De Beriot’s High Place in the Art of the Violin and Violin Music.—The Scion of an Impoverished Noble Family.—Early Education and Musical Training.—He seeks the Advice of Viotti in Paris.—Becomes a Pupil of Kobrechts and Baillot successively.—De Beriot finishes and perfects his Style on his Own Model.—Great Success in England.—Artistic Travels in Europe.—Becomes Soloist to the King of the Netherlands.—He meets Malibran, the Great Cantatrice, in Paris.—Peculiar Circumstances which drew the Couple toward Each Other.—They form a Connection which only ends with Malibran’s Life.—Sketch of Malibran and her Family.—The Various Artistic Journeys of Malibran and De Beriot.—Their Marriage and Mme. de Beriot’s Death.—De Beriot becomes Professor in the Brussels Conservatoire.—His Later Life in Brussels.—His Son Charles Malibran de Beriot.—The Character of De Beriot as Composer and Player.
Among the great players contemporary with Paganini, the name of Charles Auguste de Beriot shines in the musical horizon with the luster of a star of the first magnitude. His influence on music has been one of unmistakable import, for he has perpetuated his great talents through the number of gifted pupils who graduated from his teachings and gathered an inspiration from an artist-master, in whom were united splendid gifts as a player, an earnest musical spirit, depth and precision of science, the chivalry of high birth and breeding, and a width of intellectual culture which would have dignified the litterateur or scholar. De Beriot was for many years the chief of the violin department at the Brussels Conservatoire, where, even before the revolution of 1830, there was one of the finest schools of instruction for stringed instruments to be found in Europe. When in the full ripeness of his fame as a virtuoso and composer, De Beriot was called on to take charge of the violin section of this great institution, and his influence has thus been transmitted in the world of art in a degree by no means limited to his direct greatness as an executant.
De Beriot was born at Louvain, in 1802, of a noble family, which had been impoverished through the crash and turmoil of the French Revolution. Left an orphan at the age of nine years, without inheritance except that of a high spirit and family pride, he would have fared badly in these early years, had it not been for the kindness of M. Tiby, a professor of music, who perceived the child’s latent talent, and he acquired skill in playing so rapidly that he was able to play one of Viotti’s concertos at the age of nine. His hearers, many of whom were connoisseurs, were delighted, and prophesied for him the great career which made the name of De Beriot famous. Naturally of a contemplative and thoughtful mind, he lost no time in studying not only the art of violin-playing but also acquiring proficiency in general branches