Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/232

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.




��dart san-glant est le - - ve, l'5ten - dart sanglant est

��vi5. En - ten-dez - vous dans ces cam-pa - gues Mu-

���bras E - gor - ger vos fils, vos com - pa-gnes ! AIM

��ar - - mes ci - to - yens!

��for - mez vos ba-tail-


��Ions. Mar- chez. mar-chez, qu'unsangim-pur

��breu - ve nos sil - Ions.

��-p LH Ijt^gJE*

��� ��S=pz

��The 'Chant de Guerre' was sung in Diet- rich's house on April 25, copied and arranged for a military band on the following day, and performed by the band of the Garde Nationale at a review on Sunday, the 29th. On June 25 a singer named Mireur sang it at a civic banquet at Marseilles with so much effect that it was immediately printed, and distributed to the volunteers of the battalion just starting for Paris. They entered Paris on July 30, sing- ing their new hymn; and with it on their lips they marched to the attack on the Tuileries on August 10, 1792. From that day the 'Chant de guerre pour I'anne'e du Rhin' was called ' Chanson ' or ' Chant des Marseillais,' and, finally, ' La Marseillaise.' The people, shouting it in the streets, probably altered a note or two ; the musicians, Edelmann, Gre"try, and most of all Gossec, in their accompaniments for pianoforte and orchestra, greatly enriched the harmonies, and soon the ' Marseillaise,' in the form we have it now (and which need hardly be quoted), was known from one end of France to the other.

The original edition contained only six coup- lets ; the seventh was added when it was drama- tised for the F6te of the Federation, in order to complete the characters an old man, a soldier, a wife, and a child among whom the verses were distributed. Rouget de Lisle had been cashiered for expressing disapproval of the events of the loth of August, and was then in prison, from which he was only released after the fall of Robespierre, on the gth Thennidor (July 28),


1794. The following fine stanza for the child was accordingly supplied by Dubois, editor of the ' Journal de Littdrature ' :

' Nous entrerons dans la carriere,


��uaiul nos atnds n'y seront plus ; ous y trouverons leur poussi^re

��Kt la trace de leurs vertus. 3 '.ien moins jaloux de leur stirvivre Que de partager leur cercueil, Nous aurons le sublime orgueil De les venger ou de les suivie.'

Dubois also proposed to alter the concluding lines of the sixth stanza :

' Que tes ennemis expirants Voient ton triomphe et notre gloire '

' Dans tes ennemis expirants Vois ton triomphe et notre gloire.'

These are minute details, but no fact connected with this most celebrated of French national airs is uninteresting.

That Rouget de Lisle was the author of the words of the ' Marseillaise ' has never beeu doubted indeed Louis Philippe conferred a pen- sion upon him ; but it has been denied over and over again that he composed the music. Strange to say, Castil-Blaze (see ' Moliere musicien,' vol. ii. pp. 452-454), who should have recognised the vigour and dash so characteristic of the French, declared it to have been taken from a German hymn.

In F. K. Meyer's Versailler Briefe (Berlin, 1872) there is an article upon the origin of the Marseillaise, in which it is stated that the tune is the same as that to which the Volkslied ' Stand ich auf hohen Bergen' is sung in Upper Bavaria. The author of the article heard it sung in 1842 by an old woman of 7> w h informed him that it was a ver3' old tune, and that she had learnt it from her mother and grandmother. The tune is also said to exist in the Credo of a MS. Mass composed by Holtz- mann in 1776, which is preserved in the parish church of Meersburg. (See the Gartenlaube for 1861, p. 256.) Recent enquiry (August, 1879) on the spot from the curate of Meersburg has proved that there is no truth in this story.

Fe"tis, in 1863, asserted that the music was the work of a composer named Navoigille, and reinforces his statement in the 2nd edition of his ' Biographic Universelle." Georges Kastner (' Revue et Gazette Musicale," Paris, 1848) and several other writers, including the author of this article (see Chouquet's ' L'Art Musical,' Sept. 8, i864~March 9, 65), have clearly disproved these allegations ; and the point was finally settled by a pamphlet, ' La Verite" sur la paternite" de la Marseillaise" (Paris, 1865), written by A. Rouget de Lisle, nephew of the composer, which contains precise information and documentary evidence, establishing Rouget de Lisle's claim beyond a doubt. The controversy is examined at length by Loquin in ' Les melodies populaires de la France,' Paris. 1879. The 'Marseillaise' has been often made use of by composers. Of these, two may be cited Salieri, in the opening chorus of his opera, 'Palmira' (1795), and Grison, in the introduction to the oratorio ' Esther ' (still in MS.), both evidently intentional. Schumann uses it in his song of the Two Grenadiers with

�� �