Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/703

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
JULLIEN.
687
JUNCK.

which cannot be sufficiently admired. His recently published life of that master is not only a monument of accurate and erudite information, but a complete and in most cases just review of all his works, while the collection of caricatures and the other illustrations make the book exceedingly amusing. He is now about to publish a companion volume on Berlioz. But before engaging in the great musical battle of our day, he had proclaimed his convictions with regard to Berlioz, Schumann, and other composers who were too little appreciated in France, with great vigour and exhaustive knowledge of his subject. He has at various times contributed to the 'Revue et Gazette musicale,' the 'Ménestrel,' the 'Chronique musicale,' the 'Renaissance musicale,' the 'Revue contemporaine,' the 'Moniteur du Bibliophile,' the 'Revue de France,' the 'Correspondant,' the 'Revue Britannique,' 'L'Art,' 'Figaro,' and other periodicals. He was critic to the 'Français' from May 1872 to Nov. 1887, when that paper was amalgamated with the old 'Moniteur universel'; since that time M. Jullien has remained on the staff. Besides exercising the ordinary avocations of a musical critic, he has made an intimate study of the history of the eighteenth century, especially in connection with the theatrical affairs of the time; and most of his earliest books, which have become exceedingly difficult to procure, treat of this subject. His first books, 'L'Opera en 1788' (1873), and 'La Musique et les Philosophes au XVIIIe siècle' (1873), were followed by several which have no direct bearing on music. A complete list of his works since 1876 is appended:—'Un Potentat musical,' etc. (1876); 'L'Église et l'Opéra en 1735' (1877); 'Weber à Paris' (1877); 'Airs variés, histoire, critique, biographies musicales et dramatiques' (1877); 'La Cour et l'Opéra sous Louis XVI' (1878); 'La Comédie et la Galanterie au XVIIIe siècle' (1879); 'Histoire du Costume au Théâtre' (1880); 'Goethe et la musique' (1880); 'L'Opéra secret au XVIIIe siècle' (1880); 'La Ville et la Cour au XVIIIe siècle' (in which is embodied the second of the earlier works, 1881); 'Hector Berlioz' (1882); 'La Comédie à la Cour' (1883); 'Paris dilettante au commencement du siècle' (1884); and 'Richard Wagner, sa vie et ses œuvres' (1886). [App. p.819 "Add to list of works his biography of Berlioz, the companion volume to his 'Richard Wagner,' 1888."]

[ M. ]

JULLIEN'S MILITARY JOURNAL. Omit the reference to Military Journals.

JUNCK, Benedetto, born August 24, 1852, at Turin, his mother being an Italian, and his father a native of Alsace. After a mathematical training at Turin, he was sent into a commercial house at Paris. He would from the first have preferred to make music his profession, but although the Juncks were a wealthy family, his father objected to the choice of so precarious a career. His natural bias, however, proved too strong; and instead of applying himself closely to business, Benedetto Junck devoted his time chiefly to music. Such musical education as he brought with him to Paris was slight, and almost entirely confined to the pianoforte. Hence the orchestral works of the great masters which he first heard in Paris keenly stirred his artistic temperament; and his ambition to dedicate himself to music became deeply rooted. In 1870 he returned to Turin as required by law to perform a year of military service, and about this time his father died. He was now free to follow his own inclinations, and at the age of 22 he went to Milan, and put himself under Alberto Mazzucato (then principal of the Milan Conservatorio) for a course of study in harmony and counterpoint. He also worked a short time under Bazzini.

In 1879 Junck married, and his home is now in Milan, where during the winter season he gives concerts in his own house, at which leading artists are wont to meet. Being a man of independent means, he has no motive for writing but the impulse of his own mind. His worksare not numerous, but are all marked by earnestness, refinement and culture.

The list of his published works is as follows:—

  1. 'La Simona,' a set of twelve songs for Soprano and Tenor (words by Fontana). 1878.
  2. Otte Romanze (words by Heine and Panzacchi). 1881.
  3. Two Songs (words by Heine). 1883.
  4. Sonata for PF. and Violin in G. 1884.
  5. Sonata for PF. and Violin in D. 1885.
  6. String Quartet in E. 1886.

Although the earliest of Junck's works, 'La Simona' still stands pre-eminent among them for originality and power; but some of the 'Otte Romanze,'—especially nos. 2 and 4, entitled Dolce sera and Flebil traversa l'anima mia, are also compositions of a high order. The melodies are graceful and flowing, and the accompaniments are worked out with care and taste.

It is, however, in chamber-music that Benedetto Junck may be said to have rendered the most valuable service, because this kind of music has been neglected in Italy, and is consequently a scarce product there. Both the sonatas and the quartet are well-written and interesting works; the form is clear, and the ideas are fresh and melodious; and the treatment of the instruments shows a skilful hand. Of the single movements[1] we would especially commend the Andante of the Sonata in G, which contains a warm and impassioned melody of much beauty, and the graceful and delicate Presto of the second sonata. Both are highly effective without being difficult.

A special characteristic of Junck's is his skill in combining distinct melodies. Throughout his works it rarely happens that the principal melody is merely supported by an accompaniment; it is far more common to find independent melodies in the subordinate parts. As two examples out of many we may mention the Intermezzo of the second sonata, and the last song of the 'Otte Romanze.'

With this wealth of melody, contrapuntal knowledge and genuine musical feeling, Benedetto Junck may unquestionably be regarded as one of the most distinguished of the younger Italian composers of the present time.

[ A. H. W. ]

  1. The fact that the several movements of a Sonata are advertised and sold separately in Italy is a sign of the imperfect appreciation of chamber-music by the Italian public.