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Ernest Bourget

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ernest Alexandre Joseph Bourget (10 March 1814 – 2 October 1864 in Thomery (Seine-et-Oise aged 50 [1]) was a 19th-century French playwright, lyricist and librettist. In 1847 at the Café des Ambassadeurs, Paul Henrion, Victor Parizot and Ernest Bourget refused to pay the bill as long as they would not receive anything from the performance of their works in the facility. The ensuing trial would mark the creation of the SACEM.[2]

According to recent research[3] it was not this legendary event that Bourget took to trial. The contemporary journal ‘Le Droit‘ tells another story. M. Bourget was refused the drink he ordered at another establishment: the Café Morel. In the evenings the proprietor, M. Morel, served only guests who ordered drinks for which the garçon could not ‘deceive the corkscrew’. The profit from a modest eau sucré was ‘too small a thing for the proprietor to be able to present music and seats through a whole evening’. Bourget was annoyed and sued M. Morel who, after two trials in Tribunal de Commerce de la Seine and one in Cour d’Appel de Paris, had been sentenced to pay a total of 800 francs. The verdicts established that the transaction costs for a systematic collection of performing right fees could be covered by amounts claimed at a level which was related to the indemnity decided on by the Parisian courts of justice. Hence, on 18 March 1850 Ernest Bourget, Victor Parizot and Paul Henrion, aided by the publisher Jules Colombier, started a mutual collecting society which later became known as La Société des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Éditeurs de Musique (SACEM).

Ernest Bourget is the author or co-author of several librettos for Jacques Offenbach.



  • 1856: Tromb-al-ca-zar, ou Les criminels dramatiques, music by Jacques Offenbach, libretto with Charles Dupeuty
  • 1856: Les Dragées du baptême, music by Jacques Offenbach, libretto with Charles Dupeuty
  • 1857: Les Deux Pêcheurs ou le Lever du soleil, music by Jacques Offenbach, libretto with Charles Dupeuty
  • 1857: Les Chansons populaires de la France, music by Alphonse Varney
  • 1860: Bibi Bambou, melody by Jacques Offenbach, poem by Ernest Bourget
  • 1867: La Leçon de chant électro-magnétique, music by Jacques Offenbach



  • Chantal Brunschwig, Louis-Jean Calvet, Jean-Claude Klein, Cent ans de chanson française, Seuil, 1972 (1re éd. reliée) ; ré-éd. poche (coll. Points actuels), 1981 ISBN 2-02-00-2915-4
  • Christian Goubault, « Ernest Bourget » in Dictionnaire de la musique en France au XIXe siècle, Joël-Marie Fauquet (dir.), Fayard, Paris, 2003 ISBN 2-213-59316-7


  1. ^ Nécrologie, Le Petit Journal, 6 October 1864, (p. 2). La notice d'autorité de la BNF gives 3 October as the date of death, with the Dictionnaire de la musique en France au XIXe siècle, under the direction of Joël-Michel Fauquet, 2003 as source.
  2. ^ Brunschwig, Chantal; Calvet, Louis-Jean; Klein, Jean-Claude. 100 ans de chanson française. Seuil 1972, (p. 319).
  3. ^ Albinsson, Staffan (2014). "A Costly Glass of Water - The Bourget v. Morel Case in Parisian Courts 1847-1849" (PDF). Swedish Journal of Music Research. Retrieved 2016-07-03.
This page was last edited on 14 December 2020, at 15:11
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