S. Cherubini, exsurintendant de la musique du roi, Directeur du Conservatoire de musique, Commandeur de l'ordre royale de la legion d'honneur, Membre de l'Institut de France, etc., etc., etc. Paris, chez les principaux editeurs de musique, 1843.' It is an 8vo. pamphlet of 36 pages, with a short preface by M. Bottée de Toulmon, and a notice to intending purchasers, for whom it was made public. It is now very rare.
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[ W. H. H. ]
[ W. H. C. ]
BOUCHER, Alexandre Jean, a well-known violinist, was born at Paris in 1770 [App. p.557 "April 10"]. It is related that he played at the court when only six, and at the Concert Spirituel when eight years of age. In 1787 he went to Madrid, where he was appointed solo-violinist to the king, and associated as a quartet-player with Boccherini. In 1806 he returned to Paris, and in 1820 began to travel over Europe, exciting everywhere, if not the unconditional approbation of artists and critics, at any rate the admiration and curiosity of the general public by his extraordinary performances. In 1844 he returned to France, settled at Orleans, and died at Paris in 1861 [App. p.557 "Dec. 30"].
Possessed undoubtedly of an exceptional talent for execution, Boucher was not a little of a musical charlatan. Spohr made his personal acquaintance at Brussels in 1819, and speaks of him as follows: 'His face bore a remarkable likeness to Napoleon Bonaparte's, and he had evidently carefully studied the banished emperor's way of bearing himself, lifting his hat, taking 'snuff,' etc. (Selbstbiog. ii. 73). As soon as he came to a town where he intended giving a concert, he practised these tricks on the public walks and in the theatre, in order to attract the curiosity of the public; he even managed to spread a rumour that he was persecuted by existing governments on account of his likeness to Napoleon, because his appearance was likely to revive the sympathies of the masses for that great man. He certainly advertised a concert at Lille in these terms: 'Une malheureuse ressemblance me force de m'expatrier; je donnerai done avant de quitter ma belle patrie, un concert d'adieux,' etc. He also styled himself 'L'Alexandre des Violons.'
In his proficiency in the execution of double stops, the staccato, and other technical difficulties, he appears to have been only surpassed by Paganini, and we are assured by competent contemporary critics that he now and then played a slow movement with ravishing, if somewhat extravagant, expression. But whatever powers of execution his performances may have shown, if, as Spohr states, he altogether spoiled a quartet of Haydn by tasteless additions, we must conclude that he was but an indifferent musician. After what we know of his general character as an artist, it is not surprising to learn that he not unfrequently wound up a furious passage by intentionally upsetting the bridge of his violin as a climax, and that he used to perform quite as much by the action of the face and legs as of the bow.Boucher's wife was a clever player on the harp, but seems to have adopted her husband's doubtful means of winning the applause of the public. She used to play duets for piano and harp, with one hand on each instrument.
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BOURGEOIS, Louis, writer on the theory of music, born in Paris in the beginning of the 16th century. He followed Calvin in 1541 to Geneva, where he was cantor of one of the churches, but quarrelled with the presbytery, who would not allow him to introduce a harmonised version of the Psalms in public worship. He threw up his post, and returned in 1557 to Paris, where he was still living in 1561, but after that date all trace of him is lost. His great work is 'Le droict chemin de musique,' etc. (Geneva, 1550). In this he proposed a new system of notation, which was accepted not only by the Protestants, but by all French musicians' and not finally abandoned till the beginning of