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Henri Bertini

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Name  Henri Bertini

Role  Classical pianist
Henri Bertini httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Died  September 30, 1876, Meylan, France
Books  A Progressive and Com, Forty‑nine Etudes - Op 101 & 16, 48 studies - opus 29 and 32, Twenty‑four Melodious Pieces, Twenty‑five Primary Etudes - O
Similar People  Johann Baptist Cramer, Hermann Berens, Stephen Heller, Muzio Clementi, Carl Czerny

Henri bertini nos 3 and 4 from vingt cinq tudes op 29

Henri Jérôme Bertini (28 October 1798 – 30 September 1876) was a French classical composer and pianist. He was born into a family of musicians and attracted the attention of François-Joseph Fétis when he toured Europe as a child prodigy. As an adult he was admired both as a soloist and as a chamber musician; it was said that he played with Johann Nepomuk Hummel's simplicity and elegance without sacrificing the brilliance of the instrument. As a composer he had an original style which was rich in musical ideas, attractive melodies, and effortless harmonies. In 1848 he retired from the musical scene and settled in the Dauphiné in south-east France.


Etude no3 op29 in g minor henri bertini


Henri Jérôme Bertini was born in London on 28 October 1798 but his family returned to Paris six months later. He received his early musical education from his father and his brother, a pupil of Muzio Clementi. He was considered a child prodigy and at the age of 12 his father took him on a tour of England, Holland, Flanders, and Germany where he was enthusiastically received. After studies in composition in England and Scotland he was appointed professor of music in Brussels but returned to Paris in 1821. It is known that Bertini gave a concert with Franz Liszt in the Salons Pape on 20 April 1828. The program included a transcription by Bertini of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A major for eight hands (the other pianists were Sowinsky and Schunke.) He was also admired as a chamber music performer, giving concerts with his friends Antoine Fontaine (violin) and Auguste Franchomme (cello). He remained active in and around Paris until around 1848 when he retired from the musical scene. In 1859 he moved to Meylan (near Grenoble) where he died on 30 September 1876.

Bertini concertized widely but was not as celebrated a virtuoso as either Friedrich Kalkbrenner or Henri Herz. One of his contemporaries described his playing as having Clementi's evenness and clarity in rapid passages as well as the quality of sound, the manner of phrasing, and the ability to make the instrument sing characteristic of the school of Hummel and Moschelès. Thomas Tapper wrote:

He was in his time a shining example of the most admirable qualities of an artist. Living in an age of garish virtuosity, and hailed as a brilliant executant himself, he maintained nevertheless the most rigorous standards of musicianship in his playing, in his compositions, and in the music which he appeared before the public to interpret. This is the more remarkable when one considers that his manhood was reached during the luxuriant period of French romanticism and that the extravagances of the literary outburst were reflected in the musical movements of the time. Virtuosity was subjected to sore temptations and many succumbed. Bertini stood for the sounder qualities of the artist and gradually acquired an extended and remunerative prestige. His life was singularly devoid of incident and official distinction, but the legacy of pedagogic works which he has left to us and his honorable activity give it every right to be called a success.

Bertini was celebrated as a teacher. Antoine Marmontel, who devoted the second chapter of his work on celebrated pianists to Bertini, wrote

He was unsurpassed as a teacher, giving his lessons with scrupulous care and the keenest interest in his pupils' progress. After he had given up teaching, a number of his pupils continued with me, and I recognized the soundness of the principles drawn from his instruction.

It is above all in the special class of studies and caprices, that Bertini's immense popularity is founded. It is here that he occupied a unique position and opened the path over which the next generation of composers was to rush after him. In each of his numerous collections of studies, embracing every degree of difficulty, he has insistently given to every piece, easy or difficult, brief or extended, a character of salient melody. The technical problem to be overcome presents itself as a song; even where the study is devoted to the problem of velocity the general contour falls into a melodic curve, and this is the first and transcendent cause of the universal success of these pieces, which are, furthermore, natural in respect to rhythm and carefully thought out harmonically.

Robert Schumann, in a review of one of Bertini's piano trios in the Gesammelte Schriften, comments that Bertini writes easily flowing harmony but that the movements are too long. He continues: "With the best will in the world, we find it difficult to be angry with Bertini, yet he drives us to distraction with his perfumed Parisian phrases; all his music is as smooth as silk and satin." German sentimentality has never appreciated French elegance.

Bertini is best remembered today for his piano method Le Rudiment du pianiste, and his 20 books of approximately 500 studies.

Nonetto Op. 107

The Nonetto opus 107 for flute, oboe, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, viola, cello, double bass, and piano, composed in 1835, is one of Bertini's major works. Berlioz wrote a review in Maurice Schlesinger's widely distributed and very influential La Revue et Gazette musicale de Paris of a performance at a music evening given by the Tilmant brothers on 6 May 1838:

That same evening a Nonetto by Bertini for piano, viola, cello, oboe, flute, horn, bassoon, trumpet and bass, was performed. It is a great and beautiful composition in which each instrument contributes to the whole according to its importance and idiomatic qualities, without trying to stand out individually. The piano itself is only entrusted those parts which contribute to the musical sense of the moment, and makes no effort toward brilliance for brilliance's sake. Beethoven himself followed this philosophy in his immortal trios. Amongst other movements, this Nonetto includes an adagio entitled La Melancolie which provides more than its title might indicate; it is so grandiose, at times so majestically sombre, that the sentiment of melancholy one expects is overshadowed by ideas of a much higher and rare order. In no way do I mean to quibble with the title, God forbid; all I wish to say is that this admirable work is not only melancholic, but also much more. In the Scherzo and Finale one finds details of graceful melancholy as well as vivacious charm, but the Adagio rises up in the centre of the work like the Mont Blanc among its neighbouring peaks; it dominates all; it is a sublime and profound meditation which provides an almost painful impression that cannot be forgotten.

Berlioz later made further comments about this evening in the July 6 edition of Le Journal des débats:

The Nonetto by Bertini... is the work of a great musician with a lively and ardent imagination, who will grow stronger and more powerful if he refrains from his attempts to encourage applause as he occasionally sought to do in the first movement. His peroration was all too obvious and he is seen to be too preoccupied with achieving success and producing effects. This detracts from the free flowing of his thoughts. This fault does not exist in the other parts of the Nonetto. In composing these the author, fully involved in his subject, undoubtedly forgot that he was actually writing for his public, and concerned himself only with the task at hand and the ultimate unity of the work. Which of these last three movements is our favourite? The Adagio, above all, is without question a noble and magnificent inspiration whose sombre poetry reminds us of the sublime greatness of Beethoven's Sonatas. This is admirable.

The Nonetto was reduced to a quintet (flute or violin, violin, viola, cello and piano) by Charles Schwencke, a pianist and composer from Hamburg who was living in Paris. This appears to have been done for amateur musicians: the flute part, which can be replaced by a violin, contains frequent octave transpositions to make it easier to play.


Bertini wrote approximately 500 études, ranging from easy studies for young students whose hands cannot span an octave to concert études. They were published in sets of 25 studies each. Roughly in order of difficulty they are:

  • Études faciles composées expressément pour les petites mains
  • 25 Etudes faciles et progressives, Op.100
  • 25 Etudes, Op.137
  • 25 Études primaires, Op.166
  • Introduction à celles de Cramer
  • 24 Etudes, Op.29
  • 24 Etudes, Op.32
  • Études mélodiques
  • opus 86 sur les romances de A. Romagnési
  • opus 141 précédées chacune d'un prélude en deux suites. No. 1
  • opus 142 précédées chacune d'un prélude en deux suites. No. 2
  • Introduction aux Études caractéristiques de l'opus 66
  • opus 134
  • Études caractéristiques
  • opus 66
  • Études caprices ou Complément aux Études caractéristiques
  • opus 94
  • Grandes Études artistiques de première force
  • opus 122
  • Bertini also wrote several sets of études for piano four hands
  • opus 160 L'Art de la mesure pour les petites mains à quatre mains
  • opus 149 Études très facile à quatre mains
  • opus 150 Études très facile à quatre mains
  • opus 97 Études musicales à quatre mains pour le piano
  • opus 135 Études musicales à quatre mains pour le piano
  • WoO Frère et soeur. Quatre petits Duos pour le piano à quatre mains composés pour Henri et Isabelle.
  • WoO Mère et fille. Quatre petits Duos pour le piano à quatre mains suite à Frère et soeur.
  • In addition to these, the last five published books of études appear to have been conceived as a set
  • opus 175 Études préparatoires
  • opus 176 Études intermédiares
  • opus 177 Études spéciales de la vélocité, du trille et de la main gauche
  • opus 178 Études normales et classiques
  • opus 179 Études suite de l'opus 150 à quatre mains pour le piano
  • Early works, without opus

  • Introduction and variations upon the air of Gondrillon
  • Celebrated Irish melody as sung in the opera of Guy Mannering with variations and an introduction for the piano forte
  • Third divertimento for the piano forte
  • Air with seven variations for the piano forte
  • Polacca composed pour the piano forte
  • Again a little trifle. Andante for the piano forte
  • Music published without opus

    Vocal Music

    Le jaloux dupé. Opéra comique en 1 acte

  • Caïn. Scène biblique (Biblical scene)
  • Françoise de Rimini
  • Cinq Morceaux religieux. Paroles latines à usage des séminaires, communautés religieuses, chapelles et maisons d'education. Ave Maris Stella, O Salutaris, Tantum Ergo, Ave Maris Stella, Ave Maria (Five religious pieces. Latin lyrics for the use of seminarians, religious communities, chapels, and places of education...)
  • Deuxième Messe à quatre voix pour deux ténors et deux basses avec accompagnement d'orgue (Second Mass in four voices for two tenors and two basses with organ accompaniment.)
  • La Melodie Religieuse. Collection de motets au Saint Sacrement et à la Sainte Vierge à une ou plusieurs voix avec accompagnement d'orgue (Religious melody. Collection of motets to the Holy Sacrament and the Holy Virgin for one or several voices ith organ accompaniment.)
  • Studies

  • La Gymnastique des doigts. Préparation à l'étude du piano (Finger gymnastic. preparation for piano studies)
  • La Semaine du Pianiste. Etudes journalières de la gamme dans tous les tons majeurs et mineurs (The pianist's week. Daily studies of all the major and minor scales.)
  • Etudes pour le piano forte en 24 exercices (Studies for panoforte in 24 exercises).
  • Exercices en doubles notes (Exercises for double notes).
  • Exercices en octaves, exercices en accord (Exercises for octaves and chords).
  • Premières leçons doigtées et arrangées pour les petites mains (First lessons in fingering and arranged for small hands).
  • Cinquantes Leçons progressives, faisant suite aux précédentes (Fifty progressive lessons, following the preceding ones)
  • Douze Etudes spéciales (Twelve special studies)
  • Miscellaneous piano pieces

  • La Romanesca
  • Scherzo en do majeur pour piano
  • Storielle amorosa pour piano
  • Collaborations with other musicians

    Duos for piano and violin by Bertini and Antoine Fontaine

  • 1er livre. L'Amitié, grand Duo pour piano et violon
  • 2ème livre. Les saisons, Duo brillant pour piano, violon ou violoncelle
  • 3ème livre. Fantaisie et variations brillantes sur un air suisse pour piano et violon concertantes
  • 4ème livre. Fantaisie concertante sur Robin des Bois pour piano et violon
  • 5ème livre. L'automne. Grand duo concertant pour piano et violon
  • 6ème livre. La Conversation. Duo concertant pour piano et violon
  • 7ème livre. Duetto pour piano et violon
  • 8ème livre. Serenata pour piano et violon
  • 9ème livre. Notturno pour piano et violon
  • Duo for piano and violin by Bertini and Auguste Franchomme

  • Thème varié pour piano et violoncelle
  • Duo for piano and flute by Bertini and Joseph Guillou

  • Fantaisie pour piano et flûte
  • Arrangements

  • Collection des préludes et fugues de Sébastien Bach arrangés pour le piano à quatre mains. Ecole de la musique d' ensemble. Etudes spéciales du style élévé, de la mesure et de toutes les combinaisons les plus difficiles du rythme. (Collection of preludes and fugues by Sebastian Bach arranged for piano with four hands. School of ensemble music. Special studies of elevated style, of measures (bars) and of all the most difficult combinations of rhythm.)
  • Methods

  • Méthode pratique pour le piano forte rédigée d'après le mode d'enseignement indiqué par J. Jacotet et composée de morceaux choisis (Practical method for the pianoforte edited according to the teaching method described by J. Jacotet and composed of chosen pieces.)
  • Méthode élémentaire et facile de piano (Simple, elementary method for the piano).
  • Méthode complète et progressive de piano (Complete and progressive method for the piano).
  • Works fingered by Bertini

  • Muzio Clémenti, Etudes journières des gammes. (Muzio Clémenti, Daily studies of scales.)
  • References

    Henri Bertini Wikipedia

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