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Robert Nicolas Charles Bochsa
1789 - 1856
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R.N.C. Bochsa
Robert Nicholas Charles Bochsa (09/08/1789 - 06/01/1856), a French composer (from Montmédy). He was an extremely well-known musician in the first half of the 19th Century. He wrote over 150 musical compositions for the harp, many of which are still played. Although born in France he lived most of his life in other countries.
He first performed in public at the age of 7 and at an early age became harpist to the French Emperor Napoleon I. When Napoleon lost his throne in 1815, Bochsa was 26 years old. He continued playing the harp at the palace for the new French King Louis XVIII.
Unfortunately Bochsa got involved in criminal forgery and, leaving his wife behind in France, he escaped to England. He was convicted, in his absence, and his punishment was branding and a long prison sentence.
In London, however, he was safe from French law. He began a whole new life. He married an Englishwoman, even though he had never divorced his French wife, and became Director of the Royal Academy of Music.
In 1826, when his bigamy and criminal record were discovered, he was forced to resign from the Royal Academy. He then became Musical Director of the Kings Theatre in London.
Why was Bochsa buried in Sydney? In 1839 Bochsa was involved in another scandal when a noted British opera singer, Anna Bishop, eloped with him. Together they toured the world giving concerts everywhere they went. Eventually the couple arrived in Sydney in December, 1855 at the height of the NSW gold rushes.
Bishop and Bochsa gave only one concert before he died in Sydney. As you can see from his tomb, Bishop was heartbroken. During the burial, local musicians played Bochsa's own Requiem.
No one has ever doubted Bochsa's musical ability, but they did not like him as a person. English musical historian, David Conway has described him as 'an excellent example of the dodgy musical entrepreneur'.
This very celebrated harpist and composer of the XIXth century was a very eccentric man. His life is a series of adventures.
Author:Michel Faul
Period:Early Romanticism
Composed in:1817
Musical form:mass
Text/libretto:Latin mass
In memory of:king Louis XVI
In 1817, in France, two requiem settings were commissioned to mark the annual commemoration of Louis XVI's execution: Cherubini's Requiem in C minor, and a monumental setting by N.C. Bochsa, including wind band and percussion, and designed for an open-air reinterment ceremony.
The French king Louis XVI (1754 - 1793) was beheaded on January 21, 1793.
See also: J.P.E. Martini and Cherubini.
Author:Steven Chang-Lin Yu
Louis XVI
Messe de requiem
Period:Early Romanticism
Composed in:1824c
Musical form:mass
Text/libretto:Latin mass
In memory of:Louis XVIII
This requiem is written in memory of Louis XVIII (1755 - 1824). Important requiem composers in the 19th century include Aiblinger, Andrevi y Castellar, Bochsa, Van Bree, Canetti, Catelani, Coccia, Fétis, Goss, Gounod, Habert, Mabellini, Meyerbeer, Neukomm, Pacini, Reinecke, Reissinger and Rheinberger.
Author:James W. Pruett
Source:The new Grove dictionary of music and musicians