Alexis Contant
1858 - 1918
J.P.A. Contant
Joseph Pierre Alexis [Alexis] Contant (12/11/1858 - 28/11/1918), a Canadian Composer, organist, teacher, pianist. Born and died in Montreal, Canada. The son of an amateur violinist, he took piano lessons from his mother, who was born in Chambly and had studied the instrument with Emma Albani. He next worked with the organist and pianist Joseph A. Fowler and first performed in public at 13. When Calixa Lavallée returned from Paris in 1875, he accepted Contant as a pupil. Over the next few years Contant accompanied several artists in recital, including the violinist Jehin-Prume, who advised him to go to Europe to study. The young man's father feared such a journey would endanger his son's religious faith, however, and refused to let him go. From September 1880 to February 1881 Contant taught at the Collège de L'Assomption. Anxious to learn more about music theory, Contant joined Lavallée in Boston in January 1883 and studied harmony, counterpoint, and composition. Besides substituting occasionally for his ailing master in concerts, he attended many operas and concerts; a performance of Gounod's oratorio La Rédemption made a deep impression on him. Discovering that he was given to uncontrollable attacks of stage-fright, he decided to devote himself to the organ, to composition, and to teaching. He returned to Montreal n June 1883 and had several consultations with Guillaume Couture, but left him following a disagreement. To further his knowledge of composition he began to study and analyse the masterworks of Bach, Gounod, Wagner, Saint-Saëns, Massenet, and Franck. He became organist at St-Jean-Baptiste Church in Montreal in 1885 and held the position until his death. But for the rest of his life his teaching duties were to take most of his time and energy; he taught 1883-90 at the Collège de Montréal, ca 1887 at the convent of Hochelaga, 1900-18 at the Mont-St-Louis College, and 1905-17 at the Conservatoire national, as well as giving private lessons. His studio was attended by numerous pupils, notably Victor Brault, Claude Champagne, Orpha-F. Deveaux, J.-J. Gagnier, Rodolphe Mathieu and Wilfrid Pelletier.
Messe des Morts
Composed in:1908
Musical form:mass
Text/libretto:Latin mass
Messe des morts (W48) 1908. for TTB voices and Organ. L. Grus (1908).