Ernest Guiraud

Ernest Guiraud (French: [giʁo]; 26 June 1837 – 6 May 1892) was a French composer and music teacher born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is best known for writing the traditional orchestral recitatives used for Bizet's opera Carmen and for Offenbach's opera Les contes d'Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann).

Ernest Guiraud
Ernest Guiraud, photograph by G. Camus, ca. 1890.


Guiraud began his schooling in Louisiana under the tutelage of his father, Jean-Baptiste-Louis Guiraud, who had won the Prix de Rome in 1827. At age 15, he set a full-length libretto about King David to music that he and his father had found on a trip to Paris. The result was David, an opera in three-acts, which had a resounding success at the Théâtre d'Orléans in New Orleans in 1853, sealing his future.

In December of the same year, Guiraud sailed back to France to continue his musical education. He studied piano under Marmontel and composition under Halévy at the Paris Conservatoire. Remarkably gifted as a student, he was awarded first prize for piano in 1858. He won the Prix de Rome the next year, notably, the only instance of both father and son obtaining this prize. He became close friends with Camille Saint-Saëns, Emile Paladilhe, Théodore Dubois, and especially Georges Bizet.

Guiraud entered his profession by writing one-act stage works that served as "curtain raisers" for evenings of theatrical entertainment. His first important stagework, Sylvie, which premiered at the Opéra Comique in 1864, was a popular success and established his reputation in Paris. In August 1870, the impact of the Franco-Prussian War hit Paris while his opéra-ballet Le Kobold was only 18 days into its run. All of the theaters closed their doors. Guiraud enlisted in the infantry and fought for France to the war's end in 1871.

Although Guiraud's primary interest was the composition of operas, most of them were not a success. Madame Turlupin (1872) was a succès d'estime, but it was hampered by an old-fashioned libretto. Piccolino, his three-act opéra comique first performed in 1876, represents the peak of his career. An appealing sorrentino sung by Célestine Marié, known as Galli-Marié, and a brilliant and effective ballet entitled Carnaval (a movement from his "First Orchestral Suite") enabled the work achieve a long run. However, the opera was never revived.

After Bizet's death, Guiraud collected Bizet's original scores and arranged the frequently performed L'Arlésienne Suite No. 2. He also arranged twelve numbers from Bizet's opera Carmen into two Carmen Suites. Guiraud is perhaps most famous for constructing the recitatives — both beloved and criticized— that replaced the spoken dialogue in performances of Carmen for more than a century. He also wrote the recitatives and completed the score of Jacques Offenbach's masterpiece Les contes d'Hoffman (The Tales of Hoffmann) which was left unfinished at Offenbach's death. Guiraud's version was very popular but it was not exclusively performed because Offenbach left an enormous number of sketches that various composers and arrangers have used to make their realisations of the opera.

The amount of Guiraud's own musical output is small, probably due to his desire to help his friends as well as demands from his teaching career. Of his compositions in other forms, his ballet Le Forgeron de Gretna Green, given at the Salle Le Peletier of the Paris Opéra (5 May 1873), Caprice for violin and orchestra (1885), and Chasse fantastique, a symphonic poem (1887), are best known. (He also made a popular piano arrangement, for four hands, of Saint-Saëns's Danse macabre.) Beginning in 1876, Guiraud taught at the Paris Conservatoire. He was a founding member of the Société Nationale de Musique and the author of an excellent treatise on instrumentation. In 1891, Guiraud was elected member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts and was appointed professor of composition at the Conservatoire to replace Victor Massé. Guiraud's teaching methods for harmony and orchestration were highly respected and recognized in musical circles. His musical theories had a strong and beneficial influence on Claude Debussy, whose notes were published by Maurice Emmanuel in his book devoted to Pelléas et Mélisande. André Bloch, Mélanie Bonis, Paul Dukas, Achille Fortier, André Gedalge and Erik Satie are also counted among his students.

Guiraud devoted the years 1891 and 1892 to completing the orchestration for Kassya, a five-act opera by Léo Delibes. However, it was left unfinished due to his own death in Paris at age 54.


  • David, opéra (3 acts, after A. Soumet & F. Mallefille: Le roi David), first performed (f.p.) 14 April 1853, Théâtre d'Orléans, New Orleans, USA.
  • Gli avventurieri, melodrama giocoso (1 act), ms. 1861, unperformed.
  • Sylvie, opéra comique (1 act, J. Adenis & J. Rostaing), f.p. 11 May 1864, Opéra-Comique (second Salle Favart), Paris.
  • Le coupe du roi de Thulé, opéra (3 acts, L. Gallet & E. Blau), ms. 1869-69, unperformed.
  • En prison, opéra comique (1 act, T. Chaigneau & C. Boverat), f.p. 5 March 1869, Théâtre Lyrique, Paris.
  • Le Kobold, opéra-ballet (1 act, Gallet & Charles-Louis-Etienne Nuitter), f.p. 26 July 1870, Opéra-Comique (Favart), Paris.
  • Madame Turlupin, opéra comique (2 acts, E. Cormon & C. Grandvallet), f.p. 23 November 1872, Théâtre de l'Athénée, Paris.
  • Piccolino, opéra comique (3 acts, V. Sardou & Nuitter, after Sardou), f.p. 11 April 1876, Opéra-Comique (Favart), Paris.
  • Le feu, opéra (E. Gondinet), incomplete, f.p. 9 March 1879, Paris.
  • Galante Aventure, opéra comique (3 acts, L. Davyl & A. Silvestre), f.p. 23 March 1882, Opéra-Comique (Favart), Paris.
  • Frédégonde, drame lyrique (5 acts, Gallet, after A. Thierry: Les récits des temps mérovingiens), incomplete; Acts 1–3 orch. by Paul Dukas, Acts 4–5 & ballet completed by Camille Saint-Saëns; f.p. 18 December 1895, Opéra at the Palais Garnier, Paris.


  • Sadie, Stanley (Ed.) (1994) [1992]. The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. vol. 2, E-Lom, chpt: "Guiraud, Ernest" by Lesley A. Wright. New York: MacMillan. ISBN 0-935859-92-6.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  • The New York Times, Obituary: Ernest Guiraud, 8 May 1892, p. 5
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Guiraud, Ernest" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 12 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

External links

André Bloch (composer)

André Bloch (14 January 1873, in Wissembourg – 7 August 1960, in Paris) was a French composer and music educator. He studied with André Gedalge, Ernest Guiraud, and Jules Massenet at the Conservatoire de Paris. In 1893 he won the Prix de Rome for his cantata Antigone which used a text by Ferdinand Beissier. The prize enabled him to pursue further studies at the French Academy in Rome. In 1898 he joined the faculty of the Conservatoire de Paris as a professor of harmony. One of his notable pupils at that school was Jehan Alain. He later taught at American Conservatory in Fontainebleau. His private students included the composer Fernand Oubradous.Bloch was known primarily as an opera composer. His first opera, Maida, premiered in 1909, and his last opera, Guignol, was created in 1939 and premiered in 1949 at the Opéra-Comique in Paris. He also composed symphonic works, ballets, chamber music, piano works and chansons.

Auguste Barbereau

Mathurin Auguste Balthasar Barbereau (born 14 November 1799 in Paris – 14 July 1879 ibid) was a French composer and music theorist. He entered the Conservatoire de Paris in 1810 and was awarded numerous times. He was awarded with the Prix de Rome in 1824 for his cantata Agnes Sorel, with text by Pierre-Ange Vieillard, publishing it shortly thereafter. He conducted many orchestras in several theaters, especially the Teatre Italià between 1836-38.

Many times he replaced Anton Reicha, who had been his teacher in the class of composition of the Conservatory. Among his disciples are Ambroise Thomas and Ernest Guiraud. He wrote the score of the opera Les Sybarites de Florence, and took part in a variety of symphonies and concert works, but the real contribution of Barbereau is his theoretical work, among them his Traité d'harmonie Theoretical et pratique (1843-1845), considered the most important scientific work published hitherto on this subject. After this work he published a curious Etude sur l'origine du système musical (Paris, 1852), which gave rise to great controversy. Auguste Barbereau died suddenly in an omnibus in Paris, after he had been teaching at the Conservatory.

Carmen Suite

Carmen Suite may refer to:

Carmen Suites (Bizet/Guiraud), two orchestral suites made by Ernest Guiraud from Georges Bizet's opera Carmen

Carmen Suite (ballet), a one-act ballet to music by Rodion Shchedrin

Carmen Suites (Bizet/Guiraud)

The Carmen Suites are two suites of orchestral music drawn from the music of Georges Bizet's 1875 opera Carmen and compiled posthumously by his friend Ernest Guiraud. They adhere very closely to Bizet's orchestration.

Guiraud also wrote the recitatives for Carmen, and compiled the second of the two suites from Bizet's L'Arlésienne incidental music.

Each of the Carmen Suites contains six numbers. Both suites have been performed and recorded many times.

Claude Debussy

Achille-Claude Debussy (French: [aʃil klod dəbysi]; 22 August 1862 – 25 March 1918) was a French composer. He is sometimes seen as the first Impressionist composer, although he vigorously rejected the term. He was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Born to a family of modest means and little cultural involvement, Debussy showed enough musical talent to be admitted at the age of ten to France's leading music college, the Conservatoire de Paris. He originally studied the piano, but found his vocation in innovative composition, despite the disapproval of the Conservatoire's conservative professors. He took many years to develop his mature style, and was nearly 40 when he achieved international fame in 1902 with the only opera he completed, Pelléas et Mélisande.

Debussy's orchestral works include Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (1894), Nocturnes (1897–1899) and Images (1905–1912). His music was to a considerable extent a reaction against Wagner and the German musical tradition. He regarded the classical symphony as obsolete and sought an alternative in his "symphonic sketches", La mer (1903–1905). His piano works include two books of Préludes and two of Études. Throughout his career he wrote mélodies based on a wide variety of poetry, including his own. He was greatly influenced by the Symbolist poetic movement of the later 19th century. A small number of works, including the early La Damoiselle élue and the late Le Martyre de saint Sébastien have important parts for chorus. In his final years, he focused on chamber music, completing three of six planned sonatas for different combinations of instruments.

With early influences including Russian and far-eastern music, Debussy developed his own style of harmony and orchestral colouring, derided – and unsuccessfully resisted – by much of the musical establishment of the day. His works have strongly influenced a wide range of composers including Béla Bartók, Olivier Messiaen, George Benjamin, and the jazz pianist and composer Bill Evans. Debussy died from cancer at his home in Paris at the age of 55 after a composing career of a little more than 30 years.

Fernand Halphen

Fernand Gustave Halphen (born February 18, 1872 – May 16, 1917) was a French Jewish composer.


Frédégonde is an 1895 French opera (drame lyrique) in five acts with music by Ernest Guiraud, Camille Saint-Saëns, and Paul Dukas and a libretto by Louis Gallet based on Augustin Thierry's Récits des temps mérovingiens (1840).The opera was incomplete upon Guiraud's death in 1892. He had only composed the first three acts (in short score), and these were subsequently fully orchestrated by Paul Dukas. The music for the fourth and fifth acts and the ballet in the third act was composed by Saint-Saens.Frédégonde was premiered by the Opéra at the Palais Garnier in Paris on 18 December 1895. The mise-en-scène was by Alexandre Lapissida, the costumes were designed by Charles Bianchini, and the choreography was by Joseph Hansen. The set designers for Act 1 were Philippe Chaperon and his son, Émile Chaperon; Act 2, Eugène Carpezat; Act 3, Marcel Jambon and Alexandre Bailly; and Acts 4 and 5, Amable.The opera only received nine performances, with the last on 14 February 1896. Guiraud's music was considered foreign to his style, and, although the music by Saint-Saens was deemed better, the result was a work that was very uneven.

Futura Records

Futura Records is a French record company and jazz record label founded in 1969 by Gérard Terronès. Marge Records is a notable subsidiary label.

Guiraud (disambiguation)

Guiraud may refer to:

Guiraud (1070–1123), French bishop of Béziers

Guiraudo lo Ros, Occitan troubador from Toulouse

Alexandre Guiraud (1788–1847), French poet and author

Ernest Guiraud (1837–1892), French composer

Georges Guiraud (1868–1928), French composer and organist

Jean Guiraud (1866–1953), French historian and journalist

Paul Guiraud (1850–1907), French historian

Halina Krzyżanowska

Halina Krzyżanowska(1860, Paris–1937, Rennes) was an internationally renowned Polish-French pianist and composer.

Hedwige Chrétien

Hedwige (Gennaro)-Chrétien (Compiègne, France, July 15, 1859 – 1944) was a French composer. She was appointed a music professor at the Paris Conservatoire in 1889 where she had previously been a student from 1874, studying with Ernest Guiraud. In 1881, she won first prize in harmony, counterpoint and fugue. She also won first prize in piano and in composition in other concours which she entered. She was a prolific composer, yet not much else is known about her life. Her compositions, about 150 in all, consist of pieces for piano, orchestral and chamber works, songs, two ballets and two one-act operas.One of the most extensive collections of her work in the United States is held in the University of Michigan’s Women Composers Collection, which is available on microfilm from there and other libraries.

Henri Büsser

Henri Büsser (Toulouse, 16 January 1872 – Paris, 30 December 1973) was a French classical composer, organist, and conductor.

L'Arlésienne (short story)

L'Arlésienne is a short story, written by Alphonse Daudet and first published in his collection Letters From My Windmill (Lettres de mon moulin) in 1869.On a commission from Léon Carvalho, the author transformed the story in 1872 into a play in three acts and five tableaux with music and chorus. Georges Bizet wrote incidental music for the play's first production on 1 October 1872, at the Vaudeville Theatre (now the Gaumont).The play was not successful and closed after only 21 performances. The music score was later used for two suites of the same name, the first established by Bizet himself in November 1872, the second after Bizet's 1875 death, by Ernest Guiraud.

Another play was originally scheduled for the night of 1 October 1872, but it was withdrawn by the censors at the last minute and L'Arlésienne was substituted. Many of the patrons were less than happy with this change.Daudet's play formed the basis of the Italian opera L'arlesiana (1897), text by Leopoldo Marenco, music by Francesco Cilea.

List of former teachers at the Conservatoire de Paris

This is a partial list of former teachers at the Conservatoire de Paris.

Adolphe Adam (Composition, 1849–1856)

Jean Delphin Alard (Professor of Violin, 1843–1875)

Napoléon Alkan (Professor of solfège, brother of Charles-Valentin Alkan)

Joseph Jean Baptiste Laurent Arban (Cornet, 1869–1874)

Pierre Baillot (Professor of Violin)

Claude Ballif (Professor of analysis)

François Bazin (harmony)

François Benoist (Professor of Organ, 1819–1872)

Jean-Sébastien Béreau (Professor of Orchestra Conducting)

Serge Blanc (violinist)

Marc Bonnehée (singing)

Joseph Bonnet (1884–1944)

Ernest Boulanger, father of Nadia Boulanger

Louis-Albert Bourgault-Ducoudray, (Professor of Music History/Theory, 1878–1908)

Michel Chapuis (organist) (Professor of Organ, 1986–1995)

Olivier Charlier (Professor of Violin)

Luigi Cherubini (Director, 1822–1842)

William Christie (1944– )

Serge Collot (Professor of Viola, 1969–1989)

Adolphe Danhauser (1835-1896)

Daniel Deffayet (Professor of Saxophone, 1968–1988)

Michel Debost (Professor of Flute, 1981–1990)

Lucette Descaves (Professor of Piano, 1941-1976)

Théodore Dubois (Director, 1896–1905)

Marcel Dupré (Professor of Organ, 1926–1955, Director 1954–1956)

Alphonse Duvernoy (Professor of Piano)

Rolande Falcinelli (Professor of Organ, 1954–1986)

Louise Farrenc (Professor of Piano, 1842–1873)

Gabriel Fauré (Director, 1905)

François-Joseph Fétis (1821–1832) (composition and harmony)

César Franck (Professor of Organ, 1872–1890)

Merri Franquin (Trumpet, 1894–1925)

Manuel García

Philippe Gaubert (Professor of Flute, 1920–1931)

Odette Gartenlaub (born 1922)

Eugene Gigout (Professor of Organ, 1911–1925)

Benjamin Godard (1849–1895)

Charles Gounod (composition)

Gabriel Grovlez (Professor of Chamber music 1939–194_)

Alexandre Guilmant (Professor of Organ, 1896–1911)

Ernest Guiraud (1837–1892)

Fromental Halévy (1799–1862)

François-Louis Henry (1786–1855)

Théophile Laforge (Professor of Viola, 1894–1918)

André Lafosse (1890–1975)

Jeanne Loriod (Professor of Ondes Martenot, 1970–2001)

Vincent d'Indy (1851–1931)

Rodolphe Kreutzer (Professor of Violin, 1795–1826)

Jean François Lesueur (1795–1802)

Antoine Marmontel (piano)

Jules Massenet (composition, harmony)

Jules Mazellier (composition)

Olivier Messiaen (Professor of Harmony, 1941, Professor of Composition, 1966)

Darius Milhaud (1892–1974)

Marcel Moyse (Professor of Flute, 1932–1940)

Marcel Mule (Professor of Saxophone, 1942–1968)

Edouard Nanny (1892–1942, Professor of Double Bass)

Yves Nat (pianist, 1890–1956)

Serge Nigg (Professor of Orchestration)

Isidor Philipp (pianist,composer, 1863–1958)

Pierre Pincemaille (Professor of Counterpoint, 1956-2018)

Alberto Ponce Guitar

Jean-Pierre Rampal (Professor of Flute, 1969 –1981)

Henri Reber Professor of Harmony, 1851–1862; Professor of Composition, 1862 –1871)

Pierre Rode (Professor of Violin, 1795–1803)

Paul Rougnon (Professor of music theory, 1873–1921)

Adolphe Sax (Professor of Saxophone, 1858–1871)

Francisco Salvador-Daniel (Briefly director during the Commune of Paris, 1871)

Pierre Sancan (Professor of Piano, 1956–1985)

Pierre Schaeffer (1910–1995)

Nicolas Séjan (Professor of Organ, 1795–1802)

Paul Taffanel (Professor of Flute, 1894–1908)

Ambroise Thomas (Director, 1871–1896)

Paul Vidal

Maurice Vieux (Professor of Viola, 1918– )

Charles-Marie Widor (Professor of Organ, 1890–1896)

Pierre-Joseph-Guillaume Zimmermann

Louis Gallet

Louis Gallet (14 February 1835 in Valence, Drôme – 16 October 1898) was a French writer of operatic libretti, plays, romances, memoirs, pamphlets, and innumerable articles, who is remembered above all for his adaptations of fiction —and Scripture— to provide librettos of cantatas and opera, notably by composers Georges Bizet, Camille Saint-Saëns and Jules Massenet.

Maurice Emmanuel

Maurice Emmanuel (2 May 1862 – 14 December 1938) was a French composer of classical music born in Bar-sur-Aube, a small town in the Champagne-Ardenne region of northeastern France. It was there where he first heard his grandfather's printing press which according to his granddaughter, Anne Eichner-Emmanuel, first gave him the feeling of rhythm.Brought up in Dijon, Marie François Maurice Emmanuel became a chorister at Beaune cathedral after his family moved to the city in 1869. According to his granddaughter, Anne Eichner-Emmanuel, he was influenced by the brass bands on the streets of Beaune and by the "songs of the grape pickers which imprinted melodies in his memory so different from all the classical music he was taught in the academy of music." Subsequently, he went to Paris, and he entered the Paris Conservatoire, where his composition teacher was Léo Delibes. However, Delibes' strong disapproval of his early modal compositions (Cello Sonata, Op. 2, Sonatinas No. 1, Op. 4 and No. 2, Op. 5) caused a rift between them and subsequently caused him to study with Ernest Guiraud also at the Conservatoire. At the Conservatoire he came to know Claude Debussy who was also a pupil there. In addition, he attended the Conservatoire classes of César Franck, about whom he wrote a short book in 1930 (César Franck: Etude Critique).

Emmanuel pursued a notable academic career. He wrote a treatise in 1895 on the music of Ancient Greece, and was appointed professor of the history of music at the Conservatoire in 1909. His students included Olivier Messiaen and Henri Dutilleux. Emmanuel's interests included folksong, Oriental music, and exotic modes — his use of these modes in various of his works had appalled Delibes, who had vetoed his entering for the Prix de Rome. Other appointments included choirmaster at the church of Sainte-Clotilde from 1904 to 1907, assisted by Émile Poillot, during the tenure of organist Charles Tournemire.

The compositions of Emmanuel, seldom heard today even in France, include operas after Aeschylus (Prométhée enchaîné and Salamine) as well as symphonies and string quartets. Probably the creations of his most often performed now are his six sonatines for solo piano, which (like many of his other pieces) demonstrate his eclectic academic interests. The first of the sonatines draws on the music of Burgundy, while the second incorporates birdsong, the third uses a Burgundian folk tune in its finale, and the fourth is subtitled en divers modes hindous ("in various Hindu modes").

Paul Dukas

Paul Abraham Dukas (French: [dykas]; 1 October 1865 – 17 May 1935) was a French composer, critic, scholar and teacher. A studious man, of retiring personality, he was intensely self-critical, and he abandoned and destroyed many of his compositions. His best known work is the orchestral piece The Sorcerer's Apprentice (L'apprenti sorcier), the fame of which has eclipsed that of his other surviving works. Among these are the opera Ariane et Barbe-bleue, a symphony, two substantial works for solo piano, and a ballet, La Péri.

At a time when French musicians were divided into conservative and progressive factions, Dukas adhered to neither but retained the admiration of both. His compositions were influenced by composers including Beethoven, Berlioz, Franck, d'Indy and Debussy.

In tandem with his composing career, Dukas worked as a music critic, contributing regular reviews to at least five French journals. Later in his life he was appointed professor of composition at the Conservatoire de Paris and the École Normale de Musique; his pupils included Maurice Duruflé, Olivier Messiaen, Manuel Ponce, and Joaquín Rodrigo.

Société Nationale de Musique

The Société Nationale de Musique was an important organisation in late 19th/early 20th century France to promote French music and to allow young composers to present their music in public. The motto was "Ars gallica".

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