Sue Young Histories

Philippe Musard 1792 - 1859

June 11, 2009

Philippe Musard 1792 - 1859 was a French violinist, conductor and composer, the Paris equivalent of Glenn Miller in the 1820s.

Philippe Musard was a staunch advocate of homeopathy, and he encouraged members of his orchestra to consult Samuel Hahnemann, after Musard had benefited from homeopathic treatment in 1837 for complete exhaustion after each performance, abdominal pain and a bad chest.

Samuel Hahnemann prescribed sulphur, nux vomica, bryonia and ambra grisea for Musard’s complaints.

Musard and his family remained patients and friends of the Hahnemanns for many years thereafter.

Philippe Musard developed a band of some forty players that performed either in dance halls, parks, or entertainment halls, calling them the Concerts Musards.

They played chiefly dance pieces - waltzes, polkas, and quadrilles - that grew directly out of the growing craze for new kinds of dancing. He spent some time in London in the late 1820s.

conductor composer Philippe Musard (1792 – 1859), who earned himself the title, ‘King of the Quadrilles.

The term “promenade concert” seems to have been first used in England in 1838 when London’s Lyceum Theatre announced ‘Promenade Concerts a la Musard’.

Philippe Musard was a French English style in Paris. Musard came to England in 1840 to conduct some of the concerts in the Lyceum Theatre, he was a musician who had introduced open air concerts.

His programmes consisted of overtures, waltzes, popular instrumental solos and quadrilles. The success of Musard’s concerts led to further musical promenade concerts, both in London and other places including Bath and Birmingham.

Translated from French: Son of a dancing entrepreneur in Paris, Philippe Musard was born on 8 November 1792 in Tours. The first part of his career a framework for London, where he directed concerts of famous walks and is conductor of the balls of Queen Victoria.

In England, he married an Englishwoman, but he made his name in Paris. He was called “king of the quadrille,” This dance was very popular, especially at Carnival of Paris where it was a specialty.

Musard was the conductor of the famous dances of the Opera at the Opera Le Peletier, which were organized during the Carnival. His orchestra had up to a hundred performers. Musard’s popularity lasted until about 1840, when he introduced the cancan or coincoin, a dance considered lascivious and scandalous, and invented by laundresses. The ancestor of the pudique or French cancan, was practiced by couples. At the time, in their dresses and petticoats were much in evidence.

Philippe Musard’s orchestra was popular for leading balls, at Court and in the city. Musard had among his staff the famous horn virtuoso Dufresne. The works of Philippe Musard’s orchestra were his own personal inspiration, or composed on themes drawn from works by other composers. Among his creations: a quadrille Middle âgeux a Chinese quadrille, and a square Arab … The manuscript of his square middle door âgeux, shows entries in the margin in his own hand…

In 1840, the famous Galop drums, Jean Baptiste Joseph Tolbecque (a huge success at the Carnaval de Paris in 1839 and 1840), played with a Galop of Trumpets.

The works of Philippe Musard (are) in the special collections (particularly the Department of Music of the French National Library). They have been waiting for one hundred and fifty years to be re awakened. You can hear the first movement of its quadrille “The Masquerade” (1843), according to an arrangement for piano, made by his son, on the official website of the Carnival of Paris.

Alongside Philippe Musard were dozens of famous composers Parisian musical festive dances now also forgotten: Louis Antoine Jullien, often regarded as the rival Musard, Isaac Strauss (in his day, the Parisians called him the Austrian Strauss or the “The Strauss of Vienna”), the brothers Tolbecque, Arban, Auguste Desblins, etc.. Their music was printed at the time in England, Holland, the United States, and Australia. This dance music can be rediscovered through the Carnival of Paris.

Among these composers, only one is famous: Jacques Offenbach, but he is now best known for his operettas, not dance music, most of which has not been played a long time.

Philippe Musard’s son Alfred Musard was also a composer and conductor.

Philippe Musard died on 30 March 1859. He was then Mayor of the village of Auteuil, which next year will be linked to Paris. His name is inscribed in the lobby of the city hall of the 16th arrondissement of Paris, among the former mayors of municipalities that formed the district in January 1860.

In 2009, it will be the 150th anniversary of the death of Philippe Musard.

Text by Theophile Gautier: “The masked ball was always saddened by the feeling of the joy of others we can not share, either by the sort of instinctive aversion mask that inspires us and which is probably some childhood terror.

“The imagination, happier than ours, always dreams behind the satin black faces charming, and see under the nose of goat and monkey shaving shredded vignettes keepsakes, head angel or sylph; for us the ugly mask cache almost always a terrible deal, all monsters, Striga, the Goulas, the lamies, take the opportunity and the incognito.

“Even the women we know very well, we become suspicious when they wear dominoes, not a very positive move for a pleasant night at the ball.

“So we were feeling fairly sullen in the ball, crowded with people, with just the place to take with us our handkerchief to wipe our forehead as it was so hot.  We believed, however, we were well seasoned against heat by our years in Africa, in July and August in the sun, when our friends come to take us and led us in the room, at the foot of the stage musicians, to make us see Musard, Carnival by unleashing a sign of his stick as a conductor.

“Musard was there, dull, pale and hail, arm, eyes fixed.  While it is difficult for a priest, bacchanals appear to have a darker and more sinister air, this man, who is the joy and the madness of so many wild animals, has the air of a sequel to meditate Nights Young Tombs or Harvey.

“After that, it gives you pleasure no longer, and this is probably what makes the comic so morose for poets.  In time, he bent over his desk, extend the arm, and a hurricane of sound erupted suddenly in the fog of noise that hung above the head; notes fulgurantes roamed the din of their strident lightning, and it would appear that the clarions at Doomsday had committed to play quadrilles and waltzes.

“We recconumes triumphant at the Sabbath to the family of instruments of our friend Ad Sax.  Imagine that we have devised a contradance on the railway, it begins with the imitation of these horrible blows, whistles announcing the departure of the convoys, the rattle of machinery, shock pads, and the bustle of scrap are perfectly emulated.

“Then one of them pressed and panting gallops around the round that makes the Sabbath a quiet dance.  A torrent of pierrots and forwarders turning around a stagnant island mask in the middle of the room, shaking the floor as a cavalry charge, a station for those who fall.

“This is the only way we play today, but must, by dint of capers of cabrioles, extravagantes dislocation of nod to remove the collar, get a case of stroke: the exhilaration of movement or delirium gymnastics, something strange and supernatural.

“You’d think you were seeing patients attacked by chorea or the dance of St. Vitus.  We attended Blidah and the Haousch Ben Kaddour, to epileptic convulsions of these terrible convulsionnaires.

“We have seen Constantine dance to the conspiracy of Djinns, but it is moderate compared to the cachucha Paris.  What troubles such amusements against such weight?

“As we went home, we saw a tavern expel a band of forty pierrots all dressed the same, which advanced to the Opera Ball, preceded by a banner which were written these words: That life is bitter!

Of interest:

Countess Musard was a patient of Samuel Hahnemann.


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