Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Tours, Berthold

TOURS, BERTHOLD (1838–1897), musician and musical editor, whose baptismal name was Bartolomeus was son of Bartolomeus Tours, organist of the church of St. Lawrence, Rotterdam, and was born in that city on 17 Dec. 1838. He was a pupil of, and assistant to, his father and he also studied under Verhulst. He subsequently became a student at the Brussels and (in 1857) Leipzig conservatoires. From January 1859 to April 1861 Tours lived in Russia in the service of the music-loving Prince Galitzin, and then migrated to London, where he remained till his death, though he retained his nationality. He played the violin in the orchestra at the Adelphi Theatre and in Alfred Mellon's band, and joined the Italian opera orchestra in 1862. He also played in the orchestra at various provincial festivals. He held the post of organist at St. Helen's, Bishopsgate Street (1864–5), St. Peter's, Stepney (1865–7), and Église Suisse, Bloomsbury (1867–79). In 1872 he joined the editorial staff of the music publishing house of Novello, Ewer, & Co., and in 1877 became chief editor, a post in which he turned to advantage his critical acumen, judgment, and perseverance. Tours died at his residence at Hammersmith, on 11 March 1897, and is buried in Highgate cemetery. He married, June 1868, Susan Elizabeth Taylor, and by her had a daughter and five sons.

Tours was a prolific composer of services, anthems, songs, &c., of which his ‘Service in F’ is well known. He also composed an excellent primer for the violin, which attained wide popularity.

[Musical Times, April 1897; private information.]

F. G. E.