Niedermeyer, Louis

Niedermeyer, Louis a musical composer, who deserves a place here for his devotion to the cultivation of sacred music, was born April 27,1802, in Nyon, canton of Vaud, Switzerland. His father, a native of Wirtzburg, had settled and married in Switzerland; himself gifted with much natural talent for music, he was the first teacher of his son. The latter, at the age of fifteen, was sent by his parents to Vienna, where he received for two years lessons upon the piano from Moscheles, and in composition from Forster. After having published in that city several of his essays, consisting of morceaux for the piano, he went to Rome, continued there the study of composition under the direction of Fioravanti, master of the pontifical chapel, and afterwards went to Naples, where Zingarelli undertook the completion of his musical education. It was during his sojourn at Naples that the young artist wrote his first opera, entitled II Reo per amore. Niedermeyer had conceived the idea of founding, like the ancient institution created by Choron under the Restoration, and suppressed in consequence of the Revolution of 1830, a school for religious music, designed to form-by the study of the chefs- d'euvres of the great masters of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries-singers, organists, chapel-masters, and composers of sacred music. With the support of Fortoul, then minister of public instruction and of worship, he obtained a subsidy from the state, aid in the course of the year 1853 he opened his school, associating with himself M. Dietsch as inspector of studies. This establishment, situated in Paris, and in which literary education is placed on a level with musical studies, soon began to prosper and produce distinguished subjects, which have been placed in different cathedrals or churches of France. Constantly occupied from that time with the cares claimed by his school, Niedermeyer neglected nothing which could contribute to improve education. It is thus that, dissatisfied with the wholly arbitrary manner in which church music is generally accompanied, he published in 1855, in collaboration with M. J. d'Ortigne, a Traite d'accompagnement du plain-chant, founded upon new principles, which soon circulated throughout France and in-foreign countries. It was also with the design of propagating among all classes a taste for good religious music that he established in 1856 the journal La Maitrise, the direction of which he abandoned in 1858; now entrusted to M. d'Ortigne. He was occupied with a large work upon organ accompaniment for. church music, which was soon to appear, when death suddenly came, on March 14,1861. This composer, whose talent has more than one trait of resemblance with that of Schubert, has produced, besides many pieces of detached song, some very remarkable melodies. We have also several masses by Niedermeyer, and a great number of pieces of religious music for singing and for the organ. In the music that he has written for the piano, we remark particularly a brilliant rondo with accompaniment for four hands, fantasias, airs varied upon themes by Rossini, Weber, Meyerbeer, Bellini, etc. See Fetis, Biographie universelle des Musiciens; Castil-Blaze, L'Academie imperiale de Music, Histoire litteraire, musicale, etc.; Vapereau, Dictionnaire universel des Contemporains; Documents particuliers.

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