Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/495
NOVERRE, JEAN GEORGES, born in Paris, April 29, 1727. His father, who had formerly served under Charles XII, intended him for the army, but his love of dancing and the theatre were invincible, and he became the great au- thority on dancing, and the reformer of the French ballet. A pupil of the celebrated dancer Dupre", he made his de~but before the court at Fontainebleau in 1 743, but apparently without success, as we find him soon afterwards well re- ceived at Berlin. In 1 747 he returned to Paris, and composed several ballets for the Ope"ra Comique, the success of which aroused so much jealousy as to induce him to accept Garrick's invitation to London in 1755. There he spent two years, profiting in more ways than one, as may be seen by the more extended knowledge and more elevated imagination of his ballets of that date. He returned to Paris hoping for the appointment of ballet-master to the Academic, but failing this, he accepted a lucrative engage- ment at the large theatre of Lyons. Here, in conjunction with Granier, he produced three ballets (1758 and 59) of which the scenarios were printed. Here also he published his ' Let- tres sur la Danse et les Ballets ' ( 1 760, i vol. 8vo), which attracted general notice, and greatly in- creased his reputation. Remaining still without a summons to Paris, he found a patron in the Duke of Wirtemberg, for whom he composed no less than twenty divertissements and ballets pantomimes. The Empress Maria Theresa next summoned him to Vienna, as director of the court-fetes, and dancing-master to the Imperial family ; and here again he composed a dozen ballets for the court theatre, the scenarios of which were printed separately. On the marriage of Arch- duke Ferdinand, Noverre received the order of Christ, and permission to take part in the wed- ding fetes at Milan, when he produced several new ballets, afterwards given in Vienna.
On his ret urn to Paris in 1 775, Noverre obtained, through his former pupil Marie Antoinette, now Queen of France, the long-coveted post of ' Maitre des ballets en chef at the Academic. In addi- tion to revivals of earlier works he composed specially for the Ope>a 'Les Caprices de Gala- theV (Sept. 30, 1776); 'Annette et Lubin" (June 9, 1778); 'Les petits Riens' (June n, 1778), for which Mozart wrote twelve pieces; and 'Me'de'e' (Jan. 30, 1780). He also ar- ranged the divertissements of several operas by Gluck and Piccinni. On the outbreak of the Revolution he fled to London, and there pro- duced two of his best ballets, ' Les Noces de Thetis' and 'Iphigenie en Aulide.' After so successful a career he was justified in looking forward to an old age of affluence, but during the Revolution he lost the savings of 50 years and was reduced to poverty, which he bore with dignity and resignation. His death took place at St. Germain en Laye in 1810, in the end of October, according to Choron and Fayolle, on Nov. 19, according to Fe"tis. Some give 1807, but that is apparently a mistake.
Noverre several times remodelled his standard
��work. An edition published at St. Petersburg (1803-4) 'Lettres sur la Danse, sur les Ballets et les Arts,' 4 vols., scarce, and apparently un- known to Fe"tis, contains analyses of numerous ballets. The best-known is the Paris edition of 1807, 'Lettres sur les Arts imitateurs en ge"ne"ral, et sur la Danse en particulier,' 2 vols., with por- trait engraved by Roger after Guerin, and the following lines by Imbert :
Da feu de son genie il aniraa la danse : Aux beaux jours de la Grece il sut la rappelerj Et, recouvrant par lui leur antique eloquence, Les gestes et les pas apprirent a parler
which give a good summary of what Noverre effected. He invented the ballet d'action, re- formed the costume of the dancers, abolished routine in favour of taste, compelled composers to conform their music to the situations in the drama and the sentiments of the characters, and succeeded in making the pantomime appeal to the intellect as well as to the eye.
Among Noverre's writings may be specified ' Observations sur la construction d'une nouvelle Salle de 1'Op^ra' (Amsterdam, 1787); and ' Lettres a uu artiste sur les fetes publiques ' (Year IX.). The MS. notes of an eminent bibliophile allude to another, 'Theorie et pra- tique de la Danse en ge'ne'ral,' which seems not to have been printed, and was doubtless intended for the ' Dictionnaire de la Danse,' projected by Noverre, but not finished. [G, C.}
NOWELL. [See NofiL.]
NOZZE DI FIGARO, LE. Opera buffa by Mozart, in 4 acts ; the libretto by L. da Ponte after Beaumarchais' ' Manage de Figaro,' on Mozart's own suggestion. It is dated, in Mozart's Autograph Catalogue, Vienna, April 29, 1876, and the first performance took place at the National Theatre, Vienna, May i. In Paris as ' Le Manage de Figaro,' in 5 acts, with Beau- marchais' spoken dialogue, at Academic, March 20, 1 793 ; at Theatre Lyrique, as ' Les Noces de Figaro,' by Barbier and Carre", in 4 acts, May 8, 1858. In London, in Italian, at the King's Theatre, June 18, 1812. [G.]
NUANCES (shades). This word is used in music to denote the various modifications of time, force, and expression, which are the most promi- nent characteristic of modern music, whether indicated by the composer or inserted by the performer. As examples of modifications of time may be cited the directions rallmtando, acceller- ando, calami o, lentando, stringendo, etc. ; of force, crescendo, diminuendo, pesante,martellato, besides piano and forte with their own modifications, as mezzo piano, pianissimo, etc., the marks -== r=- for crescendo and diminuendo, and A or => for sforzando ; of expression, dolce,espressivo, marcato, lusinyando, etc. No exact date can be given for the time when these marks originated, as they came very gradually into use. They became more and more common as the instruments were gradually improved. Burney (vol. iv. p. 187) says, speaking of Matthew Lock : ' In his third introductory music to the Tempest ' (written ia