The name of Philidor (sometimes Filidor) is an esteemed one in the world of music, and one known to all who are serious about chess; a well-known opening in chess, the Philidor Defense, and a drawing technique in the endgame known as the Philidor Position are named for François-André Danican. Thus, music publishing was simply another feather in the cap of a family of musicians.

André Danican Philidor l'ainé (1652-1730), however, was an important figure in French music publishing. As the Louis XIV's music librarian he and François Fossard, starting in 1684, collected, copied, and organized large quantities of music which became known as the Philidor Collection (Recueil Philidor). This collection was extremely large; well over 100 volumes are known.

François-André Danican (1726-1795) was Philidor's youngest son, born, it seems, when his father was 79 (!). François was also an important composer of operas, however, his works were never very successful, which might explain his interest in chess and his time commitment to the game. He published some of his own works and those of others but, on the whole, this greatest member of the Philidor family left his greatest legacy in chess and not music.


Sources Consulted

  • 1. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, edited by Stanley Sadie.
New York and London: Macmillan Publications, 1980.
  • 2. Schiller, E. Standard Chess Openings. 2 ed
New York: Cardoza Publishing, 2002.

Authority control

  • VIAF (Philidor, André, approximately 1647-1730)