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Dancla, Charles

Charles Dancla, the most popular member of his family, was a violinist, composer, and teacher. He began his violin studies with a local tutor called Dussert, but at the age of nine, he was offered the chance to perform for Rode, who was then living in retirement in Bordeaux. Rode was so taken by Dancla's playing and sight-reading that he exposed him to Baillot, Cherubini (the head of the Paris Conservatoire at the time), and Kreutzer. Dancla trained with Paul Guérin and Baillot at the Paris Conservatoire from 1828 to 1840, receiving a premier prix (first prize) in 1833; he then studied counterpoint and fugue with Halévy and composition with Berton. Gounod, Bousquet, and César Franck were among the students who studied with Dancla. Dancla began playing the violin in Paris Theatre Orchestras while still a composition undergraduate and soon replaced Javault as master of the Opéra-Comique. This helped his family financially and enabled him and his brothers to attend the Conservatoire. At that time, Dancla was just 17 years old. Dancla was a member of Habeneck's Société des Concerts at the Paris Conservatoire as early as 1834, and from 1841 to 1863, he was the orchestra's principal violinist, occasionally playing as a soloist. Baillot, Dancla's tutor, often presented quartets by Boccherini, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, and this undoubtedly influenced Dallas (he had two brothers who played the violin and cello, as well as a sister who played the piano) to join a chamber music ensemble in 1839. Their performances at Hesselbein's house became a staple of the Paris concert calendar.

Dancla's near future, on the other hand, looked more than a little bleak! His desire to succeed Baillot as principal professor of violin in 1842 was never achieved, owing to Conservatoire politics. This was particularly frustrating given Dancla's support from Habeneck. In reality, Dancla turned down the role of assistant conductor at the Opéra-Comique six years later due to turmoil in the region. Dancla became the postmaster of Cholet for two years, though he managed to play the violin with his family in Paris on occasion. In addition, he would perform in the Cholet region. Henri Blanchard wrote in his analysis of a concert in Paris in 1849 in which his 4th quartet in Bflat was played. He is indeed a fine writer, even though conditions have compelled him to become a man of letters. Dancla returned to Paris and served as a postal official until 1855 when he was given a position at the Conservatoire. He was named professor of the violin in 1860 (some accounts claim 1857), a position he kept for 32 years until his forced resignation in 1892. He was also doing his own works in public at the age of 72. Vieuxtemps was Dancla's ideal, though he admired de Beriot's style and beauty and was awestruck by Paganini's virtuosity. Dancla did not travel, but his fame was focused on his compositions outside of France. Blanchard had doubts regarding Dancla's playing, which he attributed to his nervousness and irritability, but admired his trills, lightness of bowing, and brilliance. Dancla was well-liked at the Conservatoire, though he had less illustrious students than his counterpart Massart. Dancla's pupils at the Conservatoire include Maud Powell, an American woman violinist, and Achille Simonetti and Francesco de Guarnieri, two Italian violinists. Dancla was a prolific composer who earned seven awards for his string quartets (14 in total) and works for the male chorus. His music, on the other hand, lives on through his didactic works. For the violin, he wrote over 130 parts. The Ecole du mécanisme Op.74, his 20 Etudes brillantes Op.73, his Airs Varieés (based on popular operatic themes of the day), and a Progressive Approach for violin beginners are his most famous parts (all four for violin). The three books on the "School of Melody" are published by Schott. Every book includes a small selection of melodic encore pieces that, in terms of melody, act as the supreme litmus test for legato playing. Book 1 is an excellent test for young children who have mastered the essence of a proper singing sound. Notes et souvenirs, a book with a collection of Dancla's works, was also released. Dancla is considered the last representative of the classical French violin school.



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