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Bricqueville, Eugène Henri Joseph de locked

  • James B. Kopp

(b Avignon, France, May 18, 1854; d Versailles, France, May 20, 1933). Organist, composer, collector, and writer on musical instruments. Born a count into an old Norman family, he studied organ with Gigout in Paris in the late 1880s and was admitted to the Académie des Sciences Morales, des Lettres et des Arts de Versailles in 1891. Beginning in 1897, de Bricqueville played the organ in the chapel of the palace of Versailles for about 20 years. Writing as a music critic, he enthusiastically promoted Wagner but also appreciated earlier French opera. His studies of historical instruments, instrument collecting, and music iconography, while largely superseded by later research, offer valuable insight to the state of scholarship at the turn of the 20th century. He described his private collection of instruments (mainly European of the preceding three centuries) in three published catalogues, the last being Catalogue sommaire de la collection d’instruments de musique anciens formée par le Cte de Bricqueville (Versailles, 1895), which lists some 125 instruments, mostly restored to playing condition. In 1906, he founded an orchestra of old instruments at Versailles, which he directed until the 1920s, described in La Couperin: un orchestre d’anciens instruments à Versailles (Versailles, 1905); the ensemble specialized in French 18th-century music, and in it de Bricqueville played, among other instruments, the vielle (hurdy-gurdy). He promoted the revival of early instruments for present-day use and endorsed the modern harpsichords of Pleyel. Many instruments from his collection are now in the Musée de la Musique, Paris.


(selective list)

  • L’Abbé Arnaud et la réforme de l’opéra au XVIIIe siècle (Avignon, 1881)
  • Deux Abbés d’opéra au siècle dernier: J. Pellegrin, F. Arnaud (Avignon, 1889)
  • Le Piano de Mme du Barry et le clavecin de la reine Marie-Antoinette (Versailles, 1892)
  • Le Songe d’un collectionneur (Versailles, 1894)
  • Les Musettes (Paris, 1894)
  • Les Pochettes de maîtres de danse (Versailles, 1894)
  • Un Coin de la curiosité: Les anciens instruments de musique (Paris, 1894)
  • Notes historiques et critiques sur l’orgue (Paris, 1899)
  • with A. Jacquot: [Exposition universelle internationale de 1900] Musée rétrospectif de la classe 17. Instruments de musique; matériel, procédés et produits … Rapport du comité d’installation (Paris, 1900)
  • La Viole d’amour (Paris, 1908)
  • Les ventes d’instruments de musique au XVIIIe siècle (Paris, 1908)
  • Notice historique sur la vielle (Paris, 1909, 2/1911, repr. 1980)
  • ‘La Facture instrumentale’, Rapport sur la musique française contemporaine, ed. P.-M. Masson (Rome, 1913)