Roméo Larivière

Larivière, Roméo (Clément). Composer, Gregorianist, b Montreal 21 Nov 1880, d Joliette, Que, 5 Mar 1939. He joined the Clercs de Saint-Viateur as a teaching brother while very young and was attached mainly to St-Joseph College in Berthierville and the Bourget College in Rigaud, Que.

Larivière, Roméo (Clément). Composer, Gregorianist, b Montreal 21 Nov 1880, d Joliette, Que, 5 Mar 1939. He joined the Clercs de Saint-Viateur as a teaching brother while very young and was attached mainly to St-Joseph College in Berthierville and the Bourget College in Rigaud, Que. Except for a few piano lessons in Montreal from Jean-Baptiste Denys, he was largely self-taught as a musician. Nevertheless, he became a teacher of liturgical song and a respected composer.

Larivière collaborated with the Schola cantorum of Montreal, which in the early 1920s published his Cantique pour une première messe and a Cor Jesu for choir. These were followed by other religious works: Terra tremuit, Regina coeli (1925), Laetentur coeli, and Tui sunt coeli (1927), and two requiem masses (1930), not to mention numerous motets and sacred songs. His 'Dollard' was performed first in Carillon, Que, in 1922.

Larivière's Manuel de chant grégorien was well received when it was published in 1930; the work is based on the Gregorian principles of Dom Pothier, Amédée Gastoué, and Dom Lucien David. After Larivière's death, Dom David wrote: '[he was] very gifted musically... [He] played an important role for some 40 years in the reaffirmation of sacred vocal music [ie, Gregorian plainsong] in Canada' (Revue du chant grégorien, Paris, May 1939).

Through their simplicity, their honest approach, and, on occasion, their brilliance, the compositions of Brother Larivière have provided for choirmasters a repertoire much needed and well suited to its liturgical purpose. Most of his papers are held at the Bourget College; a number of manuscripts are also deposited with the Clercs de Saint-Viateur in Joliette.