Frédéric Bonnisseau

?-late 1882

A photograph of the title page of piece of music by Bonnisseau with a flageolet resting upon it.

Bonnisseau was a notable 19th Century French flageolet player who left behind a number of substantial pieces for the instrument

The earliest reference to Bonnisseau I have come across was found by Philippe Perlot. His research showed that in 1862 Bonnisseau was working as principle cornet player at the Adelphi when the bandmaster Jules Prudence Rivière took charge. Later in life, in his work “My Musical Life and Recollections”, Rivière wrote:

I had a band of thirty good musicians under my control, and the recognition that was given by the press of my endeavours to improve the quality of entr'acte music, was particularly gratifying to me. Thus encouraged, I naturally exerted myself to the utmost to introduce novel features into the programme, and my first cornet, I remember, who was a Frenchman named Bonnisseau, and a marvellous player also on the flageolet, had his solos nightly encored.

It may have been that the Cornet was Bonnisseau’s main instrument. He is listed in some scores as being “Band Master of the 84th Regiment” and when he died outside England, a short obituary was published in the Musical Standard (November 4th 1882, Part II, pg. 291), giving references to other military bands:

The death of M.Bonnisseau is announced.
He was a Parisian by birth, wrote a good deal of effective solo music, and was an accomplished and famous flageolet and cornet player, and lately bandmaster of the Scots Greys.

Bonnisseau appears to have been an extremely prolific composer. One piece in my collection is numbered as Opus 545. Of the composers for the flageolet, his music is perhaps the most readily available, since his solos were often written as being for “flageolet or piccolo” and so continued to be available into the 20th as piccolo solos. He also wrote much music for the Cornet and other instruments.

Two of Bonnisseau’s pieces, “Break of Morn in the Forest”, and Keel Row have been published on this site.

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There are 2 comments for this page.

  1. Dear Dr Jochen, Thank you very much for your comments which are very interesting. Can I ask how you come to be interested in Bonnisseau and his music?
    Jacob, posted on: 8th August 2016 at 2.21 PM
  2. 1880 spielte das Orchester von Benjamin Bilse (1816-1902) mehrere Stücke von Bonnisseau.

    In the year 1880 the orchestra of Benjamin Bilse played some compositions of Mr. Bonnisseau. The titel of one composition was "Esmeralda -Polka Mazurka" So far I could foud out, the Flute was played by a Xylophon, the name of the xylophon-Soloist was Wilhelm Florus.
    Dr. Jochen Georg Güntzel
    Dr. Jochen Georg Güntzel, posted on: 4th August 2016 at 8.03 PM