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Today’s Memory – Alexandre Pierre François Boëly

Alexandre Pierre François BoëlyAlexandre Pierre François Boëly

19 April 1785, Versailles – 27 December 1858, Paris

Alexandre Pierre François Boëly  was a French composer, organist, and pianist. Born into a family of musicians, Boëly received his first music lessons from his father, Jean François, who was a countertenor at the  Sainte-Chapelle  in Paris.

Besides mastering the piano and organ, Boëly was also a talented violist.

As the Romantic movement swept through Europe during the 19th century, Boëly was shunned by the official mainstream of musical life in Paris because of his Classical sensibilities and his elitist fidelity to writing serious music. Boëly regarded with distaste the music that was written and feted by many of his contemporaries. The most popular standards during the Napoleonic period were compositions that swelled with patriotism or operatic intensity. Entrenching his reactionary reputation, he used his appointment as organist at Saint Germain l’Auxerrois in 1840 to promote the works of dead composers who were then only scantily appreciated by the public. These included Frescobaldi, Couperin, and most importantly of all, the supposedly impenetrable, unplayable Bach.

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Offertoire pour le jour de Pâques Op. 38, Massimo Gabba


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