Martini, Jear Paul Egide (real name, Johann Paul Agid Schwarzendorf)

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Martini, Jear Paul Egide (real name, Johann Paul Agid Schwarzendorf)

Martini, Jear Paul Egide (real name, Johann Paul Agid Schwarzendorf), German organist, teacher, and composer; b. Freystadt, Upper Palatinate (baptized), Aug. 31, 1741; d. Paris, Feb. 10, 1816. At the age of 10 he enrolled in the Jesuit Seminary in Neuburg an der Donau, becoming organist there. He began to tour as an organist in 1758. He went to Nancy in 1760, and was known as Martini il Tedesco. He was in the service of the former king of Poland, Prince Stanislaus Leszcynski, duke of Lorraine, in Luneville (1761–64), then went to Paris, where he won a prize for a military march for the Swiss Guard. This introduced him into army circles in France. He enlisted as an officer of a Hussar regiment, and wrote more band music. He also composed an opera, L’Amoureux de quinze ans, ou Le Double Fête, which was produced with extraordinary success at the Italian Opera in Paris (April 18, 1771). Leaving the army, he became music director to the Prince of Conde, and later to the Comte d’Artois. He purchased the reversion of the office of 1st Intendant of the King’s Music, a speculation brought to naught by the Revolution, which caused him to resign in haste his position as conductor at the Théâtre Feydeau, and flee to Lyons in 1792. He then returned to Paris, winning acclaim with the production of his opera Sappho (1794). He became Inspector at the Paris Cons, in 1798, and also taught composition there (1800–02). In appreciation of his royalist record, he was given the post of Royal Intendant at the Restoration in 1814, serving as chief director of the Royal Court Orch. until his death. He wrote 13 operas, a Requiem for Louis XVI, Psalms, and other church music, but he is chiefly remembered as the composer of the popular air Plaisir d’amour, which was arranged by Berlioz for Voice and Orch.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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