Beaulieu [Martin, Martin-Beaulieu], (Marie) Désiré
- M. Elizabeth C. Bartlet
(b Paris, April 11, 1791; d Niort, Deux Sèvres, Dec 21, 1863). French composer, folk music collector, musical philanthropist and writer on music. He studied the violin with Rodolphe Kreutzer and composition with Benincori before entering the Paris Conservatoire in Méhul’s class. In 1810 he won the Prix de Rome, but instead of going to Italy as the prize required, he settled at Niort and became engaged to Françoise Caroline Rouget de Gourcez, whom he married in 1816. He nonetheless continued to meet the other requirements of the prize, including the submission of both sacred and secular compositions which show him to have been a well-trained though conservative musician. In 1818, the year after Méhul’s death, Beaulieu wrote his most ambitious work, a Requiem in his teacher’s memory.
Beaulieu’s contributions to musical life in Western France were substantial. In 1827 he founded a philharmonic society in Niort to perform vocal music from the 16th century to the 18th, as well as modern works. Eight years later he established a more serious organization, the Association Musicale de l’Ouest; it sponsored annual concert series in Niort, Poitiers, La Rochelle and elsewhere that involved regional professionals and amateurs in large-scale choral works, as well as chamber and orchestral repertory. Under its aegis Mendelssohn’s ...