Page:EB1911 - Volume 02.djvu/937

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
889
AUBENAS—AUBIGNAC

centuries), are of note. The abbey buildings of Clairvaux are the type of the Cistercian abbey.

AUBENAS, a town of south-eastern France, in the department of Ardèche, 19 m. S.W. of Privas by road. Pop. (1906) 3976 (town), 7064 (commune). Aubenas is beautifully situated on the slope of a hill, on the right bank of the Ardèche, but its streets generally are crooked and narrow. It has a castle of the 13th and 16th centuries, now occupied by several of the public institutions of the town. These include a tribunal and chamber of commerce, and a conditioning-house for silk. Iron and coal mines are worked in the vicinity. As the centre of the silk trade of southern France Aubenas is a place of considerable traffic. It has also a large silk spinning and weaving industry, and carries on tanning and various minor industries together with trade in silk. The district is rich in plantations of mulberries and olives.

AUBER, DANIEL FRANÇOIS ESPRIT (1782-1871), French musical composer, the son of a Paris printseller, was born at Caen in Normandy on the 29th of January 1782. Destined by his father to the pursuits of trade, he was allowed, nevertheless, to indulge his fondness for music, and learnt to play at an early age on several instruments, his first teacher being the Tirolean composer, I. A. Ladurner. Sent at the age of twenty to London to complete his business training, he was obliged to leave England in consequence of the breach of the treaty of Amiens (1804). He had already attempted musical composition, and at this period produced several concertos pour basse, in the manner of the violoncellist, Lamarre, in whose name they were published. The praise given to his concerto for the violin, which was played at the Conservatoire by Mazas, encouraged him to undertake the resetting of the old comic opera, Julie (1811). Conscious by this time of the need of regular study of his chosen art, he placed himself under the severe training of Cherubini, by which the special qualities of the young composer were admirably developed. In 1813 he made his début in an opera in one act, the Séjour militaire, the unfavourable reception of which put an end for some years to his attempts as composer. But the failure in business and death of his father, in 1819, compelled him once more to turn to music, and to make that which had been his pastime the serious employment of his life. He produced another opera, the Testament et les billets-doux (1819), which was no better received than the former. But he persevered, and the next year was rewarded by the complete success of his Bergère châtelaine, an opera in three acts. This was the first in a long series of brilliant successes. In 1822 began his long association with A. E. Scribe, who shared with him, as librettist, the success and growing popularity of his compositions. The opera of Leicester, in which they first worked together (1823), is remarkable also as showing evidences of the influence of Rossini. But his own style was an individual one, marked by lightness and facility, sparkling vivacity, grace and elegance, clear and piquant melody—characteristically French. In La Muette de Portici, familiarly known as Masaniello, Auber achieved his greatest musical triumph. Produced at Paris in 1828, it rapidly became a European favourite, and its overture, songs and choruses were everywhere heard. The duet, “Amour sacré de la patrie,” was welcomed like a new Marseillaise; sung by Nourrit at Brussels in 1830, it became the signal for the revolution which broke out there. Of Auber’s remaining operas (about 50 in all) the more important are: Le Maçon (1825), La Fiancée (1829), Fra Diavolo (1830), Lestocq (1834), Le Cheval de bronze (1835), L’Ambassadrice (1836), Le Domino noir (1837), Le Lac des fées (1839), Les Diamants de la couronne (1841), Haydée (1847), Marco Spada (1853), Manon Lescaut (1856), and La Fiancée du roi des Garbes (1864). Official and other dignities testified the public appreciation of Auber’s works. In 1829 he was elected member of the Institute, in 1830 he was named director of the court concerts, and in 1842, at the wish of Louis Philippe, he succeeded Cherubini as director of the Conservatoire. He was also a member of the Legion of Honour from 1825, and attained the rank of commander in 1847. Napoleon III. made Auber his Imperial Maître de Chapelle in 1857.

One of Auber’s latest compositions was a march, written for the opening of the International Exhibition in London in 1862. His fascinating manners, his witty sayings, and his ever-ready kindness and beneficence won for him a secure place in the respect and love of his fellow-citizens. He remained in his old home during the German siege of Paris, 1870-71, but the miseries of the Communist war which followed sickened his heart, and he died in Paris on the 13th of May 1871.

See Adolph Kohut, “Auber,” vol. xvii. of Musiker Biographien (Leipzig, 1895).

AUBERGINE (diminutive of Fr. auberge, a variant of alberge, a kind of peach), or Egg Plant (Solanum melongena, var. ovigerum), a tender annual widely cultivated in the warmer parts of the earth, and in France and Italy, for the sake of its fruits, which are eaten as a vegetable. The seed should be sown early in February in a warm pit, where the plants are grown till shifted into 8-in. or 10-in. pots, in well-manured soil. Liquid manure should be given occasionally while the fruit is swelling; about four fruits are sufficient for one plant. The French growers sow them in a brisk heat in December, or early in January, and in March plant them out four or eight in a hot-bed with a bottom heat of from 60° to 68°, the sashes being gradually more widely opened as the season advances, until at about the end of May they may be taken off. The two main branches which are allowed are pinched to induce laterals, but when the fruits are set all young shoots are taken off in order to increase their size. The best variety is the large purple, which produces oblong fruit, sometimes reaching 6 or 7 in. in length and 10 or 12 in. in circumference. The fruit of the ordinary form almost exactly resembles the egg of the domestic fowl. It is also grown as an ornamental plant, for covering walls or trellises; especially the black-fruited kind.

AUBERVILLIERS, or Aubervilliers-les-Vertus, a town of northern France, in the department of Seine, on the canal St Denis, 2 m. from the right bank of the Seine and 1 m. N. of the fortifications of Paris. Pop. (1906) 33,358. Its manufactures include cardboard, glue, oils, colours, fertilizers, chemical products, perfumery, &c. During the middle ages and till modern times Aubervilliers was the resort of numerous pilgrims, who came to pay honour to Notre Dame des Vertus. In 1814 the locality was the scene of a stubborn combat between the French and the Allies.

AUBIGNAC, FRANÇOIS HÉDELIN, Abbé d’ (1604-1676), French author, was born at Paris on the 4th of August 1604. His father practised at the Paris bar, and his mother was a daughter of the great surgeon Ambroise Paré. François Hédelin was educated for his father’s profession, but, after practising for some time at Nemours he abandoned law, took holy orders, and was appointed tutor to one of Richelieu’s nephews, the duc de Fronsac. This patronage secured for him the abbey of Aubignac and of Mainac. The death of the duc de Fronsac in 1646 put an end to hopes of further preferment, and the Abbé d’Aubignac retired to Nemours, occupying himself with literature till his death on the 25th of July 1676. He took an energetic share in the literary controversies of his time. Against Gilles Ménage he wrote a Térence justifié (1656); he laid claim to having originated the idea of the “Carte de tendre” of Mlle de Scudéry’s Clélie; and after being a professed admirer of Corneille he turned against him because he had neglected to mention the abbé in his Discours sur le poème dramatique. He was the author of four tragedies: La Cyminde (1642), La Pucelle d’Orléans (1642), Zénobie (1647) and Le Martyre de Sainte Catherine (1650). Zénobie was written with the intention of affording a model in which the strict rules of the drama, as understood by the theorists, were observed. In the choice of subjects for his plays, he seems to have been guided by a desire to illustrate the various kinds of tragedy—patriotic, antique and religious. The dramatic authors whom he was in the habit of criticizing were not slow to take advantage of the opportunity for retaliation offered by the production of these mediocre plays. It is as a theorist that D’Aubignac still arrests attention. It has been proved that to Jean Chapelain belongs the credit of having been the first to