Bottesini frequented the French capital, as it was the musical center of Europe during most of his life.

As such, it was a battleground of musical styles. The Italian bel canto school, of which Bottesini was a fierce proponent, often clashed with the teutonic school, typified by Richard Wagner. This musical and philosophical ferment might have spurred composers on to greater heights; sadly though, Wagnerism degenerated into deeply Umbertian modes of expression -- a movement that not only crippled music, but laid the groundwork for the totalitarianism and nationalism that have wracked Europe in the 20th century.

Bottesini's frequent stays in Paris may explain why the Bottesini Bow came to be known as the French Bow.

"We all must learn where to place our fingers."
© 1997, Jeff Brooks (