Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/505

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plays of Sophocles—Antigone, Œdipus Tyrannus, and Œdipus at Colonus—as a trilogy.[1] Antigone was first performed at the New Palace, Potsdam, Oct. 28, 1841. On March 12, 1845, Mendelssohn informs His Majesty that the music to Œdipus at Colonos is finished and ready for performance, and that for Œdipus Tyrannus completely sketched, meaning no doubt in full score, as was usually the case with his 'sketches.' The first of the two was produced at Potsdam on Nov. 1, 1845, and was published, before the end of 1851, as op. 93 (22 of the posthumous works). It contains an introduction and nine numbers. A full analysis of the work by Mr. G. A. Macfarren will be found in the earlier numbers of the Musical World for 1854. Œdipus Tyrannus appears never to have come to performance, and the finished sketch of the music seems to have disappeared. [App. p.734 "Add that incidental music, choruses, etc. were written to the play by Dr. C. V. Stanford, for the performance at Cambridge on Nov. 22–26, 1887."]

[ G. ]

OESTEN, Theodor, born at Berlin, Dec. 31, 1813, learned various instruments, both wind and string, from Politzki, Stadtmusicus of Fürstenwald, a small town between Berlin and Frankfort-on-the-Oder. At nineteen he went to Berlin, and studied composition with Böhmer, Rungenhagen, Schneider, and A. W. Bach, but before this he had written a quantity of dance-music, variations, etc. He also learned the clarinet from Tanne, a Kammermusicus. He was soon in great request as a teacher, and in 1843 his P.F. rondo called 'Les premières Violettes,' cleverly written in the sentimental taste of the day, had an enormous success, and was followed by a host of similar pieces, easy to play and with attractive titles, which ruled the market for many years. He had many more or less successful imitators, his own son Max among the number. Oesten died March 16, 1870.

[ F. G. ]

OFFENBACH, JACQUES, born at Cologne, June 21, 1819, of Jewish parents; came to Paris as a youth, and in Nov. 1833, entered the cello class of Professor Vaslin at the Conservatoire. He quitted in a year, without having distinguished himself, or shown any taste for serious study. He then entered the orchestra of the Opéra Comique, where he played by the side of Seligmann, and doubtless picked up much of his knowledge. He first appears as the composer of some chansonettes to parodies of La Fontaine's poems. He then became conductor of the orchestra at the 'Théâtre Français,' and composed the 'Chanson de Fortunio,' in Alfred de Musset's 'Chandelier' (1848), a song which is certainly one of the best of his melodies. Henceforward he made use of every expedient to place himself before the public, giving concerts of a kind to excite public curiosity, and in various ways illustrating the saying that 'a grain of wit is better than a bushel of learning' (le savoir-faire vaut mieux que le savoir). His first piece, 'Pepito,' produced at the Opéra Comique Oct. 28, 1853, attracted little notice, but he followed it by a host of operettas, suited to small theatres, and careless audiences, and at last found his real field in 'Les deux Aveugles,' 'Le Violoneux,' and other musical trifles which he gave at the small theatre in the Champs Elysées. At length, in Dec. 1855, he took the 'Théâtre Comte,' in the Passage Choiseul, named it the 'Bouffes Parisiens,' and produced a succession of operettas which became immensely popular, and eventually opened to him the doors of the Opéra Comique, and even of the Académie, where his ballet-pantomime, 'Le Papillon,' was brought out, Nov. 26, 1860, with considerable success. Thus this very clever and prolific musical caricaturist ran some danger of being treated as a first-rate composer at a time when Cafés-concerts were encouraged, and Concerts du Conservatoire were out of fashion at the Tuileries. The following list of his works is arranged for convenience' sake in alphabetical order.

Apothicaire et Ferruquier, 1 act; 1862.
Bagatelle, 1 act; 1874.
Barbe bleue, 3 acts; 1866.
Barkouf. 3 acts; 1861.
Ba-ta-clan. 1 act; 1856.
Bavards, Les, 2 acts; 1863.
Belle Hélène, La, 3 acts; 1865.
Bergers, Les, 3 acts; 1866.
Boite au lait, La, 4 acts; 1877.
Bonne d'enfant, La, 1 act; 1856.
Boulangère, La, a des écus, 3 acts; 1875.
Boule de neige. 3 acts; 1872.
Braconniers, Les, 3 acts; 1873.
Brigands, Les, 3 acts; 1870.
Chanson de Fortunio, La, 1 act; 1861.
Château, a Toto, Le, 3 acts; 1868.
Chatte, La, métamorphosée en femme, 1 act; 1858.
Créole, La, 3 acts; 1875.
Croquefer, 1 act; 1857.
Daphnis et Chloé, 1 act; 1860.
Deux Aveugles, Les, 1 act; 1855.
Diva, La, 3 acts; 1869.
Docteur Ox, Le, 3 acts; 1877.
Dragonette, 1 act; 1857.
Fantasio, 3 acts; 1872.
Fifre enchanté, Le, 1 act; 1868.
Fille du Tambour major, La, 3 acts; 1879.
Financier, Le, et le Savetier, 1 act; 1856.
Foire St. Laurent, La, 3 acts; 1877.
Geneviève de Brabant, 3 acts; 1860.
Géorgiennes, Les, 3 acts; 1864.
Grande duchesse de Gérolstein, La, 3 acts; 1867.
Ile de Tulipatan, L', 1 act; 1868.
Jeanne qui pleure et Jean qui rit, 1 act; 1865.
Jolie Parfumeuse, La, 3 acts; 1873.
Madame Favart, 3 acts; 1878.
Madame l'Archiduc, 3 acts; 1874.
Maître Péronilla, 3 acts; 1878.
Mariage aux lanternes, Le, 1 act; 1858.
Marocaine, La, 3 acts; 1879.
Mesdames de la Halle, 1 act; 1858.
Monsieur Choufleuri, 1 act; 1861.
Monsieur et Madame Denis, 1 act; 1862.
Orphée aux enfers, 3 acts; 1868.
Papillon, Le, ballet, 2 acts; 1860.
Pepito, 1 act; 1863.
Périchole. La, 3 acts; 1868.
Permission de dix heures, La, 1 act; 1874.
Pierrette et Jacquot, 1 act; 1876.
Pomme d'api, 1 act; 1873.
Pont des soupirs, Le, 2 acts; 1861.
Princesse de Trébizonde, 3 acts; 1870.
Robinson Crusoé, 3 acts; 1867.
Roi Carotte, Le, 4 acts; 1872.
Romance, La, de la rose, 1 act; 1870.
Rose de St. Flour, La, 1 act; 1856.
Signor Fagotto, 1 act; 1868.
Soixante sixième, Le, 1 act; 1856.
Trois baisers du diable, Les, 1 act; 1857.
Tromb al Cazar, 1 act; 1856.
Une demoiselle en loterie, 1 act; 1857.
Une nuit blanche, 1 act; 1855.
Un mari à la porte, 1 act; 1859.
Vent du Soir, 1 act; 1857.
Vert-Vert, 3 acts; 1869.
Vie parisienne, La, 5 acts; 1866.
Violoneux, Le, 1 act; 1855.
Voyage dans la lune, 4 acts; 1876.
Voyage, Le, de MM. Dunanan, 3 acts; 1862.

—69 pieces and 143 acts, written in 25 years! Such astonishing facility implies abundance of ideas, rather than originality or fastidiousness. Offenbach's melodies are often vulgar and often wanting in piquancy. He never hesitates to repeat a good phrase, or to break a rule, if any purpose is to be served by it; but this and other faults are much concealed by the bustle, gaiety, and extravagance of his effects, the frequent happy hits, and the strong natural vein of irony. It is melancholy to predict that of all these musical bouffonneries little or nothing will remain; since in order to live, a work of art must possess either style or passion, whilst these too often display merely a vulgar scepticism, and a determination to be funny even at the cost of propriety and taste.

Offenbach has twice visited England. In 1844

  1. Letter of Müller in Mendelssohn's Briefe, March 19, 1843.