Very Rare French Composers

Rare French Composers.

These are relatively unknown composers . I can recommend  the following for exquisite listening:


Decorated violin

Rare Vioiln 1687


  • Henri Vieuxtemps ~ 1820-1881
  • Louis Ganne ~ 1862-1923
  • Guy Robartz ~ 1864-1955
  • Guillaume Lekeu ~ 1870-1894
  • Henri Rabaud ~ 1873-1949
  • Jacques Ibert  ~ 1890-1962
  • Raymond Loucheur ~ 1899-1979
  • Maurice Durufle ~ 1902-1986
  • Jean Francaix ~ 1912-1997
  • Cecile Chaminde ~ 1857-1944
  • Noel Gallon ~ 1891-1966
  • Marthe Chenal ~ 1881-1947 Operatic soprano
  • Camille Chevillard ~1859-1923
  • Raul Pugno ~ 1852-1914
  • Moritz Moszkowski ~ 1854-1925
  • Viktor Capoul ~(1839-1924 operatic Tenor

Composers information:

Henri Vieuxtemps wrote 5 Violin Concertos,the fifth was played and recorded by the great violinist Jascha Heifitz.

Louis Ganne Mainly known for his opera  ‘Les Les Saltimbanques’ (The Acrobats).     (Found in South-western France an original printed music score of this work August 2012)  An aged copy of 5 inner pages, on parchment score paper.

Louis Ganne  Composer

Original music score


Louis Ganne

Louis Ganne Composer's score

The full two page score was printed and in the book Femina as a score sheet for the Ladies to follow.  1st August,1902

Guy Ropartz. A  great friend of  Arthur Honegger who tried to promote Ropartz’s music through recordings by Pathe Marconi. He was orphaned in adolescence but undertook to study law  at Rennes in memory of his father, a lawyer and brilliant historian. He had been attracted to the literary life of Rennes and on arriving in Paris became a a member of the Renan coterie in Montparnasse and published collections of verse. Although he had been composing since adolescence it was not until he struck up a friendship with Vincent d’Indy, that his musical vocation was definitively established.

He studied under Massenet as well as Cesar Franck, who’s works of solid substance inspired him to continue as a composer. This was an ideal he was to share with another great friend the composer Alberic Magnard. Ropartz career can be divided into two stages, first as director at Nancy and later at Strasbourg.

He composed 12 symphonic poems and six symphonies. Only his third symphony has been recorded. It was composed in 1905 with soloists and choir. He should be better known.

Guillaume Lekeu.  He was an exceptionally gifted composer who came from Verviers (Belgium). He was Cesar Franck last pupil. He died very  at the early age of 24 of  typhoid fever. He would have become a major composer. His masterpiece Adagio pour  Quatuor was completed in 1891. It only runs for app. 11 mins but manages to encompass a vast range of  human emotions. His genius is also revealed in his last composition for orchestra,’Fantasie symphonique  sur deux Airs Populaires angevins’. This was finished in 1892. Much of the music is based on folk music from the Anjou region of  France.

Henri Rabaud  He was the son of Hippolyte Raboud  Professor of cello at the Paris Conservatoire. His mother was a singer. His maternal grandfather was a flautist while his great aunt was a famous soprano.He himself became Director of the Conservatoire in 1922 succeeding Gabriel Faure and continued until his retirement in 1941. His most famous work is ‘La Procession Nocturne’ composed in 1899.
 Jacques Ibert. He studied music from an early age and went to the Paris Conservatoire winning the prestigious Prix De Rome at the first attempt, despite having his studies interrupted by the First World War in which he served. He had a successful career writing seven operas,five ballets,much incidental music for plays and films. He is best remembered for his orchestral works Divertissment and Escales.
Raymond Loucheur 
Maurice Durufle
Jean Francaix 

L'Illustree photo 1924

Born in Paris she was taught first by her mother and then various teachers including composer Benjamin Godard who wrote several interesting pieces for violin. She wrote  from an early age and showed Bizet an early work which impressed him very much.She toured France for several years, visiting England in 1892,where she became very popular. She visited the USA in 1908, her works becoming very popular especially the piano pieces. The composer Ambroise Thomas once said of Chaminade ‘ This is not a woman who composes, but a composer who is a woman’. In 1913 she was awarded  the Legion d’Honneur, the first for a woman. In 1903 she made six recordings for the Gramophone company, which are till sought after by collectors. She recorded many piano rolls during the Ist World war.  After the war she composed less and less. She died in 1944.



L'Illustree Photo 1924


A french composer and musical educator. He composed several choral works, vocal art songs plus a toccata for piano a fantasy for piano and orchestra. In 1910 he won the Prix de Rome with his cantata ‘Acis et Galathee’. Among many of his students  were Pierre Dervaux,Maurice Durufle,Henri Dutilleux, Lukas Foss and Olivier Messiaen.





Marthe Chenal    

Mathe Chenal

L'Illustree photo 1924


Marthe Chenal was French operatic soprano singing in many operas between 1905 and 1923. Her career was mainly centered at the Palais Garnier and the Opera Comique in Paris. She excelled in the works of Jules Massenet . She was a very attractive woman.She was dubbed the most beautiful woman in Paris by the press.

She was born in Paris and educated at the Basilique du Sacre- Coeur. She entered the Conservatoire  de Paris in 1901 where she was told to pursue a career outside of music. She however continued to study singing and managed to win top prize in 1905 in the Conservatoire’s singing competition.



Camille Chevillard


L'illustree Photo 1924











Raoul Pugno

Roul Pugno

L'Illustree photo 1924








L’Illustree Photo 1824


Piano  Adv

Advert 1924


The latest in 1924   Pianola-Piano  Paris

Viktor Capoul

Rare French Music Song Scores

This section has evolved from collecting an 1846 French Music Book containing the original front covers, their music song scores and verses. Popular played piano works were the equivalent of today’s chart hits!  Some of these are now forgotten, or have been re-invented with slightly updated versions.  The covers are extremely artistic some showing fun character  drawings and others  depicting fine portraits.


Three verse song

Music song score

Music by Charles Pourney.  Inside info:   A Madamoiselle Minni Palmer (front cover image) with mention of the original performer as Mr. Debailleul of the 15thCentury!  Three verses of Romance.


CoCo song score

Music song score

Posting up a lost Dog! with six verses. Music by Ed. Deransart


Toilet de Soires



Singing you out on a rare Spinet….  Robes de Velours, Turban de gaze cachemire et Toque beret des Magasine de Mme.Roufseau-Leblane.

From the Fashion Journal Messanger Des Dames. (A fashion Journal was published in Paris in 1834-1840 called Le Messager des Salons which could have been also part of this publication.

A later fascinating part of history to this print, quite funny!  A Laboratory in Paris needed to advertise their new pills for Obesites and chose this print for a advertising/publicity campaign to target large ladies.  Perhaps these voluminous dresses were designed to hide the larger figure. The print was given away in the Journal with all the pill details printed on the back.  These ladies did look magnificent whatever their size.