Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/573

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BOTTESINI.
557
BOURGEOIS.

Here his first opera, 'Christophe Colombe,' was given in 1846.

His first appearance in this country was on June 26, 1849, at the Musical Union, where he played the violoncello part of one of Onslow's quintets, which, it will be remembered, contain prominent solo passages for that instrument. By his performance of this and of a solo he astonished all present, and at once won for himself the reputation which he has ever since enjoyed, of being the most accomplished virtuoso on the double bass in the annals of musical history. Those alone who have heard him play can realise the beauty of the performance. It is not only marvellous as a tour de force, but the consummate skill of this great artist enables him to produce a result delightful even for the most fastidious musician to listen to. Extraordinary agility and strength of hand, dexterous use of the harmonics, purity of tone and intonation, perfect taste in phrasing—in fact all the requisites of a great solo player—are exhibited by Bottesini on this cumbrous instrument. It can only be regretted that such exceptional powers should not have been devoted to an instrument more worthy of them. It may be mentioned that Bottesini plays upon a three-stringed bass, which he prefers as being more sonorous, and with a bow made and held somewhat like that of the violoncello, whereas the curved bow generally employed in the orchestra was used by Dragonetti. (The relative merits of these two forms of bow were the subject of an enquiry by a committee nominated by the Paris Conservatoire at the time of its foundation. Dragonetti was consulted and the pattern of his bow adopted for the orchestra of the institution.) Bottesini is also distinguished as composer and conductor. In this latter capacity he presided over the orchestra of the Italian Opera in Paris from 1855 to 1857. He was afterwards director of the Italian Opera at Cairo. He has written several pieces for his instrument, among which his fantasia on Sonnambula, the Carnival of Venice, and duets which he played with Signori Sivori and Piatti, will long be remembered—also the opera of 'L'Assedio di Firenze' produced in Paris in 1856, 'Ali Baba,' written for and performed in London with considerable success in 1871, 'Ero e Leandro' (produced successfully at Turin in 1879), and one or two quartets. For some time he has paid, with more or less regularity, an annual visit to England. At the Norwich Festival of 1887 an oratorio by him, to words by Mr. Joseph Bennett, entitled 'The Garden of Olivet,' was performed for the first time. It only remains to be added that Bottesini is as amiable as a man as he is excellent as an artist, and that he enjoys the universal goodwill of the musical profession. (Died July 7, 1889.)

[ T. P. H. ]

BOUCHER, A. J. Add days of birth and death, April 10, and Dec. 30.

BOUFFONS, Les. See Matassins, vol.ii. 236.

BOURGAULT-DUCOUDRAY, Louis Albert, French composer, born at Nantes Feb. 2. 1840, is a member of a family in easy circumstances, and is nephew of Billault, the famous minister of the second empire. Having gone through a complete course of classical studies, and entered the legal profession in 1859, he was received into Ambroise Thomas's class at the Conservatoire, and in 1862 he carried off the first prize for composition. Though devoted to his art, Bourgault-Ducoudray has not produced much. His chief works are a Stabat Mater, performed at St. Eustache Apr. 5, 1868, and at the Concerts Populaires, Good Friday, Apr. 3, 1874, a work written in an archaic style, having in it something of the manner and the vague tonality of plain chant without being restricted to its rules; an orchestral suite in four movements, entitled 'Fantaisie en Ut mineur' (Concerts Populaires Dec. 27, 1874), a well orchestrated composition, but too long, and built on subjects of no interest; and finally, a little 'satiric' drama, 'La Conjuration des Fleurs,' of which he also wrote the words, and which was produced under his own direction at the Salle Herz, Jan. 27, 1883. Having never written for the stage and very rarely for the concert-room, Bourgault-Ducoudray has turned his attention towards the works of the older masters of the 'primitive' school, and towards the popular songs of all countries. In 1869 he founded in Paris an amateur choral society, and gave in a most excellent manner such works as Handel's 'Alexander's Feast' and 'Acis and Galatea,' cantatas by Bach, Clément Jannequin's 'Bataille de Marignan,' selections from Rameau, choruses by Palestrina, Orlando Lasso, etc. A nervous disorder obliged him to give up the direction of this society, which soon came to an end. Ordered to a warmer climate on account of his health, he went to Greece on a kind of musical mission, and brought back some interesting notes on the music of that country, which he published in a pamphlet entitled 'Souvenirs d'une mission musicale en Grèce et en Orient' (1876). He published some piano duets, 'Le Carnaval à Athènes,' on popular Greek airs, and an important collection of songs, 'Trente Mélodies populaires de la Grèce et de l'Orient,' collected and harmonised with Greek, Italian, and French words. Since 1878 he has lectured on the history of music at the Conservatoire. He undertook recently a musical journey into Brittany, and published on his return 'Trente Mélodies populaires de la Basse Bretagne,' collected and harmonised with a French translation in verse by F. Coppée (1885). Though little known to the public, and having produced little original work, Bourgault-Ducoudray occupies an honourable position in the musical world, and is an enthusiastic musician, with ardent convictions and a constant and earnest devotion to art.

[ A. J. ]

BOURGEOIS, Louis. To the article in vol. i, p. 263, add the following notice.

This musician, the son of Guillaume Bourgeois, was born in Paris at the beginning of the 16th century. In 1541 he was invited to Geneva about the time of Calvin's return from Strasburg. On the