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Harold, Louis Joseph Ferdinand

HAROLD, LOUIS JOSEPH FERDINAND (1791-1833), French musician, the son of Francois Joseph Herold, an accomplished pianist, was born in Paris, on the 28th of January 1791. It was not till after his father's death that Herold in 1806 entered the Paris conservatoire, where he studied under Catal and Mehul.

In 1812 he gained the grand prix de Rome with the cantata La Duchesse de la Valliere, and started for Italy, where he remained till 1815 and composed a symphony, a cantata and several pieces of chamber music. During his stay in Italy also Herold for the first time ventured on the stage with the opera La Gioventu di Enrico V., first performed at Naples in 1815 with moderate success. During a short stay in Vienna he was much in the society of Salieri. Returning to Paris he was invited by Boieldieu to collaborate with him on an opera called Charles de France, performed in 1816, and soon followed by Herold's first French opera, Les Rosieres (1817), which was received very favourably. Herold produced numerous dramatic works for the next fifteen years in rapid succession. Only the names of some of the more important need here be mentioned: La Clochelte (1817), L'Auteur mart et vivant (1820), Marie (1826), and the ballets La Fille mal gardee (1828) and La Belle au bois dormant (1829). Herold also wrote a vast quantity of pianoforte music, in spite of his time being much occupied by his duties as accompanist at the Italian opera in Paris. In 1831 he produced the romantic opera Zampa, and in the following year Le Pre aux dercs (first performance December 15, 1832), in which French esprit and French chivalry find their most perfect embodiment. These two operas secured immortality for the name of the composer, who died on the 18th of January 1833, of the lung disease from which he had suffered for many years, and the effects of which he had accelerated by incessant work. Herold's incomplete opera Ludovic was afterwards printed by J. F. F. Halevy.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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