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I was born to a family whose morals distinguished them from the people. (Josephson 9) Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born in Geneva, Switzerland on June 28, 1712. He became the son of Isaac Rousseau, a plebian class watchmaker, and Suzanne Bernard, the daughter of a minister who died shortly after giving birth to him. Rousseaus baptism ceremony was a traditional one held at St. Peters Cathedral on July 4, 1712 by the reverend senebies. He had an elder brother who had a loose character, but Rousseau loved him anyway.
At an early age, Rousseau found a love for reading. His mother had an inheritance of some money and many romantic books and novels, so those are the first that he read. He and his father would read for so many hours sometimes they would read continuously through the night and on into the next day. His father had a recklessly violent temper, and after a minor infraction with a police officer, fled from Geneva to Canten Vaud in Myon, which is 12 miles from Geneva, and there he continued his profession. Rousseau was ten years old. He was then sent to live with his maternal uncle Bernard, a military engineer in the service of the city-state, and aunt Madame Goncerut, who instilled in him a great passion for music.
Deprived of parental love and affection, Rousseaus childhood was miserable. He was sent, along with his younger cousin, to be tutored by a Protestant preacher at Bossey, about four miles away at the base of Mont Salve. Rousseau loved living in a pleasant land of valleys and hills, and so found the love of nature. It was also at Bossey where Rousseau established a gruesome affection for the pastors daughter, who was thirty years old. Two years passed before uncle Bernard withdrew the two boys because they were wrongly accused and beaten for some petty fact. They were then taken back to his aunt and uncles home at the Grande Rue in Geneva. The boys were not placed back in regular school, but were taught mathematics and drawing by uncle Bernard.
They spoke of making him a pastor, but they did not have enough money to send him, so Rousseau was placed as a notary to his uncle who was a lawyer who thought Rousseau was unqualified and sent him back. He was next placed as an engraver in April 1725. His master was also a violent man like his father who fed Rousseau poorly and often treated him harshly. The young boy developed a menial frame of mind. This apprenticeship lasted for about four years with the first half consisting of stealing and a lackey spirit, and the following half Rousseaus love for reading was revived. The more miserable he became with his master, the more he read.
He would play with the other boys on free days, usually Sundays, and venture out of the city gates. He often came home just before the drawbridge closed at sundown and twice had to sleep outside the city. On day on March 14, 1728, Rousseau was late and saw the drawbridge closing. He yelled to his uncle he would not be returning to his master. Bernard did not try to stop the boy, who was just over sixteen when he decided to make his journey. After wandering for several days he fell upon the Roman Catholic priests at Consignon in Savoy. He was then turned over to Madame de Warens at Annecy, who sent him to a school in Turin. He wandered several places but in 1730 eventually returned to Madame de Warens. He spent eight years in her household and it was there that he fully developed his love and taste for music, the enjoyment of nature, his passion for reading the English, German, and French philosophers of chemistry, and studying mathematics and Latin. Because of Madame de Warens, Rousseaus horrid childhood memories were not suddenly so bad.
Josephson, Matthew. Jean-Jacques Rousseau. New York: Harcourt, Brace, & Company, 1932.
Dobinson, C.H. Jean-Jacques Rousseau. London: Methuen & Company LTD., 1969.
Morely, John. Rousseau. London: Macmillan & Company, 1886.
Havens, George R. Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1978.
July 7, 1712- death of rousseaus mother, suzanne bernard rousseau.
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Life Of Peter Tchaikovsky
The Life of Peter Tchaikovsky
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, also spelled Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, was born in Votkinsk, in the city of Vyatka, Russia, May 7, 1840. Second in a family of five sons and one daughter, to whom he was extremely devoted. Once in his early teens when he was in school at St. Petersburg and his mother started to drive to another city, he had to be held back while she got into the carriage, and the moment he was free ran and tried to hold the wheels.
There is an anecdote of Tchaikovsky's earliest years that gives us a clue to the paradox of his personality. Passionately kissing the map of Russia and then, one regrets to state, spitting on the other countries, he was reminded by his nurse that she herself was French. Yes, he said, accepting her criticism with perfect sweetness and affectionate docility, I covered France with my hand. The child is father of the man; here we have already Tchaikovsky's strange two-sidedness: on one hand his intense emotionality in all personal matters, his headstrong impetuosity, leaping first and looking afterwards; on the other his candor and modesty, his intelligent acceptance of criticism, even his carefulness and good workmanship-he had covered France with his hand! If he had only been able to reconcile that lifelong feud between his over-personal heart and his magnanimous mind, he would have been saved endless suffering. But he was not: in his music his self-criticism, as on of his best biographers, Edwin Evans, has remarked, came after and not during composition-he destroyed score after score. And in daily life he never learned to apply the advice of a wit tot he victim of a temperament like his: less remorse and more reform.
As a youth he reluctantly studied law, as much bore by it as Schumann had been, and even became a petty clerk in the Ministry of Justice. But in his early twenties he rebelled, and against his family's wishes had the courage to throw himself into the study of music at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. He was a ready improviser, playing well for dancing and had a naturally rich sense of harmony, but was so little schooled as to be astonished when a cousin told him it was possible to modulate form any key to another. He went frequently to the Italian operas which at that time almost monopolized the Russian stage, and laid the foundation of his lifelong love for Mozart; but he had no acquaintance with Schumann, and at 21 did not even know how many symphonies Beethoven had composed. He was an ardent worker nevertheless, and once when Anton Rubinstein, his teacher of composition, asked for variations, he sat up all night and brought in two hundred. Is not that already the very picture of a facility almost fatal?--a facility which in even so fine a work as the Trio transforms an unoffending Russian folk tune into a waltz, a mazurka, and even a fugue, like a conjurer drawing rabbits out of the hat!
Early in 1866 he removed permanently to Moscow, with which all his later musical fortunes are associated, accepting a teaching post in the new conservatory just established by Rubinstein's brother Nicholas. His early attempts at composition, largely because of that same fatal facility, had displeased himself as well as his friends; on one of them, with that same impersonal candour always flashing out from him, he had scribbled the words: dreadful muck. Yet now he had the courage to attempt his first symphony, Winter Dreams. Musically it is not of great importance, any more than are indeed the second and third, one strongly folk and the other rather featureless, in spite of a beautiful slow movement. But the First Symphony is interesting biographically for two reasons. Over it, to begin with , its composer worked his too-delicate nerves into a state of almost pathological strain that was to recur at intervals all his life. he suffers from insomnia, a sensation of hammering in the head, and even hallucinations; and so painful was the whole experience that he never again composed at night.
Of more importance is the vivid example his ... more
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