Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/365

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CHORLEY.
353
CHORON.

eccentric character, and an erratic temperament, common to most of its members, which accorded ill with the rigid tenets of the Society of Friends, to which they belonged. At 8 years of age he lost his father, and he received afterwards a somewhat desultory education, first at the hands of private tutors, and then at a day-school at St. Helen's. School, however, was intolerable to him. At an early age he was removed, and placed in a merchant's office. This suited him as little. The only approach to systematic teaching in music which he ever received was from J. Z. Herrmann, afterwards conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic Society. It soon became evident that nothing like executive proficiency was to be attained by him, and this he had the sense to perceive and acknowledge. Music, however, remained his leading passion. He frequented all the performances within reach; and his notes of these in his journal bear witness to the steady growth of his judgment. In September 1830 he made his first appearance in the columns of the 'Athenæum,' and shortly after was received upon its staff. He then settled in London, and continued to write for the Athenæum until within a few years of his death in 1873. The work entrusted to him was very varied, and shows how high an estimate of his ability must have been formed by its shrewd editor, before an untried youth could have been elected to criticise such authors as Moore, Landor, Southey, Crabbe, Mrs. Hemans, William and Mary Howitt, and Mrs. Jameson; or to write the obituary notice of Coleridge. In all this he acquitted himself admirably, but naturally made some enemies, partly through the criticisms of other writers being attributed to his pen. At the same time he attempted composition in other branches of literature novels, dramas, biographies, and poems. Among these may be mentioned 'Sketches of a Seaport Town' (1834); 'Conti, the Discarded' (1835); 'Memorials of Mrs. Hemans' (1836); 'The Authors of England' (1838); 'The Lion. a Tale of the Coteries' (1839); 'Music and Manners in France and North Germany' (1841); 'Old Love and New Fortune' (1850), a five-act play in blank verse; 'Pomfret' (1845); 'The Lovelock' (1854); Duchess Eleanour' (1866). He dramatised G. Sand's 'L'Uscoque,' set to music by Benedict; for whom also he wrote the libretto of 'Red Beard.' Besides translating many foreign libretti, he wrote the original word-books of one version of the 'Amber Witch' (Wallace), of 'White Magic' (Biletta), of the 'May Queen' (Bennett), Judith' and 'Holyrood' (Leslie), 'St. Cecilia' (Benedict), 'Sapphire Necklace' and 'Kenilworth' (Sullivan), and words for many songs by Meyerbeer, Goldschmidt, Gounod, Sullivan, etc. He will be best remembered, however, as a musical critic. Within a year of his joining the staff of the 'Athenæum' he had that department entrusted entirely to him, which he did not give up till 1868. His two published works which will live the longest are those which contain the deliberate expression of his opinions on the subject of music, viz. 'Modern German Music' (1854)—a republication, with large additions, of his former work 'Music and Manners'—and 'Thirty Years' Musical Recollections' (1862). His musical ear and memory were remarkable, and his acquaintance with musical works was very extensive. He spared no pains to make up for the deficiency of his early training, and from first to last was conspicuous for honesty and integrity. Full of strong prejudices, yet with the highest sense of honour, he frequently criticised those whom he esteemed more severely than those whom he disliked. The natural bias of his mind was undoubtedly towards conservatism in art, but he was often ready to acknowledge dawning or unrecognised genius, whose claims he would with unwearied pertinacity urge upon the public, as in the cases of Hullah, Sullivan, and Gounod. Strangest of all was his insensibility to the music of Schumann. 'Perhaps genius alone fully comprehends genius,' says Schumann, and genius Chorley had not, and, in consequence, to the day of his death he remained an uncompromising opponent of a musician whose merits had already been amply recognised by the English musical public. He was still more strongly opposed to recent and more 'advanced' composers. Of Mendelssohn, on the other hand, he always wrote and spoke with the enthusiasm of an intimate friend. Beside his many notices in the Athenæum and in the musical works already mentioned, he contributed an article on Mendelssohn to the 'Edinburgh Review ' (Jan. 1862), and a Preface to Lady Wallace's translation of the Reisebriefe. In the second volume of his letters Mendelssohn names him more than once. He had, indeed, won the esteem and friendship of most of the distinguished literary and artistic men and women of his day, and 'it was not a small nor an obscure number, either in England or on the continent, who felt, at the announcement of his death, Feb. 16, 1872, that an acute and courageous critic, a genuine if incomplete artist, and a warm-hearted honourable gentleman had gone to his rest' (See 'H. F. Chorley, Autobiography, Memoir, and Letters, by H. G. Hewlett.' London, 1873).

[ J. M. ]

CHORON, Alexandre Etienne, born at Caen October 21, 1771, died at Paris June 29, 1834. He was a good scholar before becoming a musician. He began the study of music without assistance, but afterwards received lessons from Roze, Bonesi, and other Italian professors. Highly gifted by nature, he soon acquired great knowledge in mathematics, languages, and every branch of music, and published his 'Principes d'accompagnement des écoles d'ltalie' (Paris, 1804). In 1808 he gave his 'Principes de composition des écoles d'ltalie' (3 vols.), in which he introduced Sala's practical exercises on fugue and counterpoint, Marpurg's treatise on fugue, many exercises from Padre Martini's ' Esemplare,' and a new system of harmony of his own—a work which cost him much time and money. He next became a music publisher, and published many fine works of the best Italian and German