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PALADILHE, Emile, born at Montpellier June 3, 1844; at nine entered the Conservatoire under the protection of Halévy, and studied hard, carrying off the first piano prize in 1857, and the organ-prize and 'Prix de Rome' in 1860. The cantata which won him the latter distinction, 'Le Czar Ivan IV,' he neither printed nor sent to the library of the Conservatoire, doubtless from the consciousness that it was an immature work. The specimens of his composition received by the Institut during his stay in Italy gave a favourable idea of his powers, but on his return to Paris he had great difficulty in obtaining a libretto. A charming song, 'La Mandolinata,' at length drew attention to his merits, and he obtained Coppée's one-act piece, 'La Passant,' which was produced at the Opéra Comique April 24, 1872. Notwithstanding the favourable reception of the music, sung by Mme. Galli-Marie, and Marguerite Priola,[1] three years passed before the appearance of 'L' Amour Africain' (May 8, 1875), in two acts. The libretto of this, though by Legouvé, was not approved, and the music was condemned as laboured. Nevertheless many of the numbers bear traces not only of solid musicianship, but of spontaneous and original melody. Up to the present time Paladilhe's best and most important work is 'Suzanne' (Dec. 30, 1878), an opéra-comique in three acts. Here we find something beyond mere ingenuity in devising effects; the melodies are graceful and refined, and show an unconventionality of treatment which is both charming and piquant. It is much to be regretted that this young composer has hitherto been unsuccessful in finding a really interesting libretto; should he succeed, the French stage will in all probability gain an opera destined to live.

M. Paladilhe has also published detached songs with P.F. accompaniment, marked by flowing and melodious treatment.

[ G. C. ]

App. p.738:

The first important work of Paladilhe's, 'Suzanne,' having had but a moderate success in spite of the merit of its first act, a delicately treated idyll, the young composer turned his attention to the concert-room, and produced a work entitled 'Fragments Symphoniques' at the Concerts Populaires, March 5, 1882. It is a composition of no extraordinary merit, but some of the songs which he wrote at the time are exceedingly graceful. On Feb. 23, 1885, his 'Diana' was brought out at the Opéra-Comique, but only played four times. The libretto was dull and childish, and the music heavy and crude, without a ray of talent or passion. Undismayed by this failure, Paladilhe set to work on a grand opera on Sardou's drama 'Patrie.' Legouvé, who has always shown an almost paternal affection for Paladilhe, and who was anxious to make amends for the failure into which he had led the composer by his libretto of 'L'Amour Africain,' obtained from Sardou the exclusive right of composing the music for Paladilhe. The work was given at the Opéra, Dec. 20, 1886, and at first was successful beyond its merits. His operatic method is that of thirty years ago, and he is deficient in real invention. He has disregarded the course of musical development, and thus, though he is young in years, his style is already old-fashioned. In Jan. 1881 he was decorated with the Légion d'Honneur.

[ A. J. ]


  1. A promising singer who died young.