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(b Paris, Nov 30, 1813; d Paris, March 29, 1888). French pianist and composer. His real name was Morhange. He was one of the leading piano virtuosos of the 19th century and one of its most unusual composers, remarkable in both technique and imagination, yet largely ignored by his own and succeeding generations.

Of Jewish parentage, Alkan was the eldest of five brothers, all of whom, with an elder sister as well, became musicians under the assumed name Alkan; Napoléon Alkan, the third brother (1826–1910), taught solfège at the Paris Conservatoire for over 50 years. Valentin Alkan’s career at the Conservatoire started brilliantly with a premier prix for solfège at the age of seven. When Alkan was nine Cherubini observed that he was ‘astonishing for his age’ and described his ability on the piano as ‘extraordinary’. He won a premier prix for piano in 1824, for harmony in ...

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Jeremy Drake

(d 1944/5). French music publisher. By acquiring the catalogues of Hachette and especially Benoît, he became the publisher of operas by Auber and Meyerbeer. These, and exclusive rights to Plaisir d’amour, enabled Deiss to publish much modern music including works by Aubert, Harsányi, Koechlin, Schmitt and, in the 1930s and 40s, Rieti, Mihalovici and Milhaud. Though opera, song and piano works formed the bulk of his catalogue, Deiss also published some symphonic and instrumental music, dance music, and music for the cinema and the music hall. Information on his life is lacking, as are precise details of his publishing house, but it is known that he was arrested by the Vichy authorities in France on account of his Jewish ancestry and sent to a German concentration camp where he was executed in ...

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Frank Dobbins

(fl Paris, 1690–1719/20). French music dealer and publisher. It is not known whether he was related to earlier publishers with the same family name, none of whom was apparently involved in music printing. Like other 18th-century music dealers, Henri Foucault was associated with the corporation of haberdashers and jewellers rather than that of the booksellers. He was originally a paper seller, with a shop ‘A la règle d’or’, rue St Honoré, but seems to have branched out from this trade by 28 June 1690, when a condemnation issued by the Conseil d’Etat accused him – in association with the engraver Henri de Baussen – of contravening Christophe Ballard’s royal privilege by publishing ‘divers airs de musique’. Two years later Foucault’s name appears on the title-page of Marais’s Pièces en trio pour les flûtes, violons et dessus de viole, in association with Hurel, Bonneüil and the composer, but he is still designated simply as ‘marchand papetier’. However by ...

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Israeli institution dedicated to the research and propagation of liturgical and para-liturgical Jewish music. It was founded in Jerusalem in 1957 as the Israel Institute for Sacred Music by Avigdor Herzog, a former student of Kodály and Szabolcsi, to study and preserve the musical traditions of the Jewish communities that converged on Israel during the mass immigrations of the 1950s. Herzog, the centre's first director, wanted to preserve these disparate traditions before they were diluted in the melting-pot of modern Israel and so developed the institute on ethnomusicological and educational lines. He recorded the sacred songs of various communities and, under the title Renanot, periodically published leaflets of selected transcriptions, based on Bartók's methods. Working alongside Herzog were Yehoshua Leib Neeman, who published books and records on biblical cantillation and liturgical chants according to eastern European tradition, Meir Shimíon Geshuri, who investigated Hasidic music and Uri Sharvit, who researched Yemenite chants. The institute organized an annual musicological conference and, from ...