Rodolphe Kreutzer

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Kreutzer, Rodolphe

Kreutzer, Rodolphe, famous French violinist, pedagogue, and composer, brother of Jean Nicolas Auguste Kreutzer; b. Versailles, Nov. 16, 1766; d. Geneva, Jan. 6, 1831. His father, a wind player, gave him early instruction in music; he began studying violin and composition with Anton Stamitz in 1778. On May 25, 1780, he played a Stamitz violin concerto at the Paris Concert Spirituel, and returned there in May 1784 to play his own 1st Violin Concerto. In 1785 he became a member of the king’s music, and soon established a notable reputation as a virtuoso. In 1789 he settled in Paris, where he first gained success as a composer for the theater with his opéra-comique Paul et Virginie (Jan. 15, 1791). His opéra-comique Lodoiska (Aug. 1, 1791) was also a success, being accorded an even warmer reception than Cherubini’s score of the same name. In 1793 Kreutzer became a prof, at the Inst. National de Musique; when it became the Paris Cons, in 1795, he remained on its faculty, retiring in 1826. Beginning in 1798 he made a number of outstanding concert appearances at the Théâtre Feydeau and the Opéra in Paris, being made solo violin at the latter in 1801; he also became a member of Napoleon’s chapel orch. (1802) and of his private orch. (1806). His ballet-pantomime Paul et Virginie (June 12, 1806) found favor with Paris audiences, as did his ballet Les Amours d’Antoine et Cléopatre (March 8, 1808) and his comédie lyrique Aristippe (May 24, 1808). In 1810 Kreutzer suffered a broken arm in a carriage accident, which effectively put an end to his career. However, he continued to hold his various positions as a violinist. In 1815 he was made maître de la chapelle du roi. In 1816 he was appointed 2nd conductor, and in 1817 1st conductor at the Opéra, retaining this post until 1824, at which time he became director (1824–26). His last opera, Matilde (c. 1826-27), was refused by the Opéra management. By then in declining health, he spent his remaining years in retirement. Kreutzer was one of the foremost violinists of his era. With Baillot and Rode, he stands as one of the founders of the French violin school. Beethoven greatly admired his playing, and was moved to dedicate his Violin Sonata, op.47 (the Kreutzer), to him. Kreutzer’s most celebrated publication remains the brilliant 42 études ou caprices (originally 40) for Unaccompanied Violin. He also composed a number of fine violin concertos. His renown as a teacher brought him many students, including his brother, C. Lafont, and Massart. With Rode and Baillot, he publ. Méthode de violon (Paris, 1803).


dramatic(all 1st perf. in Paris unless otherwise given): Jeanne d’Arc, drame historique mêlée d’ariettes (May 10, 1790); Paul et Virginie, opéra-comique (Jan. 15, 1791); Le franc breton, opéra- comique (Feb. 15, 1791; in collaboration with Solié); Lodoiska, opéra-comique (Aug. 1, 1791); Charlotte et Werther, opéra- comique (Feb. 1, 1792); Le siège de Lille, opéra-comique (Nov. 14, 1792); Le déserteur ou La montagne de Ham, opera (Feb. 6, 1793); Le congrès des rois, opéra-comique (Feb. 26, 1793; in collaboration with 11 other composers); On respire, comédie mêlée d’ariettes (March 9, 1795); Le brigand, drame mêlée d’ariettes (July 25, 1795); La journée du 10 août 1792, opera (Aug. 10, 1795); Imogène ou La gageure indiscrète, comédie mêlée d’ariettes (April 27, 1796); Le petit page, comédie mêlée d’ariettes (Feb. 15, 1800; in collaboration with N. Isouard); Flaminius à Corinthe, opera (Feb. 27, 1801; in collaboration with N. Isouard); Astyanax, opera (April 12, 1801); Le baiser et la quittance, opéra comique (June 18, 1803; in collaboration with Boieldieu, Is-ouard, and Méhul); Les surprises ou L’étourdi en voyage, opera (Jan. 2, 1806); Paul et Virginie, ballet-pantomime (St. Cloud, June 12, 1806); François I ou La fête mystérieuse, comédie mêlée d’ariettes (March 14, 1807); Les amours d’Antoine et Cléopatre, ballet (March 8, 1808); Aristippe, comédie lyrique (May 24, 1808); Jadis et aujourd’hui, opéra-comique (Oct. 29, 1808); La fête de Mars, divertissement-pantomime (Dec. 26, 1809); Abel, tragédie lyrique (March 23, 1810; rev. as La Mort d’Abel, March 17, 1823); Le triomphe du mois de Mars, ceremonial drama for the King of Rome’s birth (March 27, 1811); L’homme sans façon, opéra-comique (Jan. 7, 1812); Le camp de Sobieski, opéra-comique (April 21, 1813); Constance et Théodore, opéra-comique (Nov. 22, 1813); L’oriflamme, opera (Jan. 31, 1814; in collaboration with Berton, Méhul, and Paër); Les béarnais ou Henri IV en voyage, opéra-comique (May 21, 1814; in collaboration with Boieldieu); La perruque et la redingote, opéra-comique (Jan. 25, 1815; in collaboration with Kreubé); La princesse de Babylone, opera (May 30, 1815); L’heureux retour, ballet (July 25, 1815; in collaboration with Berton and Persuis); Le carnaval de Venise, ballet (Feb. 22, 1816; in collaboration with Persuis); Les dieux rivaux, opera-ballet (June 21, 1816; in collaboration with Berton, Persuis, and Spontini); Le maître et le valet, opéra-comique (1816); La servante justifiée ou La fête de Mathurine, ballet villageois (Sept. 30, 1818); Clan ou La promesse de mariage, ballet-pantomime (June 19, 1820); Blanche de Provence ou La cour des fées, opera (May 3, 1821; in collaboration with Berton, Boieldieu, Cherubini, and Paër); Le négociant de Hambourg, opéra-comique (Oct. 15, 1821); Le paradis de Mahomet, opéra-comique (March 23, 1822; in collaboration with Kreubé); Ipsiboe, opera (March 31, 1824); Pharamond, opera (June 10, 1825; in collaboration with Berton and Boieldieu); Matilde, opera (c. 1826-27; not perf.). orch.: Violin Concertos: No. 1, op.l (1783–84); No. 2, op.2 (1784–85); No. 3, op.3 (1785); No. 4, op.4 (1786); No. 5, op.5 (1787); No. 6, op.6 (c. 1788); No. 7, op.7 (c. 1790); No. 8, op.8 (c. 1795); No. 9, op.9 (c. 1802); No. 10, op.10 (c. 1802); No. 11, op.ll (c. 1802); No. 12, op.12 (1802–3); No. 13, op.A (1803); No. 14, op.B (1803-); No. 15, op.C (1804); No. 16, op.D (1804); No. 17, op.E (1805); No. 18, op.F (1805–9); No. 19, op.G (1805–10).sinfonias concertantes: No. 1 for 2 Violins (c. 1793); No. 2 for 2 Violins and Cello (c. 1794); No. 3 for 2 Violins (1803); No. 4 for 2 Violins (n.d.); Ouverture de la journée de marathon for Woodwind and Brass (1794). chamber: Quintet for Oboe or Clarinet and String Quartet (c. 1795).string quartets: 6 quatuors concertans (c. 1790); 3 quartets, op.2 (c. 1795); 2 quartets (c. 1795); 6 nouveaux quatuors, op.2, part 1 (c. 1798).trios:Premier pot-pourri for Violin Solo, Violin, and Bass (c. 1800); Trio for Oboe or Clarinet, Bassoon, and Viola (c. 1803); 3 trios brillons for 2 Violins and Bass (c. 1803). duets: Duos for Violin and Viola (1783); 3 violin duos, op.ll, part 2 (c. 1800); 3 violin duos, op.3 (c. 1805); 3 duos concertans for 2 Violins, op.B (c. 1820); 6 nocturnes concertans for Harp and Violin (c. 1822; in collaboration with C. Bochsa). Sonatasi sonatas for Violin and Bass, op.l (c. 1795);sonatas 3 sonatas for Violin and Bass, op.B (c. 1795); Grande sonate for Violin and Piano (1799); 3 sonates faciles for Violin and Bass (c. 1803); 3 sonatas for Violin and Bass, op.2 (c. 1805).other:42 études ou caprices for Unaccompanied Violin (originally 40; 1796; 1st extant ed., c. 1807); 18 nouveaux caprices ou études for Unaccompanied Violin (c. 1815).


J. Massart, L’Art de travailler les études de K. (Paris, n.d.; Eng. ed., 1926); H. Kling, R. K. (Brussels, 1898); J. Hardy, R. K. (Paris, 1910); M. Williams, The Violin Concertos of R. K. (diss., Ind. Univ., 1973).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Kreutzer, Rodolphe (b Versailles, 1766; d Geneva, 1831). Fr. violinist and composer. Début Paris, Concert Spirituel 1780 (in Stamitz conc.). 1st vn. in Chapelle du Roi 1785, and soloist at Paris Théâtre des Italiens 1790. Two operas prod. there. Prof. of vn., Paris Cons. 1795–1826, compiling (with Baillot) the establishment's vn. method. In 1798 visited Vienna where he met Beethoven, who ded. to him his A major sonata, Op.47, completed 1803, and known as Kreutzer Sonata. 1st vn., Paris Opéra, from 1801, cond. there 1816–24, dir. 1824–6. Retired 1826. Comp. over 40 operas and ballets; 19 vn. concs.; 17 str. qts.; 15 trios; 3 double concs.; sonatas; and many vn. pieces incl. 20 Études ou Caprices.