André Gedalge


André Gedalge

André Gedalge was an influential French composer, musician, and teacher.

His father always opposed his musical vocation, so his career started off as a bookseller. In 1886 he quit this job to enter the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied with Ernest Guiraud. In the same year, he won the second Prix de Rome.

Bach and Mozart were his great models, and he rejected musical ‘fashions’. His motto was “Pure music” – which should be “neither literature, nor painting”.

He was also a very good teacher – he was a modest man, and his reputation is perhaps better known thanks to the regard his students had for him. He in fact taught Ravel, Rabaud, Enesco, Koechin, Roger-Duchasse, Milhaud, Honegger, F. I. Schmidt and Ibert.



Combien Triste et Longue

Play Recording:

Gedalge’s beautiful setting dates from 1909. The translation used in ‘Combien Triste et Longue’ (‘How Lang and Dreary is the Night’) is by Henri Potez (1863- 1946), a close friend of Auguste Angellier, one of Burns’ most active French translators. Potez worked mainly as a teacher, and published, translated and prefaced over 20 works, including the critical works of Sir Walter Raleigh, and the letters of Denys Lambdin. One of his great interests was regional language and literature.

This is a very unusual choice of text; we have not located any other settings of this text by other European composers.