Urban, Crétian



French violinist and the son of a violinist; born at Montjoie, near Aixla-Chapelle. His father early gave him instruction on the violin, piano and other instruments, and he composed variations for the violin before he was twelve years of age. He was heard by the Empress Josephine at Aix in 1805, who sent him to Paris, where he studied composition under Lesueur. In 1816 he entered the orchestra of the Opera and in 1831 he succeeded Baillot as first solo violin. He was in great demand for concerts, where he introduced Mayseder's compositions. He was one of the originators of the Conservatory concerts. He revived the viole d'amour, his playing on which so charmed Meyerbeer that he composed for him the viole d'amour solo in the first act of the Huguenots. Urhan died at Belleville, near Paris. In his compositions he aimed to combine new forms with simplicity of ideas, and he called all his music " romantic." His works include two string quartets; two quintets for three violas, cello, and doublebass with drums; piano-pieces for two and four-hands; and melodies for one and two voices, including a romance on two notes only. These works were all published by Richault, and it is now almost impossible to obtain them.