Michel Brenet
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Michel Brenet

Marie Bobillier, real name Antoinette Christine Marie Bobillier (12 April 1858 - 4 November 1918) was a French musicologist, music critic, writing under her pseudonym Michel Brenet.


Born in Lunéville of a military father, captain and then colonel in the artillery,[1] Marie Bobillier, a single daughter,[2] lived her childhood in several cities, including Strasbourg and Metz, before finally settling in Paris in 1871. She learned to play the piano, but a scarlet fever contracted at the age of thirteen rendered her disabled, influencing her decision to devote her life to research,[3][4] after having been to the Pasdeloup concerts.[2] She was one of the first French women musicologists.[5]

Her first publication, Histoire de la symphonie à orchestre[6] (1882), won a prize in Brussels (Royal Academy of Science, Letters and Fine Arts of Belgium), engaging her ever-increasing reputation in the French musicological world.[3] With a rigorous method that drew on the most reliable sources and documents, she made a series of publications - several valuable studies devoted to vocal music by Ockeghem, Goudimel, Palestrina (1906), Sébastien de Brossard, Haendel, Haydn, Grétry and Berlioz. Bobillier also approached classical and medieval instrumental music and left a precious and independent Dictionnaire pratique et historique de la musique,[7] completed and published by Amédée Gastoué in 1926.

Her book Notes sur l'histoire du luth en France[8] paved the way for further research in this area.[3] Her major works are Les musiciens de la Sainte-Chapelle du Palais[9]("her masterpiece" according to La Laurencie[10][11]), Les concerts en France sous l'ancien régime[12] and La librairie musicale en France de 1653 à 1790,[13] where she demonstrates her great scholarship and competence as a music historian.[3] Jean-Marie Fauquet[14] summed up Marie Bobillier's work in one sentence: "It is of exceptional quality, both in terms of the variety of subjects dealt with and the method applied".[15]

As a critic or musicologist, she collaborated with magazines such as L'Année musicale [fr] (from 1911 to 1913), of which she was one of the founders with Jean Chantavoine (1877-1952), Louis Laloy and Lionel de La Laurencie[3] - she wrote bibliographies of French, German, English and Italian books, in the Revue musicale, the Revue de musicologie [fr], the Archives historiques, artistiques, littéraires, Le Correspondant, the Courrier musical, the Guide du concert, the Journal musical, Le ménestrel and the Tribune de Saint-Gervais (the monthly newsletter of the Schola Cantorum de Paris),[3] etc. ; Abroad, she collaborated with the Rivista Musicale Italiana and the Musical Quarterly. She also contributed to Lavignac's Encyclopedia of music. Endowed with a very reserved personality and while "the stage frightened her", she gave a few lectures but declined participating in learned societies.[10]

She left notes, quotations and transcripts, accumulated throughout her research, bound after her death in nineteen volumes, and preserved under the name Documents sur l'histoire de la musique at the Bibliothèque nationale.[5][16][17]

Her pseudonym comes from the village of Les Brenets in the Doubs department, where her father's family came from.[18] She died in Paris on 4 November 1918, aged 60.




(chronological order)


Marie Bobillier published music scores by Alexandre-Pierre-François Boëly at M. Senart (before 1909).[19]

  • 30 caprices, opus 2 (1816)[20]
  • 24 pieces for piano, opus 22 (1858)[21]
  • Pieces for piano, opus 34 (1810)[22]
  • Pieces for piano, opus 47 (1846)[23]
  • Pieces for piano, opus 48 (1848-51)[24]
  • Pieces for piano, opus 50 (1816-1854)[25]
  • Pieces for piano, opus 51 (1853)[26]
  • Pieces for piano, opus 52 (1853)[27]
  • Pieces for piano, opus 55 (1855)[28]



  1. ^ La Laurencie 1919, p. 199
  2. ^ a b La Laurencie 1919, p. 200
  3. ^ a b c d e f Grove 2001
  4. ^ Vignal 2005, p. 749
  5. ^ a b La France 1995, p. 60
  6. ^ Histoire de la symphonie à orchestre on Gallica, under the name Brenet
  7. ^ Dictionnaire pratique et historique de la musique on Gallica under the name Brenet
  8. ^ Notes sur l'histoire du luth en France on WorldCat, under the name Brenet
  9. ^ Les musiciens de la Sainte-Chapelle du Palais on WorlmdCat, under the name Brenet
  10. ^ a b La Laurencie 1919, p. 201
  11. ^ Fiche du journal du Répertoire international de la presse musicale sur ripm.org
  12. ^ Les concerts en France sous l'ancien régime on WorldCat
  13. ^ La librairie musicale en France de 1653 à 1790 on Jstor
  14. ^ Jean-Marie Fauquet on France Culture
  15. ^ Jean-Marie Fauquet, Dictionnaire de la musique en France au XIXe siècle. Paris, Fayard, 2003, n°97.
  16. ^ Nouvelles acquisitions françaises, n° 11407-11425
  17. ^ Omont Henri (1921). "Nouvelles acquisitions du département des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque nationale pendant les années 1918-1920". Bibliothèque de l'école des chartes. 82 (1): 117-156. doi:10.3406/bec.1921.448650. mentions the detail of the volumes (pp. 129) on Persée.fr
  18. ^ La Laurencie 1919, p. 202
  19. ^ For example for the Opus 34 on Bnf (identical information on the others):
  20. ^ BNF 139660700
  21. ^ BNF 15519537t
  22. ^ BNF 15519539h
  23. ^ BNF 155195501
  24. ^ BNF 15519554d
  25. ^ BNF 155195830
  26. ^ BNF 15519569f
  27. ^ BNF 15519558s
  28. ^ BNF 155195741

External links

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