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The Musical World – 1844. Thursday, June 27

Herr Jacques Offenbach, the celebrated violoncellist, was born at Cologne, in 1822. His first studies were devoted to the violin, under the direction of his father, a musician of considerable celebrity ; but his penchant from his earliest age was for the violoncello. That “unspiritual god,” opportunity, afforded him the means of vindicating his pretensions to be a distinguished performer on his favourite instrument ; at a musical soirée given at Cologne, on which occasion one of Beethoven’s quartetts was to be played, the gentleman to whom the part of the bass was assigned fell suddenly indisposed, and the young Jacques, amid the doubts, and even jeers, of the assembled company, requested permission to occupy his place. His application was acceded to, and his performance astounded everybody. At the age of thirteen he went to Paris, and, having played to Cherubini, had the signal honour of being immediately admitted into the Conservatoire. Shortly afterwards he was engaged at the Opera Comique ; but, in 1837, being of delicate health, and unable to undergo the fatigues of an orchestra, he retired to devote himself to the stduy of composition, which he pursued for the space of four years, under the surveillance of Halévy. In 1842 he made his début in the fashionable saloons of Paris, as a solo player, and was so successful, that, in a very little time he became L’ Artiste à la mode in the French capital. This season he has ventured into the great vortex, or musical whirlpool of London, and has “ got off” with immense applause, wherever and whenever he has appeared. He certainly is an artist of first-rate ability, and, we might add, agility, on his instrument, and, moreover, a man deserving the respect of every musician for his acquirements, and of every gentleman for his deportment. Herr Offenbach has been heard at several of our most fashionable concerts, and has, moreover, played with success at Court, before Her Majesty and Prince Albert, from which illustrious personages he received, in addition to the highest marks of admiration, a valuable diamond ring.

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