The Romantic Legacy

late nineteenth to early twentieth century

(Classical Music Map)


I. History of Classical Music  (by John Stanley)
The great composers and their masterworks in MP3 format
Albeniz Borodin Donizetti Hindemith Prokofiev Schutz
Albinoni Brahms Dowland Janacek Puccini Scriabin
Allegri Britten Dvorak Kodaly Purcell Sibelius
Arne Bruckner Falla Leoncavallo Rachmaninov Smetana
Auber Busoni Field Liszt Rameau Strauss J.S.
Bach Byrd Gabrieli Lully Ravel Strauss R.
Barber Carissimi Gershwin Mahler Respighi Stravinsky
Bartok Charpentier Gesualdo Mendelssohn Rimsky-Korsakov Tallis
Beethoven Cherubini Glinka Meyerbeer Rossini Tchaikovsky
Bellini Chopin Gluck Monteverdi Saint-Saens Telemann
Bernstein Clementi Gounod Mozart Scarlatti Verdi
Berwald Corelli Grieg Mussorgsky Schoenberg Victoria
Berlioz Couperin Handel Pachelbel Shostakovich Villa-Lobos
Bizet Debussy Haydn Paganini Schubert Vivaldi
Boccherini Delibes Hildegard Palestrina Schumann Wagner
Orff  "Carmina Burana"
II. History of Jazz

Leo Delibes



Leo Delibes was born in St Germain-du-Val in France. After his father's death in 1838 he was educated by his mother and uncle, learning both to sing and to play the organ. He entered the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 12 and won a first prize two years later. In 1853, aged 17, he became organist of St Pierre de Chaillot in Paris, and obtained his first professional appointment as an accompanist at the Theatre Lyrique. His duties included playing the piano for rehearsals and conducting some rehearsals to lighten the burden of the principal conductor. He held the post at the Theatre Lyrique for ten years. Although he continued his organist's duties until 1871, he was clearly more drawn to the exciting and changeable life of the theatre.

Delibes's first stage work, Deux sous de charbon, was premiered in 1856 and this was the first of many light operettas that he then produced at the rate of one a year for the next 14 years. It was the second of these, Deux vieilles grades, which first caught the imagination of the theatre-going public. It became an enormous success, praised for its witty presentation, its tuneful melodies, and its general lightness of touch.

Delibes was appointed chorus master at the Pans Opera in 1864, a position presenting many new opportunities and experiences. His last operetta, La source (1869), he wrote jointly with the little-known composer Louis Minkus. Delibes' s contribution conspicuously outshone that of his colleague, and served to consolidate an already flourishing reputation as one of Paris's leading theatre composers.

In 1870 Delibes produced what main-believe to be his finest work, the ballet Coppelia. It was an immediate success and has remained one of the best loved of all classical ballets. The sheer spectacle of the work and the natural grace and vivacity it contains show the composer's natural affinity for the medium.

The following year Delibes left his job at the Opera in order to concentrate more fully on composition. From this point on his output decreased in quantity; at the same time it was generally conceived on a larger scale and is of a more complex nature. In 1877 he completed his second full-length ballet, Sylvia. Based on a mythological subject, Sylvia is full of Delibes's characteristic melodic charm, although it has never achieved the popularity of Coppelia.

In 1881 Delibes was made Professor of Composition at the Paris Conservatoire. Two years later, inspired by the vogue for all things oriental, he wrote his most famous opera, Lakme, about the doomed love of an Indian temple-priestess for an English soldier. The exotic and melodic music - including the ever-popular "Flower Duet" sung by Lakme and her friend as they prepare to bathe — is supported by a well-constructed libretto, which ensured a splendid first production at the Opera. The star role (for soprano) allows the performer ample opportunity to show off her accomplishments and the colourful orchestration contributes to a compelling and dramatic work showing stylistic similarity to Carmen, by Delibes's compatriot Bizet.

Above all, Delibes's great gift was for the lightness and humour demanded by the theatre of his time, and the natural spontaneity of his music continues to captivate audiences today.


Leo Delibes



Leo Delibes (1836-1891)



Julie Brown
(with piano)
Ou va la Jeune Indoue

Isabel Liu
Irina Vasileva





















Strauss Richard



Discuss Art

Please note: site admin does not answer any questions. This is our readers discussion only.

| privacy