Gabriel Pares was an outstanding student at the Conservatoire de Paris, winning first prizes in composition, cornet and harmony. He studied composition with Léo Delibes. Pares ultimately assumed leadership of Orchestre de la Garde Républicaine in 1893. During that tenure (1893-1910) he wrote approximately 90 original works and 50 arrangements.
His Traite d' Instrumentation et d' orchestration a l' Usages des Musique Militaires set the performance standard for French wind orchestra. His skills gave rise to the golden age of Orchestre de la Garde Républicaine and established Pares as the French equivalent of John Philip Sousa.
Richilde Overture remains to be a favorite amongst Pares’ many works. This dramatic piece, in standard overture style, is strongly late romantic. The beginning horn statement and successive themes, all superbly orchestrated, draw towards a profound conclusion.
The overture’s original instrumentation followed that of Orchestre de la Garde Républicaine, with frequent use of the saxophone family. Such full instrumentation sought an orchestral sound and effect. This arrangement uses contemporary wind orchestra instrumentation to preserve the atmosphere of the original. Performers must focus on quality solo and tutti efforts while pursuing ideal symphonic balance, blend, and tone.