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Adolphe Hennebains By Bernard Duplaix Translated by Robert Bigio Adolphe Hennebains (1862–1914) was born in Saint Omer in northern France. His family was poor but made every effort to enable him to become a musician. Hennebains entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1878 where he studied with Henry Altès, obtaining his Premier Prix in 1880. Hennebains was held in high regard by Paul Taffanel. The two became firm friends, and throughout his life Hennebains regarded the older man as his 'true master'. Hennebains became first flute in the Pasdeloup Orchestra and later the Lamoureux Orchestra between 1880 and 1890. In 1891 he joined the orchestra of the Paris Opéra, becoming first flute the following year. At the same time he became first flute in the Paris Conservatoire orchestra (the Societé des Concerts du Conservatoire, the most important French orchestra of the time). In both cases he succeeded Taffanel. Hennebains was a busy chamber music player, in Taffanel's Societé pour Instruments à Vent, and especially in the Double Quintette, a celebrated ensemble that performed throughout Europe, and he partnered such distinguished performers as the pianists Alfred Cortot, Louis Diémer, Francis Planté and Edouard Risler, the harpsichordists Marguerite Delcourt and Wanda Landowska, the violinists Georges Enescu and Jacques Thibaud and the singers Louise Grandjean and Alice Verlet. He was much admired and very active as a soloist, and he was friendly with many composers, including Cécile Chaminade, Gabriel Fauré, Georges Hüe, Vincent D'Indy, Jules Massenet and Charles-Marie Widor, often performing with them and receiving dedications of their works. Hennebains was at ease in high society, regularly performing in aristocratic salons in Paris. As a teacher, Hennebains received, often without payment, many private students including Georges Laurent, Marcel Moyse and René Le Roy. He became assistant to Taffanel at the Paris Conservatoire from 1893, replaced him regularly from 1905 and became professor at the Conservatoire in his own right in 1909 after Taffanel's death. He was regarded as a warm and extremely generous teacher and was adored by his students, who included Jean Boulze, André Lespès, Albert Manouvrier and Joseph Rampal, the father and first teacher of Jean-Pierre Rampal. In August 1914, at the start of the Great War, Hennebains took refuge in Primel-Trégastel, Brittany. A sensitive and deeply anti-militaristic man, he suffered a heart attack on 17 September on hearing of the death in battle of one of his favourite students.
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Benjamin Godard: Allegretto from Suite Op. 116. Unknown orchestra. Recorded 1908.
Photograph of Adolphe Hennebains courtesy of Bernard Duplaix.
Adolphe Hennebains Adolphe Hennebains