( b London, 1817; d London, Dec 11, 1863). English composer . She was the eldest daughter of Joseph Glossop, a friend of George IV; she married Gilbert Abbott A’Beckett, a magistrate and humorous writer. Apart from a dozen songs and two waltzes for piano, A’Beckett composed three operas: The Young Pretender...
John R. Gardner
(b Oss, March 10, 1970). Dutch composer. He trained first as a recording engineer at The Hague Royal Conservatory, taking additional lessons in classical guitar with Antonio Pereira Arias, then went on to study composition with Andriessen family, §3, Gilius van Bergeijk and Diderik Wagenaar He quickly gained prominence as a composer of works for soloist and/or ensemble with soundtrack, combining economy of material with discontinuous structures and a theatrical component. In 2002, Van der Aa studied film direction at the New York Film Academy. Starting with the chamber opera One for soprano, video and soundtrack (2002), he has since expanded his activities to include script writing, filmmaking and stage directing. He has received the International Gaudeamus Prize (1999), the Matthijs Vermeulen prize (2004), the Charlotte Köhler Prize (2005), the Siemens Composers Grant (2005) and the Paul Hindemith Prize (...
revised by Ole Kongsted
[Sistinus, Theodoricus; Malmogiensis, Trudo Haggaei]
(fl 1593–1625). Danish composer and organist. He was appointed organist of Vor Frue Kirke (now the cathedral), Copenhagen, on 23 June 1593 after having ‘pursued and learnt his art during a long period both in Germany and Italy’. He received a number of preferments, such as the free residence formerly set aside for the palace preacher, awarded to him in 1603. He was also on at least two occasions sent on commissions for the king, once to Prague (1600). He published under his latinized name Theodoricus Sistinus a set of secular Cantiones for three voices (Hamburg, 1608; ed. in Dania sonans, ii, 1966), his only known published music. The publication is dedicated to King Christian IV of Denmark, and it may be assumed that it won his approval, for during the period 1609–11 he received payments from the royal treasury in addition to his salary as organist, perhaps for teaching at the court. As early as ...
Bonnie J. Blackburn
(b Florence, c1480; d after 1545). Italian theorist and composer. Nothing is known of Aaron’s early training, his teacher, or his career before 1516. He claims to have had ‘the greatest friendship and familiarity’ with Josquin, Obrecht, Isaac, and Agricola in Florence (most likely between 1487 and 1495, and not necessarily at the same time). By 1516 he was a priest in Imola, where he wrote his first book, Libri tres de institutione harmonica, translated into Latin by the humanist Giovanni Antonio Flaminio. A contemporary poem by Achille Bocchi praises Aaron for rescuing music ‘from squalor and dismal neglect’. By March 1520 he was a singer in Imola Cathedral and from the next year a chaplain; he was also paid by the city to teach music to those who wished to learn. His career in Imola ended abruptly in June 1522 when he was wounded in a factional uprising and his chapel in the cathedral destroyed (Blackburn, forthcoming). By ...
revised by Gary R. Boye
(b Bitonto, nr Bari; d after 1651). Italian composer and guitarist. He is known by four books of pieces for five-course Baroque guitar. They consist mainly of simple battute accompaniments to popular songs and dances of the early 17th century such as the passacaglia, ciaccona, folia, Ruggiero and aria di Fiorenza. The accompaniments are set down in the alphabet system of chord notation (alfabeto) devised by Girolamo Montesardo, in which letters of the alphabet designate fingering positions for various major and minor chords. Each of Abatessa’s books contains instructions concerning the interpretation of the alphabet tablature, the fingering of the chords and the tuning of the guitar; the 1652 book also explains how to tune the guitar with the harp, presumably for the simultaneous playing of continuo parts. The 1627 collection gives instructions regarding the execution of certain kinds of strum such as the trillo and ...
Giovanni Carli Ballola
revised by Roberta Montemorra Marvin
(b Alessandria, March 20, 1851; d Alessandria, May 2, 1894). Italian organist and composer. He began his musical studies with his stepfather, Pietro Cornaglia. From 1868 to 1871 he attended the Milan Conservatory, studying the piano with Antonio Angeleri and composition with Lauro Rossi and Mazzucato. His graduation exercise, the cantata Caino e Abele, won the first prize and a medal of honour. He toured abroad as a concert pianist, but from 1880 until his death was organist at the cathedral in Alessandria, where he also founded a school of composition, singing and piano, and conducted concerts for the Associazione filarmonica alessandrina. He composed three operas, Isabella Spinola (1877, Milan), Maria di Warden (1884, Venice) and Una partita a scacchi (1892, Pavia), the latter based on Giuseppe Giacosa's popular comedy. In these works, which did not have much success, Abbà Cornaglia remained uninfluenced by the innovatory tendencies of the ‘Scapigliatura’ and of Catalani and by the new ...
(b Città di Castello, Jan 26, 1595; d Città di Castello, ? after March 15, 1679). Italian composer and teacher. He travelled to Rome with his brother Guidobaldo, an artist, in 1623 and 1625 (Andrae, 17–19), and was employed at S Giovanni in Laterano from January 1627 to May 1629. According to his verse autobiography (in I-Rvat ) he served there ‘seven years and some months’, or from 1622, but neither this nor his statement that he held earlier positions in Città di Castello and at the Gesù in Rome have been confirmed. He subsequently served as maestro di cappella at the cathedrals of Città di Castello (June 1629 to May 1632, December 1635 to November 1640 and May 1677 to March 1679) and Orvieto (December 1632 to 1635). In Rome his principal tenures were at S Maria Maggiore, where he trained boy sopranos (...
revised by John D. Drake and Stephan Hörner
(b Bayreuth, Feb 20, 1761; d Stuttgart, March 2, 1838). German composer, pianist and organist. In 1771 he became a pupil of A. Boroni at the Hohe Karlsschule in Stuttgart, where in 1782 he joined the private band of the Duke of Württemberg as a harpsichordist. On Zumsteeg's death in 1802 he succeeded him as Konzertmeister, and took over the direction of the ensemble until the appointment of J.F. Kranz. By 1815 he held the position of organist at court and director of the official music. In 1832, having completed 50 years' service with the court, he was given a gold medal and a pension.
Most of Abeille's compositions date from the first 30 years of his service at Stuttgart. Besides two sonatas for keyboard with accompanying violin (1783), his published instrumental works include sonatas and other pieces for both piano solo and piano duet, a piano trio, a piano concerto and a concerto for piano duet, which was favourably mentioned by Gerber (...
(b Salon-de-Provence, bap. Feb 24, 1674; d after 1733). French composer. He was the son of Jean Abeille, a royal notary, and may have been a choirboy at the collegiate church of St Laurent in Salon-de-Provence. From 1699 to 1700 he was maître de chapelle of the primate’s church of St Trophime, Arles; from 31 March 1713 until 17 October 1713, when he was succeeded by François Pétouille, he was vicaire de choeur and maître de musique at the royal parish church of St Germain-l’Auxerrois in Paris. No further details of his life are known.
His most important compositions were two volumes of the Psalms of David translated into French by Antoine Godeau, Bishop of Vence, dedicated to Mme de Maintenon and intended for the use of the young ladies at St Cyr. The 150 psalms are set with considerable skill and variety: the earlier ones are short and simple, but the later ones, in three parts alternating with ...
(b Le Pallet, nr Nantes, 1079; d Saint-Marcel, nr Chalon-sur-Saône, April 21, 1142). French philosopher, poet and musician of Breton origin. After studying philosophy in Paris, he taught dialectic at the cathedral school. His love affair with Heloise, the young niece of Canon Fulbert, brought him fame as a musician. However, after they had secretly married in 1118 Fulbert had Abelard castrated. Heloise became a nun and he became a monk at St Denis. His highly original scholastic method and his restless and blunt nature aroused opposition to his teaching; principal among his opponents was Bernard of Clairvaux. After condemnation by the Council of Sens in 1140, Abelard found support from Peter the Venerable, Benedictine Abbot of Cluny.
Abelard’s songs are few beside his numerous theological and philosophical writings. Heloise’s testimony suggests that his love songs must have been important from both a literary and a musical point of view. In a later letter (probably revised by Abelard) she declared that he had ‘the gift of poetry and the gift of song’; he ‘composed quite a number of metrical and rhythmic love songs. The great charm and sweetness in language and music, and a soft attractiveness of the melody obliged even the unlettered’. These songs, presumably in Latin, have all been lost: they have not been identified among the anonymous repertory....
(b Vilnius, Jan 6, 1912; d Minsk, Dec 8, 1985). Belarusian composer. He studied at the Warsaw Conservatory (1935–9), with Kazimierz Sikorski for composition and Drzewiecki for piano, and then at the National Conservatory in Minsk, where he graduated from Zolotaryov’s composition class in 1941. He received the title Honoured Artist of the Belarusian SSR in 1963. The works he produced in the late 1940s and 1950s are conservative, but his First Symphony (1962) reflected a renewal in Belarusian music, under the influence of Shostakovich. In the later symphonies there is an increase in confrontation to the point of expressionism, and tragi-grotesque themes come to play a major role, though the Fourth Symphony has elements of neoclassicism that became characteristic of Abeliyovich’s music in the 1970s. His two books of Freski (‘Frescoes’) for piano, in an impressionist manner, are Belarusian classics, while his songs range from dramatic wartime ballads to Tyutchev settings remarkable for their emotional poise and psychological depth....
(b Aberdeenshire, 1653; d ?Cambridge, after 1716). Scottish countertenor, composer and lutenist. The first occurrence of his name in official records is on 1 May 1679, when he was admitted ‘extraordinary’ then ‘in ordinary’ to the Chapel Royal. From the same time he is listed among the musicians of the King’s Private Musick as one of the lutes and voices and also as a violinist, though the latter post was probably a sinecure. Between 1679 and 1688 he received considerable sums of ‘bounty money’ for undisclosed services to the king while travelling abroad. Evelyn recorded (27 January 1682):
After supper came in the famous Trebble, Mr Abel, newly returnd from Italy, & indeed I never heard a more excellent voice, one would have sworne it had been a Womans it was so high, & so well & skillfully manag’d.
He graduated MusB at Cambridge in 1684...
Anna Amalie Abert
(b Kochowitz, nr Leitmeritz, Bohemia, Sept 20, 1832; d Stuttgart, April 1, 1915). Bohemian composer. After studying at the Prague Conservatory, he was engaged in 1853 as a double-bass player at the Stuttgart Hofkapelle where he then served as Kapellmeister from 1867 to 1888. Between 1852 and 1894 he composed orchestral and chamber music in addition to sacred and secular vocal works. He was most important in the field of operatic composition, his six operas winning him acclaim as one of the masters between Meyerbeer and Wagner. His first opera, Anna von Landscron (1858), was firmly rooted in the German Romantic opera tradition. However König Enzio, produced four years later, clearly showed the influence of French grand opera, which the composer had studied first-hand during a long visit to Paris. He was especially successful in 1866 with his third opera, Astorga, whose less dramatic text allowed scope for his primarily lyrical style to develop. In ...
Simon Towneley and Derek McCulloch
(b Gainsborough, Jan 16, 1740; d Rycote, Sept 26, 1799). English music patron, composer, and political writer. He was educated at Westminster and Oxford (MA 1761) and spent several years in Europe. In Geneva (1765) he met Grétry, who wrote a flute concerto for him based on the improvisations he had played to Grétry to demonstrate his prowess. He spent time in Geneva with the exiled politician John Wilkes and met Voltaire in nearby Ferney. From the mid 1770s he was much involved in the musical and political life of Britain. He was brought into close contact with J.C. Bach and C.F. Abel through his brother-in-law Giovanni Gallini, who was concerned in the organization of the Bach-Abel subscription concerts, which the Earl is said to have subsidized. At his request, Abel composed Four Trios: Two for Two Flutes and a Bass op.16 and J.C. Bach is the author of one of two trios composed for the earl, ‘selected’ and published by Monzani in about ...
(b Schwanenstadt, Upper Austria, March 15, 1959). Austrian composer. After studying jazz piano at the Graz Hochschule für Musik (1977–9), he studied composition privately with Gösta Neuwirth (1979). He continued his studies at the Vienna Music Academy (1979–82), where his teachers included Haubenstock-Ramati. From 1982 until 1990 he taught at the Kreuzberg Musikschule. His other activities have included founding the ensemble Zwischentöne (1988), and directing the zeit geben I–III, Klangwerkstatt (Berlin, 1990–92) and Insel Musik 24 (Berlin, 1997) festivals. He has served as guest conductor for various ensembles in Vienna and Berlin, and as guest composer at the Graz Institut für Elektronische Musik (1996).
Ablinger has remarked, ‘It is not what is different that counts but what is the same; that is where the One can occur’. This aesthetic posture has led him to compose several series of works in which many of the same elements carry over from one piece to the next. The first piece in his series ...
(fl 1546–87). Italian lutenist and composer. ‘Pestrin’ is Venetian dialect for ‘mill’ or ‘dairy’, and it has been thought that this may indicate his family’s occupation and Venetian origins; more recent evidence suggests that the name refers to his residence in Calle del Pestrin in the parish of San Stefano. He published at least seven volumes of solo lute music, of which only three are extant. A book of lute music by ‘Pestrin’, now lost, is listed in Vincenti’s catalogue of 1591; that this is by Abondante is confirmed by Giunta’s catalogue of 1604. Because of the different forms of Abondante’s name and the 41 years that elapsed between the publication of the first and fifth books, Eitner mistakenly concluded that ‘Julio Abondante’, composer of the first two books, and ‘Giulio Abundante, detto dal Pestrino’ or ‘Giulio dal Pestrino’, composer of the fifth book, were different musicians. In the dedications of his ...
Hanns-Bertold Dietz and Joseph Vella Bondin
(b Valetta, Nov 16, 1715; d Naples, Oct 1760). Maltese composer and teacher. His grandfather, who was French, settled in Malta in 1661. Abos's cousin Carol Farrugia paid for him to go to Naples as a child and receive his musical training at the Conservatorio dei Poveri di Gesù. An entry in the 1729 account book of the institution lists a payment to a ‘Maltese maggiore’ for copying a ‘new work by Sig Francesco Durante, Dixit’. Abos's principal teachers at the conservatory would have been first Gaetano Greco, then Durante and Gerolimo Ferrara (not Leonardo Leo). His first opera for Naples was Le due zingare simili, an opera buffa staged at the Teatro Nuovo in 1742. In the same year he took teaching posts at two Neapolitan conservatories: the Poveri di Gesù Cristi, where he succeeded Alfonso Caggi as secondo maestro and assisted Francesco Feo until the institution was dissolved in ...
revised by David Brown
(b Newport, Isle of Wight, March 9, 1904; d Midhurst, March 18, 1988). English musicologist. Apart from having piano lessons as a boy, musically he was entirely self-taught. His formal education was completed in Portsmouth in preparation for a career in the navy, but he was obliged to abandon this plan owing to ill-health. During a period of recuperation he was able to put some of his self-acquired musical knowledge into practice by making orchestrations, arrangements and some attempts at original composition for the garrison band on the Isle of Wight. A year spent in Cologne resulted in his first major contribution to musical literature, a study of Borodin, which was begun in 1924 and published in 1927; this book (which he later disowned) immediately established him as an expert in the field of Russian music. He spent the next eight years as a freelance writer, contributing to a wide variety of publications, notably ...
(b Apatin, Hungary, Nov 2, 1892; d Hamburg, May 6, 1960).Hungarian composer. He studied at the Budapest Academy of Music (1910–16) and began as a composer of serious orchestral and chamber music, a cello concerto being performed by the Budapest PO and a string quartet at the 1922 Salzburg Festival. In 1927, however, he was appointed conductor at the Budapest Operetta Theatre, where he was called upon to write numbers for various operettas. Viktória (1930), a work making use of the dance styles of the time, enjoyed huge popularity and led to a move to Germany, where his success continued with his score for the film Die Privatsekretärin (1931) and the operettas Die Blume von Hawaii (1931) and Ball im Savoy (1932). However, the rise of Hitler forced him to leave Germany, at first for Vienna where the operettas ...
(b Copenhagen, Dec 23, 1952). Danish composer. He first studied the horn and was later trained in music theory at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. He also undertook private studies in composition from Nørgård and Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, among others. Abrahamsen was active for a period in the Gruppen for Alternativ Musik, a forum for musicians who wished to perform new music in alternative forms; the group also aimed to develop socially and politically committed music, and Abrahamsen was thus able to cultivate his interest in political issues expressed through music. (His first symphony was originally entitled Anti-EEC-Sats (‘Anti-EEC Movement’); it became Symphony in C after the composer came to the realization that ‘music cannot be against’.) In 1982 Abrahamsen became a teacher of instrumentation at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. He has also been artistic director of the Esbjerg Ensemble since 1988.
The composer’s first works adhered to the style of the Danish ‘new simplicity’ movement of the mid-1960s. For Abrahamsen and other composers such as Gudmundsen-Holmgren, Christiansen and Ole Buck, this stylistic attitude, which marked a break with serial music, was a Danish response to the complexity emanating from central Europe, particularly the circle around the Darmstadt School. In Abrahamsen this aesthetic anchorage came to mean an almost naive simplicity in musical expression, as exemplified in his orchestral piece ...