Canon Henri Carol
1946 - 1971

Le Chanoine Henri Carol

Henri Carol was born in Montpellier on January 18th 1910. Emmanuel Berle had been his professor of harmony and organ at Enclos Saint François, the school he attended; and he went on to graduating at the music Academy of Bordeaux with a first prize in piano being awarded to him. He was ordained a Priest in 1933, and taught thereafter at the small seminary of Saint-Roch in Montpellier together with Joseph Roucairol. Henri Carol was the Chapel Master, while Roucairol was the organist.

As soon as the War was over, Henri Carol would conduct -and himself educate- various young choirs. He taught the singers how to read music, and in no time they built together a vast Repertoire of considerable value.

The young singers of the small seminary of Saint-Roch succeeded in executing every Sunday a different mass for four voices, quite a feat, indeed, knowing they hadn’t been selected on musical criteria.

The Principality of Monaco called him to take over the head of the Cathedral’s Choir from his late predecessor Canon Aurat, and Henri Carol took up his new office at the start of 1946. From there, he conducted some of the greatest works of the Repertoire, notably, and to name but a few: the Messiah of Haendel, the Cantatas For The Complete Liturgical Year of Bach, Rebecca of Franck, Fauré’s and Mozart’s Requiem, the Imperial Mass of Haydn, the Enfance du Christ of Berlioz, the Creation of Haydn, the De Profundis of Lalande, L’enfant prodigue of Debussy, Judas Maccabaeus of Haendel, the Te Deum of Lalande and of Charpentier.

In addition, a great number of concerts and tours were performed throughout Europe. As of 1964, he became titular canon of Saint-Charles church, in Monaco. On April 27th 1967, he performed himself as organist the first execution of the Mass Urban V, composed by Joseph Roucairol. In 1968, Henri Carol took over from Emile Bourdon the office of organist of the Monaco’s Cathedral, and brilliantly succeeded as a virtuoso. In 1975, he had a new organ built.

He also played an active part to the musical life of South of France, most specifically by editing harmonised Nice songs and by composing, in 1960, a Solemn March for Great Organ, which commemorated the incorporation of Nice to France. All the while developing his activities in Nice and Monaco, he also served from 1947 to 1969, as a member to the management committee of the Federation of Pueri Cantores. In particular, he acted as technical counsellor for the Federation, at its National Congress of 1969.

He died in a car accident, in 1984.

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