Du salon au front, Fernand Halphen (1872-1917)

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Fernand Halphen, composer, patron and director of military music

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100 years ago, Fernand Halphen died of an illness that he caught at the military front. No one could have guessed that this son of a rich Parisian Jewish family would create and lead for two and one-half years the official orchestra of the North armies. The melodies and the chamber music that he wrote reflect the refined atmosphere of the salons of the 3rd Republic, the golden age of the French melody.

The rich archive holdings that he gathered help us to know with precision the path of a French composer in a time in which Wagner and the Dreyfus Affair prevailed. Close to G. Fauré and a student in the conservatory, where he knew R. Hahn, H. Büsser, A. Cortot, Ch. Koechlin and E. Risler, Halphen before being awarded the 2nd place in the Rome Prize, financially helped musicians throughout his life and even more, provided an important legacy for the students of the Conservatory, one that was supported by his widow Alice.

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