Jules Massenet was a French composer best known for his operas. He was the youngest member ever elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts (at age 36).
Regarded as one of the leading melodists of his day, Massenet's compositions were extremely popular during his lifetime, though they fell out of fashion shortly after his death. Since the mid-1970s, however, many of his operas have undergone periodic revivals.
In addition to his operas, Massenet composed concert suites, ballet music, oratorios, cantata, and about two hundred songs. Some of his non-vocal output has achieved widespread popularity and is commonly performed. The Méditation from Thaïs, originally written for solo violin and orchestra but arranged below for bass, is one of them. Throughout the years there have been periodic performances and recordings of Massenet's orchestral music, especially the seven suites.
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