A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Indy, Paul d'

INDY, Paul Marie Théodore Vincent d', born in Paris, March 27, 1851,[1] studied for three years under Diémer, attended Marmontel's class, and learnt harmony and the elements of composition with Lavignac. He then, without having learnt counterpoint or fugue, undertook to write a grand opera, 'Les Burgraves,' which was not finished, and a quartet for piano and strings, which was submitted to César Franck in the hope of overcoming the objections to the musical profession which were expressed by his family. Franck, recognising much promise in the work, recommended the presumptuous youth to study composition seriously. In 1873 d'Indy, who was now a first-rate pianist, entered Franck's organ class at the Conservatoire, where he obtained a second accessit in 1874, and a first in the following year. In 1875 he became chorusmaster under Colonne, and in order to obtain experience of orchestral detail, took the position of second drummer, which he retained for three years, at the end of which time he began to devote himself entirely to composition. He has since been extremely helpful in organizing Lamoureux's concerts and in directing the rehearsals, which have led to such fine results as the performance of 'Lohengrin.' Like many another musician, d'Indy owes the first performance of his works to Pasdeloup, and his overture 'Piccolomini' (Concert Populaire, Jan. 25, 1874) revealed a musician of lofty ideals, whose music was full of melancholy sentiment and rich orchestral colouring. This overture, altered and joined to the 'Camp de Wallenstein' (Société Nationale, 1880), and the 'Mort de Wallenstein' (Concert Populaire, March 14, 1880), forms the trilogy of 'Wallenstein,' a work inspired directly by Schiller, and one of the composer's most remarkable productions. The entire trilogy was performed for the first time at the Concerts-Lamoureux, Feb. 26, 1888. After this he produced a symphony, 'Jean Hunyade,' an overture to 'Antony and Cleopatra,' 'La Forét enchantée,' symphonic ballad after Uhland; a quartet for piano and strings in A; 'La Chevauchée du Cid,' scena for baritone and chorus; 'Saugefleurie,' legend for orchestra; a suite in D for trumpet, two flutes, and string quartet; a 'Symphony' on an Alpine air for piano and orchestra, all of which have been performed at various Parisian concerts. D'Indy has only once written for the stage; a small work, entitled 'Attendez-moi sous l'orme,' was produced at the Opéra Comique on Feb. 11, 1882, with but little success, but he has since made up for its failure by the dramatic legend 'Le Chant de la Cloche,' which gained the prize at the competition of the city of Paris in 1884, and was performed three times in 1886 under Lamoureux's direction. Besides these, d'Indy has written several minor works, a 'lied' for violoncello and orchestra, piano pieces and songs, sacred and secular. He is a serious and thoughtful composer, who does not in the least care to please the public ear. The melodic idea may be sometimes poor and not very striking, but the composer has such a command of the resources of his art as to be able to make the most ordinary phrases interesting. In order to obtain this extraordinary knowledge of technical combinations and of vivid musical colouring, d'Indy, who was at first a follower of Schumann, has borrowed largely from Berlioz's methods; but in conception and general style his 'Chant de la Cloche 'approaches more nearly to Wagner.
[ A. J. ]
  1. Date verified by register of birth.