Cahen d’Anvers, Albert (1846-1903)

Composer and pupil of César Franck

Albert Cahen d’Anvers was brought up in a family of bankers. His brothers, Edouard, Raphael and Louis were all into business. Only Albert, considered by his family as an original, one might say marginal, sought a musical career.

A serious student of César Franck, one of the fathers of French modern music, Albert Cahen claims himself, against his family’s wishes, to be a composer.

The creation of the opera “The Venitian” dedicated to Franck inspired this thought to his master: “Monday’s evening has been one of the best musical evenings in my life […] I hoped it would be good but my expectation has been exceeded.”

Lucien Paté, poet and jurist, friend of César Franck and Albert Cahen, inspired melodies for both of them, particularly the poem Lied, set to music and dedicated by César Franck “to my friend Albert Cahen”, and Cahen’ melody “Son âme” (“His soul”) also set in music to a poem by Lucien Paté.

Albert Cahen’s music production is significant. It comprises a mythological poem, Endymion, operas, Dianora, the Vénitien, comic operas, Louisette... a lyrical drama La femme de Claude, ballets Fleur des neiges, La belle au bois dormant, stage music of Victor Hugo’s Burgraves, a Triumphal March written for the 1900’s universal exhibition, music pieces for chamber music...

César Franck’s influence can be seen through a serious concern about harmony, and an obvious sense of good structure in Cahen’s melodies. His corpus of melodies comprises cycles as well as separate melodies, and we can see a great diversity in the contexts and their musical development.

His musical references and his profound devotion to the musical world surrounding him are felt in his whole work, particularly through the many dedications present in his melodies.

Furthermore, in his private hotel, le petit hôtel de Villars, 118 rue de Grenelle, where he lived, Albert Cahen presented concert evenings where all the Parisian famous people of the time gathered, providing a good financial supply for musicians and meeting opportunities for everyone. It is there that the painter Auguste Renoir will make his famous portrait in 1881. (see above)

Look at the CD Albert Cahen d’Anvers - intégrale des mélodies

You may also like

The interpretation of rites

Broadcasted on French radio France Culture, on October 5 & 12, 2014, Marc-Alain Ouaknin invites in his program "Talmudiques" Hervé Roten who (…)

Training of Music Teachers of Paris - 2011

The CFMJ continues its educational action by organising another training day for music teachers in Paris. In the program : a large overview on (…)

The CFMJ at the Festival of Jewish Culture in Paris

Conferences, round table and concerts : find all the events co-organized by the CFMJ at the Festival of Jewish Culture in Paris, on June 29 and (…)

Second summer university of Judeo-Spanish in Paris

7 - 12 JULY 2013 in the Centre Edmond Safra - 6 bis rue Michel-Ange - Paris 16e In July 2012, the first university of Judeo-Spanish, organized (…)

Symposium and concerts Vox Aurea-Via Sacra 2014 - Sacred Jewish music

Sunday September 7th, 2014, 18200 Saint-Armand Montrond Sacred music holds an essential place in Jewish music history. All day long, conferences (…)