Paul Dukas

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

            Dukas is not alone in his misfortune in composing a piece whose overwhelming popularity has obscured other worthwhile compositions.  While he is well known in France, and was an important composer, critic, and teacher in the early decades of the twentieth century, American audiences know him almost exclusively from his Sorcerer’s Apprentice.  He was not a particularly prolific composer, but was successful in France—largely owing to his dramatic works, especially the opera, Ariane et Barbe-bleue, as well a symphony and the ballet, La Péri.  An intelligent and respected music critic, he wrote over four hundred articles and reviews.   But, perhaps his most lasting contribution to French musical life was as a teacher at the leading French musical insti