Guy Ropartz - sadly neglected, but slowly being rediscovered.

Guy Ropartz - sadly neglected, but slowly being rediscovered.
Guy Ropartz – sadly neglected, but slowly being rediscovered.

– Guy Ropartz – Quartet No. 6 – Pascal String Quartet – 1951 – ORTF Radio – Paris – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

Another overlooked composer who has been getting some attention in recent years. Guy Ropartz was all but unheard of since shortly after his death in 1955. He has lately (over the past twenty years) gotten a revival of sorts, with some of his orchestral works being performed and recorded by various ensembles around the world.

Tonight it’s Ropartz’ chamber music – his String Quartet Number 6, as performed in this Radio studio broadcast from around 1951 by The Pascal String Quartet, featuring Leon Pascal, Mauric Crut, Jacques Dumont and Robert Salles.

In addition to his work as a composer, Ropartz also enjoyed a career as conductor and director of the Strasbourg Conservatory. He was also an accomplished poet. He did fall out of the public eye around 1929, retiring to his manor in Brittany where he remained the rest of his life, dying in 1955.

What he left was an impressive body of works which included five Symphonies, three Stage works, eleven chamber pieces for various ensemble combinations. Numerous Sacred works as well as vocal, piano, organ and choir pieces. Of his poetry, he published some three volumes of collections during the late 1880s/early 1890s.

So Guy Ropartz was far from being the “occasional” composer. That he chose to live the rest of his life in seclusion probably didn’t help his cause any. And as is often the case, the crush of newer louder voices tends to drown the older, softer ones out.

But with adventuresome works being programmed into repertoires and recording schedules, much that was long-thought lost or neglected has gotten the proverbial second shot at life via the flood of small, independent and state-sponsored record labels. It continues to be a healthy sign that much is being rediscovered and many important discoveries are being made.

Guy Ropartz being among the recipients of this new-found attention.

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