Mocquereau, André

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Founder of the Solesmes system of gregorian chant; b. Tessoualle (Maineet-Loire), France, June 6, 1849; d. Solesmes, Jan. 18, 1930. His musical education was nurtured in an atmosphere of strict classical formalism and directed and developed by Charles Dancla, with whom he studied cello at the Paris Conservatory. He entered the Benedictine Abbey of solesmes (1875), was professed April 9, 1877, and ordained Dec. 28, 1879. As director of the paleographic scriptorium and choir master, he soon determined the community's commitment to the restoration of the pristine purity of chant. Working closely with Dom Pothier for 13 years, but later in opposition to Pothier's theory of "free oratoric rhythm," Mocquereau developed the Solesmes system, basing it on the theory of "free musical rhythm." This system, first proposed in Paléographie musicale v.7, was expansively developed in the Le nombre musical (190827). Under the title of Paléographie musicale grégorienne, Mocquereau launched the publication of over 15 volumes of photographic reproductions of medieval manuscripts with important historical studies. These laid the foundation for the reform of chant prescribed in the 1903 motu proprio of Pius X. Mocquereau's system is incorporated in the modern publications of the Solesmes editions by the addition of certain rhythmic signs. He defended his system by many scholarly publications, often controversial, in the Tribune de Saint Gervais, the Rassegna gregoriana, and the Revue grégorienne.

Bibliography: p. combe, Études grégoriennes 2 (1957) 189, for a list of Mocquereau's writings. "Les Préliminaires de la réforme grégorienne de S. Pie X," in Études grégoriennes 7. m. blanc, L'Enseignement musical de Solesmes et la prière chrétienne (Paris 1953). e. cardine, "André Mocquereau" in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, vol. 12, ed. s. sadie (New York 1980) 375376. d. m. randel, ed., The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music (Cambridge 1996) 395. n. slonimsky, ed. Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Eighth Edition (New York 1992) 1231.

[p. combe]