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Adam, Adolphe Charles (24th July 1803-3rd May 1856)

He was a composer and music critic from the Romantic era of music,  born in Paris, France.  His father, Johann Ludwig Adam, was also a composer and professor at the Paris Conservatoire and is considered to be the founder of the French school of piano playing.

He did not take musical studies while young, but preferred to make up his own.  He studied organ and harmonium under Francois-Adrien Boieldieu at the Paris Conservatoire and while there he also played the triangle in the orchestra as a way of experiencing sight reading and rhythm.

He wrote songs for Parisian vaudeville and later become the chorus master at the Gymnasie Dramatique.  He earned most of his income by playing the organ but after assisting Boieldieu on the opera La dame blanche he earned enough to travel Europe. He borrowed money and opened Theatre National in 1847, which was Paris’ third opera house, but it closed less than a year later in 1848 due to the Revolution and left him in so much debt that he couldn’t afford to pay for his father’s funeral the following year.  He took up a teaching post in composition at the Paris Conservatoire and briefly worked in journalism to help offset what he owed.

His compositions include several ballets, with the best known being Giselle and Le Corsaire, 39 operas, much theatre music and the well known Christmas carol O Holy Night.  He died in Paris in 1856 aged 52.


Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Children’s Chorus,
Bartle, Louis and Gino Quilico – CBC SMCD 5119


London Symphony Orchestra, Michael Tilson Thomas – Sony 42450

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden/ Bonynge – London 417 505

Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Mogrelia – Naxos 8.550755

Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, A. Mogrelia – NAX 8.554062

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Herbert von Karajan – Decca 473 171-2

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Herbert von Karajan – Decca 475 7507

Detroit Symphony, Paray – Mercury 434 332-2

Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Mogrelia – Marco Polo 8.223772-73

LE CORSAIRE – A Ballet in three acts
English Chamber Orchestra, Richard Bonynge – London 0289 430 286 2


Boston Pops Orchestra – John Williams – Sony Classical SK 48232

Liona Boyd, Guitar, and Friends – AM 9513  

Canadian Brass / St. Patrick’s Cathedral Organ – John Grady organist – RCA 0 7863 54132 2

Chicago Symphony Low Brass Ensemble 
VOX 7501 (CD: Christmas with the Symphony Brass of Chicago)
Conductor – Barry Faldner

Harry Connick, jr. And his Orchestra, Columbia 57550

Placido Domingo, Charlotte Church, vocals – Sony SK 87770

David Foster, Michael Crawford and company – Interscope 0 7567 92295 2 6

Mario Lanza – Vocals – RCA 6427

J. McDermott, vocals – Orchestral Ensemble – EMI 56765

Maureen McGovern – MK 45869

Stevan Pasero – Sugo 8602

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, violin; Clarice Assad, piano; Sergio and Odair Assad, guitars; Judy Blazer, vocals; Sara Garthshore, soprano; Gustavo Amarante, bass; Mathias Kunzli, drums; et al – NSS 2066

Judith Lynn Stillman & Friends – North Star 0024

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Leontyne Price, London 421 103-2

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra – Herbert von Karajan; Leontyne Price, soprano – Decca 468 503-2

Vienna Symphony  Orchestra – Steven Mercurio; Charlotte Church and Placido Domingo, vocals – Sony SK 89468

Here is music from his ballet Giselle