CeBeDeM

CeBeDeM

index
of affiliated composers

BARBIER, René

BARBIER, René, Auguste, Ernest, a composer was born in Namur on 12 July 1890 and died in Ixelles on 24 December 1981.

His father, Ernest Barbier, was a flautist and a former director of “Les Bardes de la Meuse” choir. From his early childhood, René Barbier showed remarkable ability as a musician; during his youth, he was attracted by both music and painting as a result of the influence of his uncle Théo Tonglet, a painter and a sculptor; he studied at the Music and Painting Academy of his native town.

Before long, music took over; he became a flautist and completed his studies as an organist. Following his brilliant studies in Namur, he attended the Royal Music Conservatory of Brussels as a pupil of Paul Gilson before moving to the Royal Conservatory of Liège where he was awarded a first prize as well as the “Mdaille de vermeil” for organ, and obtained first prizes in harmony, counterpoint and fugue under the aegis of Sylvain Dupuis, who held Ren Barbier in high esteem.
Having won Rome’s Second Prize in 1919 for his cantata “Thyl Ulenspiegel banni”, he obtained the following year the First Grand Prix de Rome for his “La Légende de Soeur Béatrice”.

The same year, he was appointed professor of harmony at the Conservatory of Liège before taking over a similar position at the Conservatory of Brussels in 1949. In 1923 he graduated from the Belgium Royal Academia of Music for his symphonic poem “Les Génies du Sommeil” based on a theme by Maurice Henrion.

Appointed director of Music Conservatory of Namur in 1923, he will remain in charge for forty years teaching chamber music, counterpoint, fugue, composition and directing conducting classes. He has started out as a conductor in 1910; throughout his carrier, René Barbier conducted all major orchestras in the country, whether in Namur, Liège, Brussels or Ostende.

Highly appreciated as a conductor of chorales, he was appointed in 1925 as the leader of the choir of “la Société des Cristalleries du Val-Saint-Lambert”, and later as the leader of “Wallonia Chorale of Charleroi”. Eventually he took on the position of director of “Bardes de la Meuse” and that of the “Royal Cercle Choral de Frameries” with which he triumphed at the “Palais des Sports” of Paris, during choral art appearances in May 1934.
No one would ever forget the enthusiastic welcome by the French capital during the performance of the “Milles Gueules Noires” who sang for the “Gueules Cassées”.

We could not enumerate every art exhibitions, whether orchestral or choral, carried out with success over half a century by René Barbier. In the meantime he completely re-organised teaching at all levels in his native town which he transformed into a major cultural centre by adding the annual concerts season which he personally conducted. In spite of his numerous and absorbing tasks, he never gave up composing throughout his life.

His highly diverse works include 120 opuses. He was twenty-five only but already credited with a number of works in chamber music including the sonata in D Minor for piano and violin, and the quintet for strings and piano.

Later came a sonata for piano and cor; a trio for violin, cello and piano; an introduction, andante and final for flute, strings and harp; a quartet for strings; a divertimento for 4 clarinets; a divertimento for 4 saxophones; a Petite suite for flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon. He wrote several works for violin, for wind instruments, a concerto for cor, a concerto and several work pieces for guitars.

René Barbier’s career has been punctuated by works for piano, particularly two concertos for double-clavier Hans and orchestra, sonatas and a tryptic. These works are as follows: “Paysage d’automne”, “Nuit d’hiver et Solstice d’été” and other works for organ, including a “fantasia on a vieux Noël”, an offertory, a messa, a concerto for organ, strings and timpani orchestra dated 1967.

We may also note various melodies and works for parts and orchestra, including five madrigals; “Noël évangélique” for 4-part men; for mixed choir, “Les Cloches vivantes”, “Le poème de la mine”; for children’s voices, “Ma soeur la pluie”; for men’s voices, “La chanson du houblon” and “La cantate du Centenaire” for solos, choir and harmony orchestra.

René Barbier was not averse to writing for fanfares or harmony orchestras, which he considered as popular expressions similar to chorales.

Shall we quote a rhapsody on two Walloon popular tunes, an adagio, an overture and introduction for fanfare, the music of Ommegang 1947, the Olympic Anthem for choir and harmony, “La Marche mosane” and “le Glorieux Anniversaire” for baritone and harmony. But René Barbier’s special field was, indisputably, grand symphonic orchestra. The latter fully offers a vast scale of expression which he relentlessly researched, because of its great richness and diversity of tones, the sumptuousness of its sonorities and endless variety. This is the field where he felt comfortable and he excelled in.

As Georges Fabry wrote it in René Barbier’s obituary, “he has a predilection for vast sound frescos, motivated by powerful inspiration. There is something of a visionary in him who was fascinated by epic poems and grand historical events. His orchestral range was sumptuous and highly colourful.

His symphonic poem “Les Génies du sommeil” was followed by “La Musique de Perdition” , “Trois mouvements symphoniques for strings”, “Une Ouverture concertante”, “l’Evocation sonore de l’Ardenne”, “a concertino for 4 string and wind instruments”, “une fantaisie concertante for violin solo and orchestra”, “trois esquisses symphoniques”, “la Symphonietta for little orchestra” and “un tableau symphonique sur le nom de François Bovesse”.

René Barbier had to express his profound faith in various religious works: a “Jesus Salvator”, for voices and organ; two Masses; an important “Te Deum” for 4 mixed voices, organ and the brass; “les Lamentations de la neuvième heure” for solos, choir and orchestra; “Le Chemin de la Croix” based on writings by Paul Claudel. The latter includes fourteen musical comments for narrator, orchestra and organ.

We shall also quote works for stage music: a radio programme, “La Mort de Prométhée”; “La Voix humaine”, based on a novel by Jean Cocteau; opera-ballet “Les Abeilles et Les Pierres magiques”, based on a libretto by René Lyr. At last, shall we remind his play works including the lyric comedy “Yvette”; a lyric tale in two acts, “La Fête du vieux Tilleul” and an operetta in three acts, “La Sultane de Paris”.

One of his major works remains “La Tour de Babel”, a vast biblical oratorio for narrator, solos choir, orchestra and organ, created in Namur in 1932, and once again performed in 1958 during Brussels’ Universal Exhibition.

La Suite platonicienne” for grand orchestra based on a libretto by Maurice Henrion, René Barbier’s favourite librettist, goes back to 1934; it is subtitled “Les Eléments” and includes four parts, air, fire, water and earth.

In his summary note, Gabriel de Lange describes René Barbier’s work in his words: “The distinctive feature of his music was its seriousness, indeed its gravity, combined with personal charm and the extraordinary virtuosity of rhythms and sounds which are displayed in every page. Descriptive music is the key to his music, as it appears in “le Poème de la mine” and “la Suite platonicienne”. His works were serving music rather than using it. This remarkably educated and extremely affable artist was a humble person. For those who shared his intimacy, he was clearly a sophisticated mind and extraordinarily in love with his art with one main preoccupation: trying to convey and transmit his art to others knowing how beneficial it was. We can easily imagine this conductor and leader’s divine flames of passion sweeping miners from Borinage and eulogists Mosan cities”.

A former vice-president of the Board of SABAM, René Barbier was first elected as the Correspondent of fine arts class of Belgium Royal Academy in 1968, then member in 1972 and finally director of his Class in 1976.

In November 1975, on the occasion of his 85th birthday, the city of Namur, being particularly proud of such citizen, organised an important ceremony at the Royal Theatre in order to pay tribute to René Barbier. The municipality of Namur would name a street after him.

René Barbier was a member of the Academy of Arts, Sciences and Letters of Paris, France from which he received a “Mdaille de vermeil”. Rene Barbier’s life is comprised of highly edifying examples which make us forget the heavy burden of our times and it encourages us to remain hopeful in spite of our fates.

Sylvain Vouillemin, © Académie royale de Belgique
English translation © CeBeDeM 2010

(Extr. Nouvelle biographie nationale, vol. 2, Bruxelles, 1990, p.21-23.)

works

  • *[ô tilleul des aïeux]
    mixed Choir and orchestra 00:00:00
  • A Cassandre op. 74, 1947
    Choir a cappella 00:02:00
  • Achilleus op. 46, 1934
    theatre music 00:00:00
  • Adagio op. 82, 1957
    chamber orchestra 00:06:00
  • Adagio op. 82, 1957
    fanfare 00:06:00
  • Allegro brillante op. 66, 1940
    clarinet and piano 00:12:00
  • Allegro de forme classique op. 97, 1959
    violin and piano 00:02:00
  • Alleluia
    Bar. and choir 00:00:00
  • Ave Maris stella
    Soloists and organ 00:00:00
  • Berceuse op. 56
    piano 00:00:00
  • Bourrasques et éclaircies op. 40, 1933
    piano 00:06:00
  • Bourrasques et éclaircies op. 40, 1932
    Hansklavier 00:08:00
  • Calliope op. 89, 1955
    band or fanfare 00:10:00
  • Cantate du centenaire de l'Indépendance nationale op. 38, 1930
    solo, mixed choir and band 00:25:00
  • Chant du centenaire, 1934
    choir a cappella 00:00:00
  • Cinq madrigaux op. 41, 1933
    Baritone and orchestra 00:16:00
  • Cinq madrigaux op. 41, 1933
    middle voice and piano 00:16:00
  • Cinq mélodies, 1947
    middle voice and piano 00:11:40
  • Complicité, 1933
    radio and tv 00:00:00
  • Concertino op. 109, 1964
    4 clarinets and string orchestra 00:16:00
  • Concertino op. 116, 1971
    2 guitars and string orchestra 00:12:00
  • Concertino op. 109, 1964
    flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and orchestra 00:16:00
  • Concerto op. 54, 1938
    cello and orchestra 00:20:00
  • Concerto op. 98, 1960
    guitar and small orchestra 00:14:00
  • Concerto op. 106, 1964
    horn in F and orchestra 00:14:43
  • Concerto op. 98, 1960
    guitar and piano 00:14:00
  • Concerto op. 113, 1967
    organ, string orchestra and timpani 00:20:00
  • Concerto op. 106, 1964
    horn in F and piano 00:14:43
  • Concerto n°1 op. 28, 1922
    Hansklavier and orchestra 00:40:00
  • Concerto n°2 op. 43, 1933
    Hansklavier and orchestra 00:20:00
  • Coucher de soleil op. 69, 1941
    Mezzo-Soprano or Baritone and piano 00:04:00
  • D'un vanneur de blé aux vents op. 74, 1947
    Choir a cappella 00:02:30
  • Deux petites pièces op. 118, 1973
    guitar 00:00:00
  • Dieu, pourquoi es-tu caché? op. 85, 1948
    middle voice, string quintet, harp and flute 00:04:00
  • Dieu, pourquoi es-tu caché? op. 85, 1948
    Mezzo-Soprano and piano 00:04:00
  • Diptyque op. 68, 1941
    orchestra 00:21:00
  • Divertissement op. 101, 1962
    4 clarinets 00:12:09
  • Ego sum panis vitae op. 35, 1924
    3 voices and organ 00:05:00
  • Elégie, 1960
    woodwind instruments in B flat 00:00:00
  • Entrée pontificale, 1964
    organ 00:00:00
  • Eté de joie op. 86, 1947
    Soprano and piano 00:02:30
  • Etude n°8, 1964
    2 timpani and piano 00:03:00
  • Evocation sonore de l'Ardenne op. 115, 1971
    orchestra 00:20:00
  • Evocation sonore de l'Ardenne op. 115, 1971
    band 00:20:00
  • Fanfare op. 90, 1947
    fanfare 00:00:00
  • Fantaisie concertante op. 51, 1937
    violin and orchestra 00:14:00
  • Fantaisie concertante op. 51, 1937
    violin and piano 00:14:00
  • Fantaisie sur un vieux Noël op. 30, 1923
    organ or harmonium 00:08:30
  • Fantaisie sur un vieux Noël op. 30, 1923
    organ 00:08:30
  • Fantaisie sur un vieux Noël op. 30, 1923
    harmonium 00:08:30
  • Faune, 1933
    Mezzo-Soprano and piano 00:00:00
  • Fête carillonnée op. 68/2, 1941
    band 00:14:00
  • Fête carillonnée op. 68/2, 1941
    orchestra 00:14:00
  • Glorieux anniversaires op. 37, 1930
    Baritone and orchestra 00:12:00
  • Hymne olympique op. 84, 1948
    mixedchoir and band 00:05:00
  • Hymne olympique op. 84, 1948
    Mezzo-Soprano and piano 00:05:00
  • Improvisation, 1947
    electronic chime-bells 00:00:00
  • Introduction op. 90, 1956
    fanfare 00:02:00
  • Introduction - Andante - Final op. 46, 1935
    flute, oboe, clarinet, horn (ad lib.), bassoon and piano 00:12:30
  • Introduction et allegro symphonique op. 112, 1967
    large orchestra 00:12:00
  • Introduction et fantaisie rapsodique sur deux airs wallons op. 71, 1946
    small orchestra 00:12:00
  • Introduction et fantaisie rapsodique sur deux airs wallons op. 71, 1946
    band 00:12:00
  • Introduction et fantaisie rapsodique sur deux airs wallons op. 71, 1946
    fanfare 00:12:00
  • Jesu Salvator op. 5, 1914
    mixed choir and organ 00:00:00
  • Jeu de la Rose op. 73, 1947
    band 00:04:00
  • L'épopée belge op. 21, 1918
    Soloists, mixed choir and orchestra 00:25:00
  • La chanson des nations
    Mezzo-Soprano and piano 00:00:00
  • La chanson du houblon op. 53, 1937
    men's choir a cappella 00:15:00
  • La légende de Béatrice op. 27, 1920
    soloist, choir and orchestra 00:35:00
  • La mort de Prométhée op. 42, 1933
    Narrator (Mz.), 2 S., 2 A., 2 T., 2 B. and orchestra 00:20:00
  • La musique de perdition op. 75, 1947
    orchestra 00:24:00
  • La petite babillarde op. 57, 1931
    piano 00:00:00
  • La tempête op. 25, 1920
    high voice and piano 00:05:00
  • La tempête op. 25, 1920
    Tenor and orchestra 00:05:00
  • La Tour de Babel op. 39, 1933
    Narrator, Soloists, mixed choir, children's choir, orchestra and organ 01:10:00
  • La voix humaine op. 67, 1940
    Narrator and (small) orchestra 00:19:00
  • Le beau Danube bleu, 1955
    men's choir a cappella 00:00:00
  • Le chaland op. 88, 1955
    Mezzo-Soprano or Baritone and piano 00:03:00
  • Le chemin de la croix op. 85, 1952
    Narrator and orchestra 00:34:30
  • Le poème de la mine op. 50, 1934
    men's choir a cappella 00:12:00
  • Le temps op. 78, 1947
    Mezzo-Soprano and piano 00:01:50
  • Les éléments op. 64, 1935
    orchestra 00:28:00
  • Les carions d'el'Wallonie op. 47, 1936
    Baritones unisono and band 00:04:00
  • Les cloches vivantes op. 44, 1934
    mixed Choir a cappella 00:14:00
  • Les cloches vivantes op. 44, 1934
    men's choir a cappella 00:14:00
  • Les coudes dans l'herbe op. 76, 1947
    Soprano and piano 00:04:00
  • Les génies du sommeil op. 29, 1923
    large orchestra 00:25:00
  • Les génies du sommeil op. 29, 1923
    piano 00:25:00
  • Les petits espiègles op. 58, 1931
    piano 00:00:00
  • Les pierres magiques op. 94, 1957
    orchestra 00:43:00
  • Ma maison op. 26, 1920
    Soprano and piano 00:00:00
  • Ma soeur la pluie op. 52, 1937
    children's choir and string quintet 00:05:00
  • Ma soeur la pluie op. 52, 1937
    Children's choir and piano 00:05:00
  • Marche de l'empereur op. 72, 1947
    fanfare 00:04:00
  • Marche de l'ommegang 1947 op. 72, 1947
    fanfare 00:04:00
  • Marche de l'ommegang 1947 op. 72, 1947
    fanfare 00:04:00
  • Marche mosane op. 92, 1956
    band or fanfare 00:04:00
  • Marche mosane op. 92, 1956
    orchestra 00:04:00
  • Meilied op. 74, 1947
    men's choir a cappella 00:02:30
  • Messe op. 45, 1934
    2 mixed voices and organ 00:00:00
  • Messe basse op. 49, 1935
    organ or harmonium 00:17:00
  • Messe basse op. 49, 1935
    organ 00:17:00
  • Messe basse op. 49, 1935
    harmonium 00:17:00
  • Missa op. 45, 1934
    2 unequal voices and organ or 2 equal voices (ad lib.) 00:30:00
  • Missa op. 45, 1934
    mixed choir a cappella 00:30:00
  • Missa op. 20, 1919
    3 equal voices and organ 00:20:00
  • Motet op. 34, 1924
    men's choir and organ 00:04:00
  • Motet, 1919
    mixed choir and organ 00:00:00
  • Mouvement symphonique op. 81, 1947
    cello solo and piano 00:07:00
  • Noël évangélique op. 6, 1913
    mixed choir and organ 00:15:00
  • Nocturne op. 47, 1935
    Mezzo-Soprano or Bass and piano 00:05:30
  • Nocturne op. 47, 1935
    Mezzo-Soprano and piano 00:05:30
  • Nocturne op. 47, 1935
    Bass and piano 00:05:30
  • Notre nacelle
    men's choir a cappella 00:00:00
  • Notre-Dame di Moûse, 1960
    Choir a cappella 00:00:00
  • Nox op. 7, 1913
    middle voice and piano 00:04:30
  • Nox op. 7, 1914
    Mezzo-Soprano and orchestra 00:04:30
  • Nuages op. 77, 1947
    Soprano, alto saxophone and string quartet 00:03:30
  • Offertoire op. 31, 1923
    organ 00:03:00
  • Offertoire
    organ 00:03:00
  • Ommegang de Bruxelles op. 72, 1947
    mixed choir and orchestra 00:15:30
  • Ommegang de Bruxelles op. 72, 1947
    fanfare 00:15:30
  • Ommegang de Bruxelles: Final op. 72, 1947
    fanfare 00:00:00
  • Ommegang de Bruxelles: Final, 1947
    mixed choir and piano 00:00:00
  • Ouverture concertante op. 114, 1969
    large orchestra 00:14:00
  • Ouverture concertante op. 114, 1969
    band 00:14:00
  • Pegase op. 87, 1955
    small orchestra 00:07:00
  • Pegase op. 87, 1955
    band 00:07:00
  • Pegase op. 87, 1955
    fanfare 00:07:00
  • Petit menuet op. 60, 1950
    piano 00:00:00
  • Petit prélude op. 59, 1937
    piano 00:00:00
  • Petite esquisse
    piano 00:00:00
  • Petite marche
    piano 00:05:00
  • Petite pièce pour harmonium, 1944
    harmonium 00:00:00
  • Petite suite op. 86, 1955
    small orchestra 00:12:00
  • Petite suite op. 110, 1965
    2 guitars 00:14:00
  • Petite suite op. 86, 1954
    piano 00:12:00
  • Petite suite op. 108, 1964
    flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon 00:15:00
  • Pièce concertante op. 95, 1959
    alto saxophone or violin and orchestra 00:09:00
  • Pièce concertante op. 95, 1959
    alto saxophone or violin and piano 00:09:00
  • Pièce concertante op. 95, 1959
    alto saxophone and band 00:09:00
  • Pièce concertante op. 95, 1959
    alto saxophone and orchestra 00:09:00
  • Pièce concertante op. 95, 1959
    alto saxophone and piano 00:09:00
  • Pièce concertante op. 95, 1959
    violin and piano 00:09:00
  • Pièce symphonique op. 17, 1918
    trumpet and orchestra 00:15:00
  • Pièce symphonique op. 17, 1918
    trumpet and piano 00:15:00
  • Plus un croissant de lune op. 79, 1947
    Soprano, 2 violins, viola 00:01:50
  • Poème op. 14, 1916
    cello and orchestra 00:12:00
  • Poème op. 14, 1916
    cello and piano 00:12:00
  • Poco adagio op. 66, 1940
    clarinet and piano 00:12:00
  • Poco adagio e allegro brillante op. 66, 1940
    clarinet in B flat and small orchestra 00:12:00
  • Polichinelle op. 70, 1941
    middle voice and piano 00:05:30
  • Prélude op. 110
    2 guitars 00:00:00
  • Prélude
    accordeon 00:00:00
  • Prélude - Barcarolle op. 119, 1973
    guitar 00:04:00
  • Quatorze commentaires musicaux op. 85, 1952
    Narrator, choir and orchestra 00:34:30
  • Quatuor op. 93, 1956
    4 horns in F 00:10:00
  • Quatuor op. 99, 1961
    4 saxophones 00:14:00
  • Quatuor à cordes en ré op. 65, 1939
    2 violins, viola and cello 00:22:00
  • Quintette op. 11, 1915
    2 violins, viola, cello and piano 00:35:00
  • Réveil op. 8, 1913
    Soprano or Tenor and piano 00:06:00
  • Rêverie op. 96, 1959
    violin and piano 00:05:00
  • Rouwklacht van het 9de uur - Lamentation de la 9e heure op. 100, 1961
    Narrator, Soloist, choir and orchestra 00:30:00
  • Salut Drapeau, 1925
    Baritone and piano 00:00:00
  • Sinfonietta op. 111, 1966
    small orchestra 00:15:00
  • Soir op. 11, 1915
    middle voice and piano 00:03:00
  • Sonate op. 12, 1916
    horn in F and piano 00:20:00
  • Sonate op. 12, 1916
    viola and piano 00:20:00
  • Sonate en ré op. 9, 1914
    violin and piano 00:30:00
  • Sonatine en ut majeur op. 106, 1957
    piano 00:08:00
  • Sonatine n°1 op. 105, 1956
    piano 00:07:00
  • Sonneries de trompettes thébaines de l'Ommegang 1947 op. 72, 1947
    fanfare 00:00:00
  • Sous la lampe op. 23, 1918
    Soprano, Tenor and piano 00:04:30
  • Suite n°2 op. 115, 1969
    2 guitars 00:14:00
  • Tableau symphonique op. 105, 1963
    orchestra 00:15:00
  • Tableau symphonique op. 105, 1963
    piano 00:15:00
  • Te Deum laudamus op. 102, 1962
    mixed choir and various instruments 00:14:00
  • Testament op. 15, 1917
    Soprano and orchestra 00:07:00
  • Testament op. 15, 1917
    Baritone and piano 00:07:00
  • Thyl Ulenspiegel banni op. 22, 1919
    mixed Choir and orchestra 00:30:00
  • Toujours op. 80, 1947
    Soprano and string quartet 00:02:00
  • Trio op. 117, 1971
    flute, cello and piano 00:12:00
  • Trio en mi op. 22, 1920
    violin, cello and piano 00:30:00
  • Triptyque op. 16, 1918
    piano 00:12:00
  • Trois esquisses symphoniques op. 91, 1956
    orchestra 00:17:00
  • Trois esquisses symphoniques, 1956
    piano 00:15:00
  • Trois mouvements symphoniques op. 104, 1962
    string orchestra 00:20:00
  • Trois petites pièces op. 120, 1973
    guitar 00:08:00
  • Une sultane de Paris op. 33, 1923
    operette 00:00:00
  • Variations expressives op. 14, 1916
    cello and orchestra 00:15:00
  • Yvette op. 1, 1910
    opera 00:00:00
Pages :
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20