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date: 02 June 2020

Charpentier, Jacqueslocked

  • Alain Louvier


(b Paris, Oct 18, 1933; d Carcassonne, France, June 15, 2017). French composer and organist. In 1953–4 he spent 18 months in Bombay and Calcutta studying Hindu music; he then went to the Paris Conservatoire to study composition with Aubin and analysis with Messiaen. This twin education, in India and France, had a profound influence on his music. The Etudes karnatiques, for example, are each based on one of the 72 Carnatic modes, which embrace all the possible seven-note scales containing intervals of one, two, or three semitones (e.g. karna kangi: C–D♭–E♭♭–F–G–A♭–B♭♭). Most of Charpentier’s works employ these modes. His closeness to Messiaen is well displayed in the harmony, rhythm, organ style, and theology of the Livre d’orgue, composed in honor of the 700th anniversary of the death of St. Thomas Aquinas. The work was played for the first time by the composer at the 1973 Metz Festival. He worked in a wide range of musical genres including opera (...

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