_Pierné recognised the revolutionary musical innovations in the piece, and arranged for the first part performance of the ‘Tableaux’, called ‘Thebes’, which was highly praised by the musical press. Later, numerous works by Fanelli were performed by Pierné.

Unfortunately, Fanelli had already quit composing in 1894, and couldn’t take advantage of his new-found fame. He was either unable or unwilling to resume composing, but still worked as a performer in order to provide for his wife and children. Fanelli passed away some years later.

His composition predated the original works of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel, which led to speculations that either one or both had viewed the manuscript.

Following his death, Fanelli’s widow presumably claimed that Ravel, Debussy and Erik Satie had come to Fanelli’s house and examined his unpublished scores prior to making their own compositions. This supposed statement was published by George Antheil, who says that he was told about Fanelli’s innovations by Constantine von Sternberg. He continues, saying that he went to see Fanelli’s widow, and was given permission to examine Fanelli’s scores.

Fanelli’s most famous work, ‘Tableaux Symphoniques d'apres le Roman de la Momie’, was a symphonic poem written in a series of ‘tableaux’, depicting the novel ‘The Romance of the Mummy’ by Théophile Gautier. ‘Thebes’, the first part, is meant to symbolise the capital city of Egypt. The second part, titled ‘Fete dans le palais du Pharaon’, which depicts royal festivities, never got published, though it was also performed in 1913.

_Name: Ernest Fanelli
Date of Birth: 1860-1917
Place of Birth: Paris, France

Ernest Fanelli was a composer of Italian origin who is best remembered for setting of a controversy regarding the roots of Impressionist music after the first performance of his composition ‘Tableaux Symphoniques’ in 1912. He was called as one of the greatest musical iconoclasts and inventors of all time by George Antheil, and yet he remains in obscurity.

Fanelli was born on 29 June 1860 in Paris to an immigrant family from Bologna. He entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1876 and studied music for some years. However, he got into disputes with his teachers, which led to his expulsion.

Despite claims, he did not study there with Charles-Valentin Alkan, as Alkan had left the Conservatoire in 1848. He may have, however, studied with Napoléon, Alkan’s brother, who was professor of solfège at the Conservatoire during that time. He then got work as a timpanist until he returned to studying music under Léo Delibes; though he soon ran out of resources and was once again unable to finish his studies. He continued working as jobbing percussionist and self-taught himself on composition. He took a moment to relax himself and then started creating his own compositions.

Fanelli sought work in 1912 as a musical copyist, submitting a manuscript to Gabriel Pierné to display his good handwriting. Pierné took interest in the music itself, and Fanelli claimed it was his own composition; ‘Talbeaux Symphoniques’, which he wrote nearly thirty years previously.