Martini, Jean Paul Egide



Composer of stage music, whose real surname is Schwartzendorf; born at Freistadt in Upper Palatine. At the age of ten played the organ in the Jesuit Seminary at Neustadt, and during his studies at the University of Freiburg he was organist at the Franciscan Convent. He went to France, and, arriving penniless at Nancy in 1760, he was befriended by the organ-builder Dupont, and saw the building of an organ with fifty stops for the Nancy Cathedral, which inspired his ficole d'Orgue In 1864 he won a prize offered for a march for a regiment of Swiss Guards. By the influence of the Duc de Choiseul he was made officer of a hussar regiment, and given an opportunity to compose much military music. In 1771 he brought out his first opera, L'Amoreux de Quinze Ans, which proved so successful that he left the army and became musical director to the Prince de Conde, later being made conductor of the Theatre Feydeau, a position which he held until the French Revolution. After the Revolution he lived in Lyons, returning to Paris in 1794 and being made inspector at the Conservatory in 1798, where he remained until 1802. At the restoration in 1814 he became superintendent of Court music and wrote a Requiem Mass for Louis XVI., which was performed in 1816, and for which he was decorated with the Grand Cordon of the Order of St. Michael. His music was very brilliant and his church-music more dramatic than religious. Among his writings are his operas, L'Amoreux de Quinze Ans; Le Rendezvous nocturne; Le Poete suppose; La Bataille d'lvry and Le Fermier cru sourd. He also wrote his cantata for the marriage of Napoleon and Marie Louise; the charming song, Plaisir d'amour and much chambermusic as well as some church-music.