Nicolas Lambert Wéry

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Portrait of Nicolas Lambert Wéry in the collection of the Brussels Conservatories Library

Nicolas Lambert Wéry (9 May 1789 - 6 October 1867) was a Belgian violinist and violin teacher active in France and Belgium. He was the first violin teacher at the Brussels Royal Conservatory as well as its French and Dutch forerunners.

Biography

Nicolas Lambert Wéry was born in Huy, Belgium and began studying violin at an extremely young age with Charles Delhaise. From 1805 to 1807 he studied violin in Liège with Léonard-Joseph Gaillard. In 1807 Wéry was forced to end his studies due to obligatory military service in the French army. His regiment was stationed in Metz and subsequently Versailles, France but after about a year he was authorized to return to his family. After two months in Huy he decided to return to Metz to establish himself as a musician. Wéry performed in various towns while travelling to Metz and upon arriving at Sedan, France, decided to take advantage of the professional possibilities there and made it his home. He lived in Sedan until 1822, the while time travelling periodically to Paris to study with Pierre-Marie-François de Sales Baillot. After leaving Sedan he moved briefly to Paris where he was named the director of concerts at Vauxhall where he performed his first violin concerto but left the city soon after upon learning that the position of first violin to the king of the Netherlands, which at that time also included Belgium, had become free. Wéry obtained the position with the support of the Prince of Chimay as well as the minister of public education. Wéry taught at the forerunners of the current Brussels Royal Conservatory from 1822 until 1832 and at the newly founded conservatory from 1832 until 1860. Wéry published more than 50 works and François-Joseph Fétis refers to others in manuscript which have not been located. While his playing and teaching were well respected by his colleagues and the press, he was viewed as slightly old school in comparison with his colleagues Lambert-Joseph Meerts and Charles-Auguste de Bériot. In 1837 he purchased a Stradivarius violin of which we have no trace. He gave frequent concerts in his home beginning in the 1850's and continuing until his death. In 1857 he received the Sainte-Hélène medal from the French government for his military service as well as being a knight in the Order of Léopold. The records of the Brussels conservatory show that Wéry had intended to continue teaching longer but his repeated demands for a higher salary, which were always refused, led to his retirement in 1860. Various letters and records in the conservatories library and archives point to conflict between Wéry and the director François Joseph Fétis. Most likely Fétis saw Wéry's presence as a symbol of the former French and Dutch governments and an outdated style. Wéry continued to teach privately until his death in 1867. He died in the small village of Bande, Belgium where he had gone to recuperate after becoming ill. The majority of his works can be found in the library of the Brussels conservatories and many works are in the private library of the Prince of Chimay which is not accessible to the public.

Teachers

Teaching

  • 1822-1827 - École de chant (forerunner of the Brussels conservatory established under Napoleon's rule)
  • 1827-1832 - École royale de musique (forerunners of the Brussels conservatory established under Dutch rule)
  • 1834-1860 - Brussels Royal Conservatory
    • 1832-1860 - Professeur de violon
    • 1834-1860 - Directeur de la classe d'ensemble pour instruments à cordes

Pieces de concours

  • Concours de violon 6 août 1834 (B-Bc ARC-M-85)
  • Concours de violon 1857, Classe de M Wéry (B-Br Ms II 4958 Mus)
  • Concours de violon 1859, Classe de M. Wery (B-Bc ARC-M-87)
  • Concours de violon 1860, Classe de M. Mery (B-Bc ARC-M-94)

Notable Students

  • Jean-Baptiste Colyns - Teacher at the Brussels Royal Conservatory from 1863-1902
  • Jean-Baptiste Singelée - First violinist of the Brussels Opera
  • Alphonse Rancy - Teacher at the Imperial Conservatory of Saint Petersburg

Works

Works with opus numbers

  • 1 – 1er Air varié pour violon avec accompagnement de second violon alto et basse (B-Bc 25105(1))
  • 2 - Premier concerto pour le violon
  • 3 – 2ème air varié pour violon avec accompagnement de second violon, alto et basse ou de piano (B-Bc 25105(2))
  • 4 – 3ème Air varié pour violon avec accompagnement de second violon, alto et basse, ou de piano (B-Bc 25105(3),)
  • 5 – 4ème air varié pour violon avec accompagnement de second violon, alto et basse (B-Bc 25105(4))
  • 6 – Deuxième concerto pour le violon avec accompagnement d’orchestre (B-Bc 5847)
  • 7 – 5ème Air varié pour violon avec accompagnement de violon, alto violoncelle ou de piano (B-Bc 25105(5))
  • 8 – Menuet de l’opéra Don Juan de Mozart, sixième air varié pour le violon
  • 9 – 7ème Air varié pour violon avec accompagnement de second violon, alto et basse ou de piano (B-Bc 25105(6), 43592)
  • 10 – 8ème Air varié pour violon avec accompagnement d’orchestre ou de piano (B-Bc 25105(7), 43593, )
  • 11 - Neuvième air varié
  • 12 – 20 Exercices pour violon (B-Bc 8949, 43594)
  • 12 - Introduction & Polonaise
  • 13 – 10ème Air varié pour violon avec accompagnement d’orchestre ou de piano (B-Bc 25105(8))
  • 14 – Rondo sur un chant de l’ouverture de Robin des bois pour violon avec accompagnement d’orhcestre ou de piano (B-Bc 25105(9))
  • 15 – Introduction et Rondo pour le violon (B-Bc P-2-1053(15), B-Br Mus. 23.421 C)
  • 16 – 50 Variations sur la gamme ou études pour violon (B-Bc 8950)
  • 17 – Rondo précédé d’un récitatif pour violon avec accompagnement d’orchestre ou de piano (B-Bc 25105(10))
  • 18 - [Introduction et rondo] (B-Lc)
  • 19 – 12 Études pour violon (B-Bc 8951)
  • 20 – Onzième air varié pour le violon avec accompagnement d’orchestre ou piano (B-Bc 25105(11))
  • 21 - [12ème air varié...Tyrolien] (B-Lc)
  • 22 - Troisième concerto pour le violon
  • 23 - [13ème air varié...Le depart du jeune Marie] (B-Lc)
  • 24 – Adagio et rondo pour le violon avec accompagnement d’orchestre ou piano (B-Bc 25105(12))
  • 25 - [14ème air varié] (B-Lc)
  • 26 – Quinzième air varié pour le violon avec accompagnement d’orchestre (B-Bc 25105(13))
  • 27 – Seizième air varié pour le violon avec accompagnement d’orchestre ou de piano (B-Bc 25105(15))
  • 28 – Études mélodiques pour violon avec accompagnement d’un 2e violon (B-Bc 8952)
  • 29 – Fantaisie pour violon avec accompagnement d’orchestre ou le piano (B-Bc 25105(15))
  • 30 – Duo concertant pour deux violons (B-Bc 39967)
  • 31 – Duo pour violon seul (B-Bc 8953)
  • 32 – Morceau de salon Fantaisie pour piano et violon (B-Bc 25105(17))
  • 33 – 17e Air varié pour violon, avec accompagnement de piano (B-Bc 25105(25105(18))
  • 34 – 3 Études caractéristiques pour violon (B-Bc 8954)
  • 35 – Duo pour deux violons (F-Pn)
  • 36 – 30 Variations ou études pour violon avec accompagnement d’un 2e violon ad libitum (B-Bc 8955)
  • 37 – Introduction et Polonaise pour violon avec accompagnement d’orchestre ou de piano (B-Bc 25105(16))
  • 38 – 3 Duos concertants pour deux violons (F-Pn)
  • 39 – Andante suivi d’un rondo pour violon, avec accompagnement de piano (B-Bc 25105(14))
  • 40 – Nouveau variations sur la gamme (F-Pn)
  • 41 – Duo concertant pour deux violons (F-Pn)
  • 44 – 70 Préludes pour le violon dans les tons majeurs et mineurs (B-Bc8956)
  • 45 – Rêverie morceau de salon pour violon avec accompagnement de piano (F-Pn)
  • 47 – 10 Préludes et huit exercices pour le violon (F-Pn)

Works without opus numbers

  • [Caprice] (B-Lc)
  • Je ne l'amie plus (B-Lc)
  • La Fleur! Romance (F-Pn)
  • O Pescator dell'onda (B-Lc)
  • Parlon plus bas! Nocturne à deux voix (F-Pn)
  • Sans l'oublier on peut fuir ce qu'on aime (B-Br Ms II 3365 (2), B-Br Mus. 22.995 B 7)

Lost works

  • Opus 42 - 3 Duos pour deux violons
  • Opus 43 - 6 Études
  • Opus 44 - 70 Préludes
  • Opus 46
  • Je ne sais plus, je ne veux plus

Available Online