Clément, (Jacques) Félix (Alfred)
- Elisabeth Lebeau
(b Paris, Jan 13, 1822; d Paris, Jan 23, 1885). French historian and composer. After studying the organ (with Moncouteau) and composition, as well as classics, he decided in 1843 to devote himself to music, and for the next six years held several posts as organist and choirmaster, notably in Paris at the Collège Stanislas and at the Sorbonne. In 1849 he organized concerts of sacred music at the Ste Chapelle, where he conducted 13th-century music which he had discovered and edited himself, though unscholarly arrangements (which were published in several editions) provoked ardent controversy with Théodore Nisard. His official contacts and his report to a government ministry led to the foundation of the Ecole Niedermeyer. Though his various instruction manuals are now superseded, his many historical works retain some scholarly value, in particular his Dictionnaire lyrique, ou Histoire des opéras, published in 1867–81 with Pierre Larousse. This remains a valuable source of information on opera, especially French, but suffers from serious inaccuracies in dates and from a tendency to include as operas other genres such as incidental music; the comments are partisan and include considerable abuse of Wagner. Clément's other publications include editions of religious music, transcriptions of plainsong, and a number of works on non-musical topics. He also composed two operas, choruses for ...