André Caplet was the composer that beat Maurice Ravel to the Prix de Rome in 1901, much to Ravel’s frustration. He might have won it by simply composing something quite traditional, where Ravel consciously tried to antagonise the judges. Ravel tried five time in his life and never won it. Caplet on the other hand was able to live for five years in Rome supported by the money it afforded him.
Caplet was also travelling to the United States and introduced the French classical music in Boston. In 1914 he enlisted in the army to fight for France in the Grande Guerre. He fought in the trenches of Verdun and made it to sergeant, but came out of the war a damaged man in 1919. The gasses he inhaled on the field of battle killed him just six years later, at age 46. During his life he was able to write a long list of works, but is better known as an orchestrator of other French music, like Debussy’s Claire de lune.
A good recording of a rare work. The A side of this record contains the classic cello concerto by Edouard Lalo. Although not considered a highlight of the cello literature, it is still among the better cello concerto’s, and contains some beautiful moments. This is one of the concerts that was introduced to me when I was still in high school, walking home listening to my tapes on my walkman. Lalo and me, we go a long way!