Latest uploads:

 

2021-09-18: Pascal: Marche

2021-08-20: Broekhuis

2021-08-19: Loebnitz

2021-07-25: Babin: songs

2021-07-19: Chailley: works

2021-05-28: Conte: Cantata

2021-05-22: Gedalge: Rondo

2021-05-14: Osthoff: Sizilienne

2021-04-14: Flagny: song

2021-03-21: Rifkin: Winter

2021-03-13: Rusakov: Prelude

2021-02-18: Jolivet: 3Temps

...

Jean Conte

Jean Conte was born on 12 May 1830 in Toulouse (France). Conte first attended the Toulouse conservatory. After outstanding results in violin and solfege he was sent to Paris, where he studied violin with Jean-Delphin Alard and Lambert Massart and musical composition with Michele Carafa. During his studies Jean Conte already worked as a conductor at the Theatre des Jeunes Eleves. In 1855 he won the Premier Grand Prix de Rome with his cantata "Acis et Galatee".
After his stay in Rome Jean Conte returned to Paris, but had no success with his new compositions. Therefore he made his living as a teacher at the music school of the Freres de Passy and in 1867 as a violist in the orchestra of the Paris Opera and the Orchestre de la Societe des Concerts du Conservatoire.
Jean Conte died on 1 April 1888 in Paris (France).

 


For a winner of the Premier Grand Prix de Rome the life of Jean Conte was unsuccessful in such a way that Louis Gallet, the librettist of Jean Conte‘s opera „Beppo“ (1874), wrote a long tragic memorial on him which was published in 1890 in two issues of „Le Menestrel“ (No. 39&40).
 

In his article Louis Gallet first bemoans the little output of successful composers from the Grand Prix de Rome in general. But he don‘t question the decisions of the jury of the competition. In his eyes the follow-up support to the stay at the Villa Medici in Rome is insufficient. While painters can create a lot of paintings during their stay and exhibit them later without much help, composers also create many compositions but later need performers to present them. Gallet critises that there is no such support for the composers in France. And so the prize winners come back after some years in the Villa Medici with a bag of compositions, but there are no opportunities to have them performed. And therefore most of the awarded composers cannot continue there intended career:

 

„Et c'est ainsi, pourrait-on dire, qu'en tendant chaque année aux jeunes compositeurs cet appât brillant du prix de Rome, on leur procure le moyen d'aller, durant trois ou quatre ans, se perfectionner, libres de tout souci, dans un art qu'au retour on ne leur donnera pas la possibilité d'exercer.
Il en est qui, philosophiquement, cherchent à s'en consoler: il en est qui fièrement en meurent; il en est, en plus petit nombre, qui s'en vengent: ils se font critiques d'art! Ce sont les plus malheureux.“

 

For Louis Gallet Jean Conte is the prime example of the failed Prix de Rome winner. After returning from Rome with several large compositions, none of them were performed and Jean Conte had to find a different work. He had to become a teacher at a music school and violinist in an orchestra, both works that Jean Conte did not satisfy. Louis Gallet describes him during the rehearsals for „Beppo“ in 1874 as follows:

 

„[..] dépaysé, ses dix-neuf ans de solitude, de silence, de stérilité pesaient évidemment sur lui d'un poids lourd. Il entrevoyait le grand abîme qui s'était, durant ces années, creusé entre lui et le monde présent. Comme le «mélancolique jeune homme» de la complainte, il méditait sur les tristes contretemps de la carrière et sur la précaire gloire des lauréats.“

 

And Gallet finally describes the minutes of the premiere of „Beppo“ watching Jean Conte behind the stage. He sees Jean Conte hopping, clicking his fingers, kneeling and dancing while watching his opera – supposing that these 2 hours were the best in the whole life of Jean Conte!

 

„Quand elle commença, je vis dans la demi-obscurité de la scène son visage s'illuminer, rayonner d'une félicité immense.
C'était tout un tableau pittoresque, cette ouverture : le carnaval vénitien, le mouvement de la foule, la joie des masques, puis tout à coup, l'Angélus, l'Ave Maria traversant cette gaieté, l'apaisant pour un instant, enfin le paroxysme de la folie succédant à ce calme religieux d'une minute.
Jean Conte suivait toutes les phases de cette scène : il sautillait, faisait claquer ses doigts comme des castagnettes, s'apaisait, se découvrait aux tintements de l'Angélus, faisait le signe de la croix, fléchissait le genou, puis soudainement repartait, esquissant une pirouette. Il était fou de plaisir, de satisfaction intense. Il vivait son oeuvre!
Je crois que dans ces quelques minutes, il a repassé toute sa vie, éprouvé la suprême et exquise jouissance de l'homme qui a donné un corps à son rêve. Il avait traversé près de vingt ans d'une existence humble, laborieuse, peut-être douloureuse, accusant la destinée de ne lui point payer ce qu'elle lui devait. Eh bien, il était payé!“

 

Although winner of the Premier Grand Prix de Rome it seems that Jean Conte fell behind and later sank into oblivion in such a short time that not even a photo exists of him. A tragic life!

But although forgotten Jean Conte composed some dozens works. A work catalogue can be found at the end of this page.

Acis et Galatee

 

In my possession is the autograph manuscript of the full score of the cantata "Acis et Galatee" by Jean Conte. This work won the Premier Grand Prix de Rome in 1855. It remained unpublished, not even a piano reduction nor parts were printed. The premiere of the work took place on 6 October 1855 at the annual public meeting of the Academie des Beaux-Arts. It was performed by Marie Rey, Jean Boulo and Jean Merly under the direction of Pantaleon Battu.

The manuscript in my possession also contains the piano reduction of the cantata "Acis et Galatee", but I decided to typeset the full score and present it here:

Conte_AcisEtGalatee.pdf
PDF-Dokument [2.1 MB]
Acis_et_Galatee_libretto.pdf
PDF-Dokument [42.5 KB]

work catalogue

 

There is so little known about Jean Conte that I would like to share a catalogue of compositions by him. I combined information from libraries for published works with manuscripts I own.

year composition part of my archive
1849

Dieu père et patrie.

Paroles de Etienne Trefeu

(published by Etienne Challiot)

 
1849

Les Plaintes du pêcheur. Mélodie.

Paroles d' Etienne Tréfeu

(published by Etienne Challiot)

 
1850

Le Livret des légendes, pour piano et chant

(published by Etienne Challiot)

 
1852

Adieux à l'Ecosse. Regret.

Paroles de Edouard Tissot

(published by Etienne Challiot)

 
1853

La Marchande de fleurs Romance.

Paroles de A. Fréville

(published by Etienne Challiot)

 
1854

La Danubienne.

Paroles de Togno Fils 

(published by imp. Cayrol)

 
1854

Le Lac des ondines.

Paroles de Paul de Chazot

(published by Etienne Challiot)

 
1854

Myrtha la reine des fleurs. Légende éolienne.

Paroles de Paul de Chazot

(published by Etienne Challiot)

 
1854

Le Palais de Morgane. Legende des Pyrénées.

Paroles de Paul de Chazot

(published by Etienne Challiot)

 
1854

Le Pouvoir de Mab. Légende nocturne.

Paroles de Paul de Chazot

(published by Etienne Challiot)

 
1854

La Ronde des Willis. Légende allemande.

Paroles de Paul de Chazot

(published by Etienne Challiot)

 
1855

Acis et Galatee. Cantata

(unpublished)

Premier Grand Prix de Rome

full score in manuscript

piano reduction in manuscript

1856

Messe solennelle

(unpublished)

 
1857

Isabella di Lara, opera seria.

Parole del signor Gaetano Rossi

(unpublished)

 
1861

Quatre mélodies pour voix de ténor, basse, baryton et soprano.

Paroles de Paul de Chazot

(published by Etienne Challiot)

 
1861

Le sylphe et la châtelaine.

Paroles de P. de Chazot

(published by Etienne Challiot)

 
1862

Collection de fantaisies élémentaires et progressives pour le violon avec accomp. de piano sur des motifs d'opéras

(self-published)

No.4: Anna Bolena, par Donizetti

No.8: La Somnambule, par Bellini

1864

La Fiancee d‘Abydos, opera en trois actes

(unpublished)

The composition was commissioned from the Theatre-Lyrique only among winners of the Prix de Rome. Participants were Adrien Barthe (the later winner), Samuel David, Emile Paladilhe, Theodore Dubois and Jean Conte

piano reduction in manuscript (incomplete)
1865

Méthode de violon élémentaire et progressive

(self-published)

 
1873

4 petits Morceaux pour le violon, très-faciles, à la première position avec accompagnement de piano

(self-published)

No.1 Romance sans paroles

No.3 Berceuse

No.4 Ronde villageoise

1873

Exercices et études mélodiques pour le violon aux positions

(self-published)

 
1873

Fantaisie pour le violon avec accompagnement de piano sur "Don Juan" de Mozart

(self-published)

complete
1874

Beppo. Opéra-comique en un acte

(full score unpublished, only individual songs were published in piano reduction)

Rondo, Air and Valse sur Beppo
1876

La Charité. Hymne.

Paroles de Louis Lecart

(self-published)

 
1876

Duo concertant pour piano et violon sur des airs italiens, composed together with Adrien Barthe

(self-published)

 
1877

4 Morceaux (petits) pour la flûte (très faciles) avec acc. de piano

(self-published)

 
1877

Le Grand Veneur. Légende.

Paroles de Paul de Chazot

(self-published)

 
1877

La Marchande de plaisirs. Chansonnette.

Paroles de Paul de Chazot

(self-published)

 
1877

Ou donc s'en vont les hirondelles? Rêverie.

Paroles de Paul de Chazot

(self-published)

version for tenor or soprano
1877

Valse pour la flûte avec acc. de piano

(self-published)

 
1880

Collection de morceaux faciles et progressifs pour violon avec accomp. de piano

(self-published)

No.1 Menuet
1881

Cocorico. Chant rustique.

Paroles de Paul de Chazot

(self-published)

version for baritone

version for tenor

1883

Huit petits Morceaux pour le violon très faciles à la première position avec accompagnement de piano

(self-published)

No.7 Serenade tyrolienne
1885

Ronde turque pour musique militaire

(published by Evette et Schaeffer)

 
?

Les Chasseurs des Pyrénées. Chasse.

Paroles de Laurent Bénic

(published by Mme V. e Charles Marquerie)

 
?

Le Sylphe et la châtelaine. Légende Moyen age.

Paroles de Paul de Chazot

(published by Etienne Challiot)

 
?

Dies irae

(unpublished)

 
?

Symphony

(unpublished)

 

Part of the musical estate of Jean Conte were also three libretti resp. plays in manuscript:

  • Paimpol et Perinette, opera-comique en un acte
    (manuscript of the libretto)
  • La Belle aux cheveux d‘or
    (manuscript of the libretto)
  • Bilboquet ou Un Voyage en Zig-Zag, pantomime en 6 tableaux, donc un Prologue
    (manuscript of the instructions)

 

The origin and creators of these manuscripts are unknown. But "Paimpol et Perinette" was set to music by Jacques Offenbach in 1855 and performed at the Theatre des Jeunes Eleves - the theatre where Jean Conte worked as a conductor in 1855.

Druckversion Druckversion | Sitemap
© Tobias Broeker