Music Composers

Rousseau-Part 1


               "True inaugurator of modern romantic naturalism."

Rousseau was the son of a watchmaker of Geneva. His mother died at the time of his birth, and his early training was sadly neglected. This fact makes his eloquent words to mothers most touching.

"Where there is no mother there is no child. Would you recall each one to his first duties? Begin with the mothers. You will be astonished at the changes you will produce."

Rousseau was a dreamy, romantic, sentimental, rebellious and adventurous youth, who read much of every kind of literature and philosophy, and lived, for the most part in great poverty, in France, although he traveled much. He tried many things and probably succeeded in few. He was an engraver's apprentice, a vagabond, a house servant, a private secretary, a traveling salesman, a musician, an author, and in everything a radical revolutionist. He composed an opera, The Village Soothsayer, which was played at court in Paris, 1752, and which caused the king to grant him a pension. His books, in all of which he bitterly attacked the social institutions of his day, made him famous, and for a time the idol of the French people. He was invited everywhere, and petted by some of the foremost representatives of the social order which he sought so valiantly to demolish. But soon his influence began to be felt, and violent controversies raged about his theories, and he suffered persecution. It has been said that the publication of his Emile was "the greatest educational event of the eighteenth century". Yet the work was publicly burned at Geneva and its author was arrested, so strange and revolutionary were the views therein advanced. From that time on he again lived in great poverty, supporting himself by copying music, until he found a refuge in the house of a faithful friend where he spent his last days in peace.

The Etude Magazine November 1912





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