Charles Louis Napoleon d’Albert

Music of Yesterday

Charles Louis Napoleon d’Albert was son of Fraucois Benoit d’Albert, was born at Menstetten, near Altona, Hamburg, Feb. 25, 1809. His father was a captain of cavalry in the French army. On his death in 1816 the another and son emigrated to England. She was a good musician, and her son’s first musical education-in Mozart and Beethoven-was due to her. He then had lessons in the piano from Kalkbrenner, and in composition from Dr. Wesley, and afterwards learnt dancing at the King’s Theatre, London, and the Conservatoire, Paris. On his return to England he became ballet-master at the King’s Theatre, and at Covent Garden. He soon relinquished these posts, and devoted himself to teaching dancing and composing dance-music, in which he was very successful, arid achieved a wide reputation. He ultimately settled at Newcastle on. Tyne, married there in 1863, and for many years was a resident in the North of England and in Scotland. He published ‘Ball-Room Etiquette,’ Newcastle, 1835 ; and a large number of dances, beginning with the ‘ Bridal Polka,’ 1845 ; all of these were very great favorites, especially the ‘Sweetheart’s Waltz,’ ‘Sultan’s Polka,’ and ‘Edinburgh Quadrille.’ In the latter years of his life he removed to London, where he died May 26, 1886.

His son, EUGENE FRANCIS CHARLES, was born at Glasgow, April 10, 1864. His genius for music showed itself from a very early age, and he was carefully taught by his father. In 1876 he was elected Newcastle scholar in the National Training School, London, where he learnt the piano from Pauer, and harmony and composition from Stainer, Prout, and Sullivan. Here his progress in piano playing, counterpoint, and composition, was rapid and brilliant, and he also occupied himself much in the study of languages. An overture of his was performed at a students’ concert at St. James’s Hall on June 23, 1879. His piano playing was at that early age so remarkable that he was engaged and appeared three times at the Popular Concerts, Nov. 22, 1880, and Jan. 3 and 8,1881. On Feb. 5 of the latter year he played Schumann’s Concerto at the Crystal Palace, and appeared at the Philharmonic on March 10. He played a concerto of his own in A at the Richter Concert of Oct. 24, 1881, and in the following November, having in the meantime won the Mendelssohn Scholarship, entitling him to a year abroad, he went to Vienna at the instance of Richter, who had been very much impressed by his great promise in London. Very shortly after his arrival in Vienna he played the first movement of his own concerto at the Philharmonic Concert there. He then became a pupil of Liszt, who called him the ` young Tausig,’ in allusion to his extraordinary technical ability. As a mature artist be maintains the highest and noblest traditions of music, and in breadth of style he yields to very few pianists. An overture ` Hyperion,’ was played at a Richter Concert, June 8, 1885, and his symphony in F, op. 4, at the same on May 24, 1886. Both these are full of nobility and beauty. Among his most important works are the pf. concertos in B minor, op. 2, and in E flat, op. 12 ; an overture, ` Esther,’ op. 8 ; a pf. suite, op. 1, that has been often played ; two string quartets, A minor op. 7, and E flat op. 11, a pf. sonata op. 10, in F ; and a work for six-part chorus ` Der Mensch and das Leben,’ op. 14. His first opera, ‘Der Rubin,’ was given at Carlsruhe in 1893, his second, I Ghismonda,’ in Dresden, 1895, ‘ Gernot’ at Mannheim, 1897, ‘Die Abreise’ at Frankfort, 1898. His operatic writing is uniformly musicianly and appropriate, without any very strongly marked individuality. ‘ Kain,’ a one-act tragedy, is not yet performed. From 1892 to 1895 D’Albert was the husband of Madame Teresa Carreiio, and he is at present married to the successful singer, Hermine Fink. He held the post of capellmeister at Weimar for a time in 1895.

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