Hortense (Eugénie de Beauharnais)
- Laurine Quetin
(Eugénie de Beauharnais)
(b Paris, April 10, 1783; d Arenenberg, Oct 5, 1837). French amateur musician. The daughter of Viscount Alexandre de Beauharnais, guillotined during the French Revolution, and Joséphine Tascher de La Pagerie, whose second husband was Napoleon Bonaparte, Hortense married Louis Bonaparte in 1802. When he was made King of Holland in 1806, she became queen. After separating from her husband in 1810, she returned to Joséphine at Malmaison, and acquired the title of Duchess of Saint-Leu in 1814 after Napoleon’s abdication. In 1817 she bought a property at Arenenberg in Switzerland, where she lived from 1832 until her death.
Hortense’s musical output consists of romances composed at Malmaison and Arenenberg. In 1867 the complete collection of 124 romances, published by Vialon, was exhibited by Napoleon III at Malmaison. The best known of them, Partant pour la Syrie (originally entitled Le beau Dunois), became a national anthem under the Second Empire, and provided the subject for many piano variations, including those of Hummel (...