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BONIS, Mel (1858-1937)

Marie-Hélène Bonis was born into a middle-class Parisian family  (her father was a skilled worker) who soon became firmly opposed to her musical ambitions. Although the education of young women in her social milieu included learning the piano, her desire to continue her music studies went against the accepted canons of the time. At the age of twenty, however, she was able to meet César Franck and entered the Paris Conservatoire. Initially she only attended classes as an unregistered student but, in 1878, she was admitted to the accompaniment class where she studied alongside Claude Debussy. She also met another pupil who became the love of her life: the singer Amédée-Landély Hettich. His request for Marie-Hélène’s hand in marriage (1881) caused a family uproar: she was forced to leave the Conservatoire and marry an industrialist (Albert Domange). This marriage produced three children, but the composer remained close to Hettich, with whom she had a daughter in 1899. She began writing music under the pseudonym “Mel” during her years at the Conservatoire, but did not begin composing regularly until the early 20th century. Known mainly for her piano works for two or four hands, she also wrote numerous pieces for organ or harmonium, some twenty art songs, choral pieces, motets, canticles and some fine works of chamber music (including two piano quartets written in 1905 and 1923) which are remarkable for their freedom of form and their subtle harmonies.

    Images - 24
  • Mel Bonis (1901)
  • Mel Bonis (1904)
  • Mel Bonis (à la fin de sa vie)
  • Mel Bonis (années 1900)
  • Mel Bonis (sd)
  • Mel Bonis (vers 1883)
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    Works - 17
  • Barcarolle for piano in E flat major, op. 71 (Mel Bonis)
  • Cathédrale blessée op. 7, La (Mel Bonis)
  • Écho op. 89 et Narcisse op. 90 pour piano (Mel Bonis)
  • Femmes de légende, seven pieces for piano (Mel Bonis)
  • Gitanos, grande valse espagnole for piano, Les (Mel Bonis)
  • Méditation op. 31 (Mel Bonis)
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    Theme - 1
  • Compositrices
  • Symposia - 2
  • Les compositrices au siècle de Pauline Viardot (2013)
  • Mel Bonis (2018)
  • Documents - 63
  • [Catalogue] Catalogue général. Musique Mel Bonis (Pierre Domange)
  • [Catalogue] Liste des morceaux édités (Mel Bonis)
  • [Catalogue] Œuvres complètes de Mel Bonis (Pierre Domange)
  • [Catalogue] Répertoire des œuvres de Mel Bonis déclarées à la Société des auteurs
  • Bonis, Mel – Souvenirs et Réflexions
  • Cahier de composition de Mel Bonis. Leçons de Charles Koechlin (1908-1909)
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