Home / Persons / LA TOMBELLE Fernand de

Print content of page

LA TOMBELLE, Fernand de (1854-1928)

A pupil of Théodore Dubois and Alexandre Guilmant, and a friend of Saint-Saëns, who gave him valuable guidance, Fernand de La Tombelle pursued a dual career as a composer and a virtuoso pianist and organist. A resilient, fiercely independent man with an unassuming revolutionary disposition, La Tombelle was in many ways an interesting and engaging figure. Although he mixed with artists whose names are better known today, such as Edvard Grieg, Charles Gounod, Vincent d’Indy or Jules Massenet (to whom he was very close), he left behind a substantial and varied body of work which is stylistically eclectic, even atypical, and deserves to be reconsidered, not only on its own merits, but also because it illustrates a type of social and artistic activity in France at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. His catalogue includes all the genres (art songs, chamber music, organ pieces, religious or secular choral works, orchestral or piano scores, and incidental music, sometimes accompanied by brilliant fantasies, etc.). He also took photographs, drew, painted and wrote theoretical or literary texts and works on astronomy or the art of cooking. In the last analysis, this oeuvre was the fruit of the labours of a gifted, remarkably cultured artist, whose output well-befitted a decent man who also campaigned hard for the working classes to receive a musical education.