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Lucien-Joseph-Édouard Hillemacher

born: 10 June 1860
died: 2 June 1909
country: France

The two brothers Hillemacher worked and published together in the manner of the frères Goncourts. They adopted the name Paul-Lucien Hillemacher for their collective compositions. Both were students at the Conservatoire: Paul studied with Bazin and was awarded the Prix de Rome in 1876 for his Judith; Lucien studied with Massenet and won the Prix de Rome in 1880 for his cantata Fingal. A number of their stage works were produced at the Opéra, the Opéra-Comique and the Châtelet in Paris, at La Monnaie in Brussels, and a pantomime, One for Two, at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London in 1894. Their Vingt mélodies (1882) is a volume of grace and accomplishment. There are three Armand Silvestre settings, as well as appearances by Hugo, Banville and André Chénier among others. This collection must have seemed a good deal more important to the song enthusiasts of the time (the young Debussy for example) than it appears to the modern musicologist; but in musical terms there is nothing here to indicate that the oblivion of the Hillemachers is a fate deserved—on the contrary, our curiosity about this pair of musical Goncourts is further aroused.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2006
English: Richard Stokes


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