1902 Encyclopedia > Louis Joseph Ferdinand Hérold

Louis Joseph Ferdinand Hérold
(better known as: Ferdinand Hérold)
French musician
(1791-1833)




LOUIS JOSEPH FERDINAND HEROLD (1791-1833), French musician, was born in Paris, January 28, 1791, the son of François Joseph Hérold, an accomplished pianist, who, however, did not at first wish son to adopt the musical profession. It was indeed not till after his father's death that Hérold in 1806 entered the Paris conservatoire, where he studied under Catel and Méhul, one of the leading composers of the time, by whose teaching his pupil profited soon and permanently.

Image of (Louis Joseph) Ferdinand Hérold

(Louis Joseph) Ferdinand Hérold

In 1812 he gained the grand prix de Rome (a travelling scholarship awarded by the French Government to the best pupils of the conservatoire), and according started for Italy, hwere he remained till 1815, and composed a symphony, a cantanta, and several pieces of chamber music. It was also during his stay in Italy that Hérold for the first time ventured on the stage with the opera La Gioventù di Enrico V., first performed at Naples in 1815 with moderated success.

Returning to Paris he had the good fortune to be invited by Boieldieu to participate in the composition of an opera called Charles de France, performed in 1816, and soon followed by Hérold's first French opera, Les Rosières (1817), which was received very favourably.

Of numerous dramatic works which Hérold produced for the next fifteen years in rapid succession it is unnecessary to give a detailed account. Only the names of some of the more important may be mentioned here:-- La Clochette (1817), L'Auteur mort et vivant (1820), Marie (1826), and the ballets La Fille mal gardée (1828) and La Belle au bois dormant (1829). Hérold also wrote a vast quantity of pianoforte music of a more or less ephemeral kind, in spite of his time being much occupied by his duties as accompanist at the Italian opera in Paris.





In 1832 he produced one of the two works which have given immortality to his name, the romantic opera Zampa, which has met with immense success not only in France but also in Germany, where it has kept on the stage to the present day, and is considered Hérold's masterpiece.

In France that eminence is justly accorded to the Le Pré aux Clercs (first performance December 15, 1832), in every way a representative work of the French school, in which French esprit and French chivary find their most perfect embodiment. Grace, liveliness, and true dramatic spirit are Hérold's best qualities, and secure him a prominent place amongst the composers of opéra comique, in the refined sense which has been lost by most composers in modern France.

Hérold died January 19, 1833, of the lung disease from which he had suffered for many years, and the effects of which he accelerated by incessant work.

Tomb of Ferdinand Hérold image

Tomb of Ferdinand Hérold
in Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris







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