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Bonnie J. Blackburn

[Piero]

(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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Karol Berger

(b Genoa, c1600; d after 1640). Italian theorist. A Franciscan, he was chaplain and musician to Cardinal Franz von Dietrichstein, Prince-Bishop of Olomouc and governor of Moravia. Before 1629 he probably taught music at the seminary at St Oslowan and from 1629 at the newly established Loretan seminary at Nikolsburg (now Mikulov), the cardinal’s principal residence. He returned to Italy in 1632. His treatise Regulae contrapuncti excerptae ex operibus Zerlini et aliorum ad breviorem tyronum instructionem accommodate (St Oslowan, 1629/R), which in spite of its Latin title and dedicatory letter is written in Italian, was conceived as a textbook of counterpoint for his seminarians. It is an entirely unoriginal and conservative compendium of the most elementary rules concerning the use of consonances and dissonances, derived, according to the title, ‘from the works of Zarlino and others’.

ČSHS EitnerQ E. Bohn: Die musikalischen Handschriften des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts in der Stadtbibliothek zu Breslau...

Article

Margaret Murata

(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 (...

Article

Guy Bourligueux

(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 ...

Article

[Petrus Abailardus]

(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....

Article

Abing  

Jonathan P.J. Stock

[Hua Yanjun]

(b Wuxi, Jiangsu province, Aug 20, 1893 or Nov 3, 1898; d Dec 4, 1950). Chinese folk musician. The illegitimate or adopted son of Daoist priest and musician Hua Qinghe in the city of Wuxi, Hua Yanjun also became a Daoist musician, performing in ritual instrumental ensembles and mastering several instruments, including pipa four-string lute and erhu two-string fiddle.

With Hua Qinghe’s death in the mid-1920s, Hua Yanjun inherited a small amount of property. However, visits to local brothels resulted in his contraction of gonorrhoea, leading eventually to blindness. At about this time, Hua appears to have become an opium smoker. Unable now to take part in Daoist ensembles, Hua, under the name Abing, became a street musician, specializing in extemporized songs based on local news. He also performed pipa, erhu and the three-string lute sanxian. Abing has typically been described as the archetypal Chinese folk musician; following political and social trends in China, he has been portrayed at various times in articles, books, film and an eight-part TV series as working-class revolutionary, romantically inspired composer and Daoist musical craftsman....

Article

John Bergsagel

(Schack Olufsen)

(b Brande, Jutland, April 9, 1893; d Copenhagen, Feb 17, 1949). Danish musicologist. After studying at the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music (1910–13), where he graduated as an organist, he was organist and choirmaster at the Luther Church (1914–24) and head of the music division of the Copenhagen Royal Library (1916–21). As a student he attended Hammerich's lectures in music history at Copenhagen University (there was no degree course in music history until 1915) and in 1917 he became the first MA in musicology in Denmark, graduating with a dissertation on the transition from Catholic to Protestant liturgy in Denmark in the 16th and 17th centuries. During his years at the Royal Library he began to study its large collection of Latin liturgical fragments on the basis of which he tried to reconstruct the Danish medieval liturgy and to provide a demonstration of Peter Wagner’s theory of the two traditions, Roman and Germanic, of Gregorian chant. He submitted this as a doctoral dissertation to the university in ...

Article

Roger Bowers

(b c1420; d 1497). English church musician. He was noted as a fine singer and skilful organist. After service in the household of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (until 1447), and as a lay clerk of Eton College (1447–51), where he was one of the four clerks specially responsible for singing polyphony in the college chapel, he became a clerk of the Chapel Royal in 1451, and Master of the Choristers there from 1455 to 1478. His duties included teaching the boys to play the organ and to sing plainsong and improvised polyphony; also it seems probable that he was instrumental in the introduction about this time of the use of boys’ voices in composed polyphony. The award to him in 1464 of a Cambridge MusB reflects his eminence in the musical profession – he is the earliest known recipient of this degree – while the patronage of Bishop Bekynton brought him valuable sinecures in the diocese of Bath and Wells. His last years were spent as a resident of Sanctuary Yard, Westminster Abbey....

Article

Geoffrey Chew

[Vojtěch; Wojciech]

(b ?Libice, Bohemia, c956; d nr Danzig [now Gdańsk], April 23, 997). Czech bishop, missionary, martyr, and saint. He belonged to the powerful Slavník family and was baptized Vojtěch, taking the name Adalbert at his confirmation. Educated at Magdeburg, he was consecrated Bishop of Prague in 983. Owing to opposition he twice resigned the see and travelled to Rome, returning each time to Prague. In Italy he became a Benedictine (989) and visited Monte Cassino; he founded the first Benedictine houses in Bohemia (Břevnov, 993) and Poland (Międzyrzecz, c996), and visited Hungary as a missionary. He was canonized in 999 and venerated particularly in Bohemia, Poland, Hungary, and Prussia; for a list of Offices, hymns, and sequences connected with his cult, see Morawski.

The early biographies (ed. in MGH Scriptores, vol.4, 1841/R, pp.574–620; vol.15/2, 1888/R, pp.705–8, 1177, and by Hoffmann) offer no conclusive evidence that Adalbert was a musician. He has been credited, nevertheless, with the earliest vernacular religious songs of both Bohemia (...