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CASTILLON, Alexis de (1838-1873)

Born into an old noble family from the Languedoc region, the future Vicomte de Castillon de Saint-Victor received a well-rounded general and artistic education  in his native town of Chartres, then in Paris, where he became the pupil of Delioux de Savignac from 1849. However, his parents had no intention of letting him pursue a musical career and he was enrolled in the military academy of Saint-Cyr in 1856. He was appointed second lieutenant in the 10th Cuirassier regiment, then lancer in the Imperial Guard, before leaving the army in 1861 to devote himself to composition. He went on to complete his education by studying with Victor Massé then, from 1869, with César Franck. A cultured, urbane aristocrat, Castillon threw himself into the cultural life of Paris, frequenting Prince Poniatowski’s circle as well as the Pasdeloup concerts. Friendly with some of the leading French musicians, he was involved in 1871 in the foundation of the Société Nationale de Musique, and became its first secretary. Although Castillon’s music sometimes received mixed reviews, it nevertheless won posthumous fame in the years following the composer’s untimely death. Apart from several forays into orchestral music (including a symphony, some symphonic sketches and a piano concerto), Castillon left behind a powerful and sophisticated body of chamber music works, showing not only the influence of César Franck in his formal and harmonic endeavours, but also that of German music, particularly Beethoven and Schumann.

    Works - 4
  • Piano Concerto in D major op. 12 (Alexis de Castillon)
  • Piano Quartet op. 7 (Alexis de Castillon)
  • Piano Quintet op. 1 (Alexis de Castillon)
  • Trio pour violon, violoncelle et piano n° 2 op. 17 (Alexis de Castillon)
  • Theme - 1
  • Courant – L’École franckiste