Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/267

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BOESENDORFER.
255
BOIELDIEU.

upon Viennese. By these changes he has raised his instruments to a place beside those of other acknowledged leading pianoforte-makers in Austria and Germany.

[ A. J. H. ]

BOESSET, Antoine, born about 1585, died 1643, 'conseiller du roi' and 'surintendant de la musique des chambres du roi et de la reine' under Louis XIII; composer of court ballets, 24 in number, and ten books of airs in four and five parts, which attained immense popularity in their day. An English translation of the first book of his airs appeared with the title 'Court Ayres with their Ditties Englished' (London, 1629). He was succeeded in his posts and titles at the court of Louis XIV by his son Jean Baptiste, born 1612, died 1685, and he, in 1667, by his son Claude Jean Baptiste, born about 1636, who composed, in addition to ballets for the court, a series of duets called 'Fruits d'Automne' (Paris, 1684).

[ M. C. C. ]

BOHEMIAN GIRL, THE, a grand opera in three acts; the libretto adapted by Bunn from Fanny Ellsler's ballet of 'The Gipsy' (not the 'Gitana'); the music by Balfe. Produced at Drury Lane Nov. 27, 1843, also at Her Majesty's Feb. 6, 58, as 'La Zingara' (Piccolomini as Arline); and in December, 69, at the Theatre Lyrique, Paris, as 'La Bohémienne,' with additions by the composer.

BOHRER, the name of a family of musicians. (1) Caspar, born 1744 at Mannheim, trumpeter in the court band, and remarkable performer on the double-bass; called to Munich in 1778, and died there Nov. 4, 1809. (2) His son and pupil Anton, born at Munich, 1783, learned the violin from Kreutzer, and composition from Winter and Danzi, and became violin-player in the court orchestra at Munich. With his brother Max (born 1785) he undertook in 1810 an extensive tour, ending in Russia, where they narrowly escaped transportation to Siberia as employés of the King of Bavaria, Napoleon's ally. In 1823 the brothers were appointed to the royal orchestra in Berlin, but quarrelling with Spontini lost their posts. Anton then resided in Paris till 1834, when he was made Concertmeister at Hanover. Max obtained a similar position at Stuttgart. The brothers married two sisters of Ferdinand David and of Madame Dulcken. Anton's daughter, Sophie, a girl of much promise as a piano-player, died in 1849 at Petersburg, aged 21.

[ F. G. ]

BOIELDIEU, François Adrien,[1] was born December 16 (not 15), 1775, at Rouen, where his father held the position of secretary to Archbishop Larochefoucauld. Hia mother kept a milliner's shop in the same city. The union does not seem to have been a happy one. We know at least that during the Revolution the elder Boieldieu availed himself of the law of divorce passed at that time to separate from his first wife and contract a second marriage. Domestic dissensions were perhaps the reason why our composer, when his talent for music began to show itself, exchanged the house of his parents for that of his master, the organist of the cathedral, Broche, who, although an excellent musician and pupil of the celebrated Padre Martini, was known as a drunkard, and occasionally treated Boieldieu with brutality. On one occasion, it is said, the boy had stained one of his master's books with ink, and in order to evade the cruel punishment in store for him escaped from Broche's house and went on foot to Paris, where he was found after much trouble by his family. Whether he returned to Broche seems uncertain. Neither are we informed of any other master to whom the composer owed the rudimentary knowledge of his art. This knowledge, however acquired, was put to the test for the first time in 1793, when an opera by Boieldieu, called 'La fille coupable' (words by his father) was performed at Rouen with considerable success. It has hitherto been believed that Boieldieu left Rouen for Paris immediately, or at least very soon after, this first attempt. This however must be a mistake, unless we accept the improbable conjecture of a second temporary sojourn in the capital. Certain it is that Boieldieu was again in Rouen October 28, 1795, when another opera by him, 'Rosalie et Myrza,' was performed at the theatre of that city. The success of this second venture does not seem to have been brilliant, to judge at least by the 'Journal de Rouen,' which after briefly noticing the book observes silence with regard to the music. Many of Boieldieu's charming ballads and chansons owe their origin to this period, and added considerably to the local reputation of the young composer. Much pecuniary advantage he does not seem to have derived from them, for Cochet, the Paris publisher of these minor compositions, told Fétis that Boieldieu was glad to part with the copyright for the moderate remuneration of twelve francs apiece. Soon after the appearance of his second opera Boieldieu left Rouen for good. Ambition and the consciousness of power caused him to be dissatisfied with the narrow sphere of his native city, particularly after the plan (advocated by him in an article in the 'Journal de Rouen,' entitled 'Reflexions patriotiques sur l'utilité de l'étude de la musique') of starting a music school on the model of the newly-founded Conservatoire had failed.

To Paris therefore Boieldieu went for a second time, with an introduction from Garat the singer to Jadin (a descendant of the well-known Belgian family of musicians), at whose house he found a hospitable reception, and became acquainted with the leading composers of the day, Cherubini amongst the number. Boieldieu made his début as an operatic composer in the capital with the 'Famille Suisse,' which was performed at the Théâtre Feydeau in 1797, and had a run of thirty nights alternately with Cherubini's 'Médée.' Other operas followed in rapid succession, amongst which we mention 'Zoraîme et Zulnare' (written

  1. An important work by A. Pougin, 'Boieldieu: sa vie, ses ouvres, son caracètre, sa correspondance,' published in 1875, has thrown new light on the composer's career, and corrected many erroneous statements made by Fétis and other biographers.