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Learn About the French Composer, Jean Gabriel-Marie's Works and Life

Jean Gabriel-Marie: Overview

  • Born: 1852 - Paris, France
  • Died: 1928 - Spain
  • Historical Period: Romantic 
  • Musical Media: Choral, Orchestra, Chamber music, Dance, Keyboard, Songs 

Jean Gabriel-Marie: The French Maestro

Jean Gabriel-Marie was a revered French composer of the Romantic era. He was born in Paris, France in 1852 and after a prolific career passed away in Spain in 1928. Gabriel-Marie started off well on the music scene when he completed his studies at the Conservatoire de Paris, subsequently occupying an important position as a musician. He was also the father of Jean Gabriel, the 20th-century composer born in 1907. 

Gabriel-Marie was a skilled timpanist, and also held the position of chorus master for the Lamoureux Concerts between 1881 and 1887.  In this capacity, he was responsible for the conduction of Société Nationale de Musique’s orchestral concerts between 1887 and 1894. A big admirer of Wagner, Marie visited Bayreuth early on, and also conducted the Sainte-Cecile concerts in Bordeaux. 

He went on to live in Marseille in 1902, where he conducted in winter and also during summer at the Vichy Casino, until he retired in the year 1912. 

Jean Gabriel-Marie's most famous work is La Cinquantaine, composed in 1887 for the cello and piano, as an octet, alongside other arrangements. It gained immense popularity over the decades when it was further exposed by Woody Herman for his orchestra as The Golden Wedding (1940). 

Marie was also responsible for a number of works in dance, most importantly, Sous les firnes or Under the Ash Trees, a waltz, in the year 1884. He was also responsible for the composition of the polka Frais minois. Alongside this, Sérénade Badine added more fame to the composer’s name through its many arrangements, specifically those for the saxophone and piano, or the cello and piano. Additionally, some of his other major works are: 

  • Adagio for violin and piano
  • Cassandre, Bouffonnerie
  • 2 Pieces for cello and piano
  • Renouveau for piano

Jean Gabriel-Marie played an important role in the French musical rise, and as such, contributed a lot to its music. Alongside composing, he was also a musical critique, who used his obvious expertise toward the betterment of other artists and their pieces. 


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