections. The ballet displays several characteristics that are typical of late 19th century classical music, such as wide range of dynamics (pp to ff), non-traditional harmonic structure (as the work briefly starts in B-Flat major, shifts to g minor and then explores other alternative keys such as D major), and emphasis on melodic themes.

Ballet égyptien, op. 12 has resulted in the extraction of two different concert suites, with the first suite being the most well-known. The ballet first gained prominence when it was inserted into the second act of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Aida at its 1886 performance in Lyons (with Verdi’s permission) and has additionally been arranged for piano solo, piano duet, piano quartet, and brass band.

Chelsea Hoover, 2021

For performance material please contact Edition Henri Lemoine, Paris.

Vorwort Deutsch lesen > HERE

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