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Pauline Duchambge

Pauline Duchambge née de Montet was a French Creole pianist, singer, and composer. Duchambge (Montet) was born in Martinique, West Indies and was the daughter of a noble family. She was taken to Paris, where she received a convent education and studied the piano from composer and author Jean Baptiste Desormery, son of the famous comic opera actor and composer Léopold-Bastien Desormery. Pauline composed and performed as a singer and a pianist. She studied harmony and composition with Daniel Auber and with Luigi Cherubini, who wrote several compositions for her. She also studied piano and composition with Jan Ladislav Dussek. Pauline left the convent in 1792 and married Baron Duchambge in 1796. In 1798 at the age of 20, she lost both her parents and with them the family fortune. Soon afterwards she was divorced. It was after these events that Duchambge's musical education began in earnest. She studied church music with Jan Dussek, Luigi Cherubini and D.F.E Auber. In 1815, Duchambge met the French poet and novelist, Marceline Desbordes-Valmore beginning a lifelong friendship and collaboration. Their friendship is documented by a lengthy correspondence and a number of songs by Duchambge on Debordes-Valmore’s texts including L’adieu tout bas, La fiancée del marin, Je pense à lui, La jeune Châtelaine, Rêve du mousse, La sincère and La valse et l’automne. Duchambge also composed music to texts and romances of other female authors such as Mme Amble Tastu and Mme Emile De Girardin. Pauline Duchambge wrote over three hundred romances, a very popular genre in the nineteenth century. Auber deposited three hundred of Duchambge’s songs in the Bibliothèque du Conservatoire in Paris. Eleven of Duchambge's individual songs and albums of songs were published between 1827 and 1841 by some of the leading Parisian publishers: Jean Antoine Meissonnier, Jacques-Joseph Frey, A. Petibon, and Ignace Pleyel. Her works reached a German audience through the Berlin publisher Maurice Schlesinger and the Schott firm in Mainz. In addition to songs, Duchambge wrote a few piano pieces. Duchambge had a difficult life, struggling with poverty, delicate health, and the disenchantments of love; her music expresses her emotions. She commented: "Love, it is life! but a life full of troubles, illusions, deceptions, repentance, discouragements…. "
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