Faà di Bruno, Giovanni Matteo [Horatio, Orazio] 83

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Févin, Robert de

(fl 1500–15). French composer. He was evidently the brother of Antoine de Févin, as witnessed by the words ‘decori fratres de Févin’ among the composers named in Pierre Moulu’s motet Mater floreat (Lowinsky). Fétis reported, citing an obit book that cannot now be traced, that Févin was master of the Savoy ducal chapel (at Chambéry) and came from Cambrai. Since the family was from Arras, this may mean simply that he was ordained in the diocese of Cambrai. A date of death could be derived from the ascription ‘Robertus de fevin pie memorie’ above his mass ‘La sol mi fa re’ in D-Mbs Mus.ms.7, perhaps from 1516–1518.

Févin was an immaculate contrapuntist, evidently owing much to Josquin. His masses La sol mi fa re and Le vilain jaloux are based directly on works of Josquin; and the Credo La belle se siet (which seems more likely his than Josquin’s) shows a knowledge of Josquin’s three-voice setting of that melody. All known sources containing his securely attributed music are from the first quarter of the 16th century.


Edition: The Collected Works of Robert de Févin, ed. E. Clinkscale (Ottawa, 1993) [C]

Missa ‘Ave Maria’, 4vv; C, 1

Missa ‘La sol mi fa re’, 4vv; C, 38

Missa ‘Le vilain jaloux’, 4vv; C, 75

Credo ‘La belle se siet’, 4vv, 15051 ascribed ‘Josquin’; I-Rvat C.S.41 ascribed ‘Roberti Fevin’; C, 123

Alma redemptoris mater, 5vv; C, 140

doubtful works

2 Lamentations, 4vv and 3vv, in GB-Cmc 1760 are ascribed to ‘Ro. de fevin’ in the original index but in the body of the manuscript the ascriptions are altered to Antoine de fevin. Fors seulement la mort, 3vv, given as by Antoine de Févin in GB-Cmc 1760 and two later prints, is given to ‘Robertus Fevin’ in Stonyhurst College, B.VI.23 (see Fenlon)



E.E. Lowinsky, ed.: The Medici Codex of 1518, MRM, iii–v (1968), iii, 75

N.S. Josephson: ‘Agnus Dei I from Robert de Févin, Missa La sol mi fa re’, MD, xxviii (1974), 77–80

I. Fenlon: ‘An Imperial Repertory for Charles V’, Studi musicali, xiii (1984), 221–40



See Lefèvre.

Fevre, Joducus [Josquin].

See Fabri, Joducus.

Février, Henry

(b Paris, 2 Oct 1875; d Paris, 8 July 1957). French composer. He studied composition at the Paris Conservatoire with Massenet and Fauré and privately with Messager, of whom he later wrote a biography (André Messager: mon maître, mon ami, 1948). His early compositions were small-scale, but he later turned almost exclusively to opera composition. Many of the operas (e.g. Le roi aveugle, 1906; L’île désenchantée, 1925) are set in remote, other-worldly locations, and the redemption of mankind through love is a constant theme, manifest most noticeably in La damnation de Blanchefleur (1920). He is probably best known for Monna Vanna (1909), a setting of a play by Maeterlinck, for whose work he had a particular affection. Lucien Fugère played a leading role in Carmosine (1913), and Gismonda (1919, Chicago) opened with Mary Garden in the title role.

In his musical dramas, Février favoured a continuous dramatic flow, uninterrupted by clearly defined arias and choruses. The love duet between the main characters is, however, an exception and in works such as Le roi aveugle takes up what appears to be a disproportionate amount of music. His use of such ‘set pieces’, plus a limited use of leitmotif, and the nature of his plots exhibit the influence of Wagner to a high degree, although his contemporaries saw in Monna Vanna the influence of Massenet and Italian verismo. Besides opera, he also left sonatas for violin and piano and cello and piano which attracted some attention in their time. His songs reflect his development as a composer: from the conventional early pieces, they gradually absorb the various musical languages of the 20th century, including a surface orientalism. He had considerable success with patriotic songs written during and just after World War I. During the late 1920s he was active as a composer of music for silent films, mostly scored for orchestra or theatre orchestra with piano-conductor. The later music, such as the Estampes japonaises for piano, is skilfully written, with a melodic strength and simplicity and an occasional leaning towards pastiche.


(selective list)


Le roi aveugle (op, 2, H. le Roux), Paris, OC (Favart), 8 May 1906 (1906)

Monna Vanna (drame lyrique, 4, after M. Maeterlinck), Paris, Opéra, 13 Jan 1909

Carmosine (conte romanesque, 4, H. Cain and L. Payen, after G. Boccaccio and A. de Musset), Paris, Gaîté, 24 Feb 1913 (1913)

Gismonda (drame lyrique, 4, Cain and Payen, after V. Sardou), Chicago, Auditorium, 14 Jan 1919 (1920)

La damnation de Blanchefleur (miracle, 2, M. Léna), Monte Carlo, Opéra, 13 March 1920 (1920)

L’île désenchantée (drame musical, 2, 3 tableaux, M. Star [E. Stern], after E. Schuré), Paris, Opéra, 23 Nov 1925 (1925)

Oletta, la fille du corse (drame musical, 3, 4 tableaux, A. Leroy and P. de Choudens), Bordeaux, 28 Oct 1927 (1926)

La femme nue (drame lyrique, 4, Payen, after H. Bataille), Monte Carlo, Opéra, 23 March 1929 (1929)

Sylvette (opérette, 3, R. Peter and M. Carré), Paris, Trianon Lyrique, 17 Feb 1932, collab. M. Delmas

Incid music: L’autre France (Cortège funèbre), 1900; Agnès (Dame galante), 1912; La princesse et le porcher (after H.C. Andersen), 1912; Aphrodite (after P. Louÿs, 1914


Theatre orch with pf-conc: A l’approche du soir (1923); A la fiancée (1924); A la veillée (1925); Malédiction (1926); Nocturne (1926); Le récit de Djalmar (1926); Remords (1926); A genoux (1927); En suivant la course (1927); L’entrée des fêtards (1927); Les feuilles tombent (Lamento) (1927); Kermesse (1927); Quand j’étais jeune (1927); Tendre histoire (1927); Traqué (1927); Les conjures (1928) Tableau villageois, sym. poem (1928); Idylle au bord de l’étang (1929); Sur les remparts (1929); Grande marche française (1930); Lamento (1930), collab. M. Delmas; La sorcière (1930), collab. Delmas; Pour une princesse (Madrigal)

Chbr and solo inst: Sonata, vn, pf (1901); Pièces mélodiques, vc, pf (1904); Int, hp, 1905, arr. pf (1907); Petite suite d’Antan, pf (1905), orchd 1909; Pf Trio (1907); Allemande, pf (1908); Cortège nuptiale, pf/org (1909); Légende, vn, pf (1909); 3 esquisses, pf (1910); Guirlandes, pf (1913); Stella (Prélude), pf (1913); L’heure sentimentale, pf (1914); La bonne journée, pf (1920); La fée des songes, solo vn, str, perc, pf (c1924); Bourée, pf, 1926; Un bruit de rames, pf (1926); La fleur merveilleuse, pf (1926); Frivolités, pf (1926); Remember, pf (1926); Sur le lac sacré, pf (1926); Impromptu, pf (1927); Sonata, vc, pf (1928); Estampes japonaises (ballet), pf (1938)


Songs, 1v, pf: Captif (S. Mancel) (1897); Les savent-elles (Mancel); Aubade (J. Sabine) (1899); Amitié (Mancel) (1905); 2 chansons (M. Maeterlinck) (1905); Soleil couchant (A. Silvestre) (1905); Vers l’amour (V. Hugo) (1905); Les yeux bleus (Mancel) (1905); Petite berceuse (H. Steckel) (1908); 3 prières (F. Jammes) (1908); Les Colombes (T. Gautier) (1909); Larmes (E.P. Lafargue) (1909); Loin de toi (Hugo) (1909); L’oubli (Mancel) (1909); La dernière chanson (R.F.A. Sully-Prudhomme) (1913); Ô femmes qui pleurez! (C. Batilliot) (1914); Or vers le soir (Lafargue) (1914); L’an prochain (Chanson de victoire) (R. Fauchois) (1915); Aux morts de la patrie (C. Péguy: Hymne) (1915), also orchd; Les chansons de la Woëvre Verdun 1915 (9 songs, A. Piedallu) (1915); Nos morts sont vivants (Chant patriotique) (Piedallu) (1915); 2 mélodies (Sully-Prudhomme, G. Grappe) (1918); Les saisons (S. Liégeard) (1918); Mon enfant … j’ai peur (Maeterlinck) (1920); Noël (Gautier) (1922); 4 mélodies (J. Heugel) (1925); Veillée de Noël (F. Gregh) (1926); Eternel avril (H. de Régnier) (1927); L’oiseau (A. Delacour) (1927); Les amies (Elégie) (C. Mauclair) (1928); Il était trois garçons charmants (Légende) (V. Margueritte) (1928); Neige, blancheur de la mort (Elégie) (C. Oulmont) (1948)

Other: Le petit mitron (M. Boukay), S, SATB (1939); Hymne à la nature (M. Saint-René), 4 male vv (1943)


A. Mercier: ‘La sonate en la mineur pour violon et piano de M. Henri Février’, RHCM, iv (1904), 549–51

H. de Curzon: ‘Xavier Leroux, Alexandre Georges, Henry Février’, Le théâtre lyrique en France (Paris, 1937–9) [pubn of Poste National/Radio-Paris], iii, 121–7

P. Landormy: La musique française après Debussy (Paris, 1943)

P. Bertrand: Le monde de la musique (Geneva, 1947)


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