Messager, André (Charles Prosper)
- John Wagstaff
- and Andrew Lamb
(b Montluçon, Dec 30, 1853; d Paris, Feb 24, 1929). French composer. Following his formal musical education at the Ecole Niedermeyer, and lessons with Saint-Saëns, he succeeded Fauré as organiste de choeur at St Sulpice before beginning a career as a stage composer at the Folies-Bergère in the late 1870s. He had by this time already composed a symphony, been awarded a prize by the Société des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Editeurs de Musique in 1875, and two cantatas, one of which (Don Juan et Haydée) brought him to the attention of Auguste Vaucorbeil, the director of the Paris Opéra, who subsequently commissioned (May 1884) Messager’s ballet Les deux pigeons. Messager’s interest in Wagner also seems to date from the 1870s, probably under the influence of Saint-Saëns and Fauré, with whom he improvised the skittish Souvenirs de Bayreuth, regularly performed as a party piece by the two composers, but probably first conceived around ...