Phipson Celebrated Violinists 1877
1877 Biographical Sketches and Anecdotes of Celebrated Violinists
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I shall never forget the day - nor the astonishment that it caused to my worthy professor M. Henri Standish - when my mother once interrupted us in the middle of a lesson. It was a hot summer day in Brussels, in the year 1852; we were working away, with our coats off as usual, when she entered the room with a roll of music, evidently fresh from the publishers, and proceeded to unfold it without saying a word. Then, placing it before my master, she insisted that he should teach me to play it without delay. It was the seventh Concerto of De Bériot. The piece had been recently played at the annual competition by the older pupils of the Brussels Conservatoire, and my excellent professor had obtained the prize. From that moment I became a violinist.
The most worthy contemporary, and at the same time successor, of the great Genoese artiste [Paganini] that has yet appeared above the musical horizon is, without doubt, Charles Auguste De Bériot. A new school for the violin was formed some years ago in Brussels, with De Bériot at its head; and it already numbers a host of heroes. It comes down to us of the present day in the familiar names of De Bériot, Vieuxtemps, Leonard, Artot, Monastério, Coenen, Standish, Colyns, Prume, Beumer, etc., etc., all distinguished violinists and able professors in their turn.
Even before the revolution of 1830, Brussels was the city of Flanders where the best music was heard, and no continental town has had a more successful Conservatoire, more particularly as regards the violin, the violoncello, and the piano. As a school of singing it has been much less successful; though it has given our opera-houses Madam Lemmes-Sherrington, Mdlle. Artot, and a few others. Who can ever forget the fine military music performed by the band of Les Guides (the House Guards of Belgium)? and who has not been charmed by the splendid orchestra of the Opera under the direction of Singelée, the clever violinist (whose daughter enchanted us so recently at the Italian Opera in London), now, alas! just passed away from his brother-artistes, who respected and admired him? This orchestra, one of the finest for stringed instruments in Europe, was chiefly composed of young artistes from the Conservatoire de Bruxelles.