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Article

Ortrun Landmann

[Jean]

(b c1705; d Dresden, Nov 13, 1779). German composer. He was a Jagdpfeifer at the Dresden court (1733–6), then until his death a violist in the Dresden Hofkapelle. He was also ‘ballet-compositeur’ of the court opera (from c1740), and composer and director of music for the elector’s French theatre (1763–9). According to Burney and Fürstenau, he added ballet music to operas by J.A. Hasse and made an adaptation of Rameau’s Zoroastre (Dresden, 1752); the documents of the Hofkapelle in the Dresden State Archives indicate that he also composed new pieces for various opéras comiques, and in 1756 he published a Recueil d’airs à danser executés sur le Théâtre du Roi à Dresde, arranged for harpsichord. The concertos and chamber works listed under ‘Adam’ in the Breitkopf catalogues may also be attributed to him. Few of his compositions are extant; apart from his arrangements of works by other composers, the Sächsische Landesbibliothek in Dresden contains only a concerto in G for flute and strings by him....

Article

Owen Jander

revised by Giancarlo Rostirolla

[‘Il Bolsena’]

(b Bolsena, Nov 30, 1663; d Rome, July 22, 1742). Italian singer, writer and composer of Venetian origin. After early study at Montefiascone he was sent to Rome. Though his admission to the Cappella Giulia was recorded on 1 December 1682, he did not take up a post there until much later. In 1682 (or at the latest 16 September 1686) Adami became a member of the Congregazione dei Musici di S Cecilia, a fact which would confirm his professional activity in the sacred circles of Rome. He was a castrato of obviously unusual talent, but the remarkable success of his career also owed much to the fact that he enjoyed the protection of Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni – the most influential Roman music patron of the day – in whose palace he served as musician-in-residence from 1686 to 1740. On 5 October 1690 he became a member of the Arcadia – the foremost musico-literary academy in Rome – where he was dubbed ‘Caricle Piseo’. Aided by Ottoboni’s patronage he was admitted as a soprano to the Cappella Sistina at the age of 26 (...

Article

Donald R. Boomgaarden

(b Milston, Wilts., May 1, 1672; d Kensington, London, June 17, 1719). English librettist and writer on opera. He studied at Oxford, then held minor political offices and toured on the Continent (1699–1704), hearing performances in the most important operatic centres. He documented his impressions of opera in his Remarks upon Several Parts of Italy (London, 1705), commenting perceptively on the differences between the Italian, French and English poetic styles and criticizing the dramatic vacuity of Italian opera librettos. He later wrote a libretto on the story of Rosamond, mistress of Henry II, which was set by Thomas Clayton (1707) and was not successful, partially because of the composer's ineptitude. The libretto, while not Addison's best work, is an elegant attempt to create an opera on a British theme and shows that he had studied the dramatic and technical sides of opera. It was set successfully by T.A. Arne (...

Article

Sven Hansell

revised by Carlida Steffan

(b Venice, 1721 or 1722; d Padua, Oct 28, 1760). Italian composer. After studying with Galuppi, he became maestro di cappella of S Maria della Salute in Venice. In 1745 he left this post to serve the Modenese court as maestro di cappella to the archduchess, where his La pace fra la virtù e la bellezza was performed the following year. Adolfati provided recitatives, choruses and six arias for Hasse’s Lo starnuto d’Ercole (P.G. Martelli). A printed libretto indicates that it was performed with puppets (bambocci) at the Teatro S Girolamo, a very small theatre within the Venetian palace of Angelo Labia, in 1745 and during the carnival of 1746. From 1748 until early 1760 Adolfati was director of music at SS Annunziata del Vastato in Genoa; then he moved to Padua, where he succeeded Rampini as maestro di cappella on 30 May.

Adolfati's music did not please Metastasio, who heard his setting for Vienna of ...

Article

Ingmar Bengtsson

revised by Bertil H. van Boer

(b Löth, Östergötland, Feb 1, 1701; d Nuremberg, Jan 19, 1765). Swedish composer, violinist and harpsichordist. His father was a priest. He went to school in Linköping and studied at Uppsala University from 1721 to 1722 or 1723, where he played in the university orchestra, then led by the director musices Eric Burman. Early biographers said that Prince Maximilian of Hesse heard Agrell's violin playing in 1723 and called him to Kassel. Firm evidence of Agrell's activity there is, however, found only from 1734, when F. Chelleri was Kapellmeister. He was still working in Kassel between 1737 and 1742 during the reign of Count Wilhelm VIII and the court long owed him payment for service, as well as ‘ale and food money’, for the years 1743 to 1746. During his time at Kassel Agrell is reported to have made several journeys, visiting England, France, Italy and elsewhere.

Uncertain economic circumstances seem to have driven Agrell to seek the post of Kapellmeister in Nuremberg, a post which he obtained in ...

Article

Gloria Eive

(b Faenza, bap. Dec 31, 1716; d Faenza, Oct 12, 1785). Italian violinist, composer and teacher. He studied with Tartini, probably between 1730 or 1731 and 1733, by which date his name appears in the list of musicians at Faenza Cathedral, as third (and last) violinist under the direction of his brother, Don Francesco Alberghi, maestro di cappella. In 1742 he was referred to in Faenza chronicles as ‘Paolo Alberghi, Professore’, and both his virtuosity and his compositions – sonatas and violin concertos – were extravagantly praised. In 1753 he became first violinist and, on his brother’s death in 1760, maestro di cappella as well; he retained both positions until his death. Alberghi supplemented his small salary from the cathedral by playing for civic festivities and for the two academies of Faenza, and by composing and teaching; among his pupils were Bernardo Campagnoli, Antonio Bisoni, Cristoforo Babbi and possibly Giuseppe Sarti (unconfirmed). A portrait of Alberghi in the Biblioteca Comunale of Faenza (which, together with the Archivio Capitolare del Duomo, contains much biographical material in manuscript) indicates that he was blind in one eye....

Article

Michael Talbot

(b Venice, c1710; d Rome, Oct 14, 1746). Italian composer, harpsichordist and singer. Alberti's claim to historical recognition rests traditionally on his harpsichord sonatas, in which the arpeggiated bass that lent his name a posthumous notoriety is a prominent feature (see Alberti bass). In his lifetime, however, Alberti was equally famous as a singer and as a performer (sometimes as self-accompanist) on the harpsichord. His amateur status was perhaps unfairly seized upon by his detractors, for his reported early training in singing and counterpoint under A. Biffi and A. Lotti does not suggest an inadequate grounding; it may, however, account for the restricted quantity and scope of his output. Of his non-musical career little is recorded except that he served the Venetian ambassador, Pietro Andrea Cappello, as a page on a visit to Spain about 1736, provoking Farinelli's admiration of his singing, and subsequently joined the household of Marquis Giovanni Carlo Molinari in Rome. His harpsichord sonatas are generally believed to date from these last years. He is buried in S Marco, Rome....

Article

Michael Talbot

revised by Enrico Careri

(b Bologna, Sept 20, 1685; d Bologna, Feb 18, 1751). Italian composer and violinist. He studied the violin with Carlo Manzolini, and counterpoint with P.M. Minelli and Floriano Arresti. He became a member of the Accademia Filarmonica, Bologna, in 1705, and from 1709 played the violin in the orchestra of S Petronio. His first set of concertos, published in 1713, were first performed under the composer's direction at the house of Count Orazio Bargellini. In 1721 Alberti was chosen president (principe) of the Accademia Filarmonica, a post to which he was re-elected in 1724, 1728, 1733, 1740 and 1746. A set of violin sonatas, op.2 (1721), was followed by a further set of concertos, collectively entitled ‘Sinfonie’, and issued by Le Cène in 1725 – presumably without the composer's authorization as they are incorrectly designated op.2. (This possibly inadvertent duplication of an opus number led to the renumbering of the violin sonatas as op.3 when published by Walsh shortly afterwards.) From ...

Article

Robin Bowman

(fl 1697–1706). Italian composer, violinist and organist, active in northern Europe. At one time he was in the service of the Prince of Carignan (a small town in the French Ardennes) and in this capacity appeared as a violinist before Louis XIV in 1697. About 1703 he was organist of the monastery at Kranenburg, on the present Dutch–German border. He published XII suonate a tre, duoi violini e violone col basso per l’organo op.1 (Amsterdam, 1703). One of the two surviving copies ( US-CHua ) bears the date 1706 on one partbook and the signature ‘Alberti’ on all four; a copy in Sweden ( S-L ) is also signed. The contents are all church sonatas, and each contains between six and eight movements, all in the same key. They are stolid, old-fashioned, rather uninspired works, competently written for the most part but using only the simplest imitative techniques and frequently becoming homophonic. The part for violone, which for Alberti meant ‘cello’, is sometimes quite elaborate, creating a genuine four-part texture....

Article

Rudolf A. Rasch

[Weissenburg, Johann Heinrich von; Weissenburg, Johan Handrik van]

(b ?Bieswangen, Bavaria, c1660; d c?1730). Dutch composer and violinist of German extraction. The name Henricus Albicastro is a Latin-Italian translation of his true name, Johann Heinrich von Weissenburg. The designation ‘del Biswang’ on the title-pages of some of his works presumably refers to Bieswangen as his place of birth (there is, moreover, a town called Weissenburg nearby). There is nothing to corroborate Walther's statement that he was Swiss, but many details about his life are still unclear. His compositions adhere closely to the Italian style in string music with continuo, but there is no way of telling whether this results from study with an Italian composer in Italy or elsewhere, or from the study of Italian music available north of the Alps.

Albicastro was registered as ‘musicus academiae’ at the University of Leiden in 1686, meaning that he became head of the modest musical establishment there, a position he may have held until ...

Article

Mary Cyr

[Francischello, Franciscello]

(b Naples, March 7, 1691; d Vienna, July 20, 1739). Italian cellist. He attended the Conservatorio di S Maria di Loreto in Naples and was a pupil of Gian Carlo Cailò. In 1725 Quantz heard him in Naples at a concert in honour of Prince Lichtenstein, in which Farinelli sang. In Rome, Francischello (as he was widely known) accompanied Niccolini in a cantata of Alessandro Scarlatti with the composer at the keyboard, and Geminiani remarked on his expressive playing. Berteau was reputed to have given up the viol for the cello after hearing him. In 1726 he was appointed chamber virtuoso to Count Uhlenfeld in Vienna where Franz Benda played trios with him and the count. Benda remarked after hearing him play that his only desire was to imitate on the violin the playing of Francischello on the cello. According to Gerber (but doubted by Fétis) he later went to Genoa where Duport (...

Article

Dennis Libby

(b Milan, c 1720; d after 1766). Italian tenor . He made his début in opera seria in Venice in autumn 1737, then sang with the Mingotti company in central Europe, resuming his Italian career in autumn 1740 when he was quickly recognized as a leading artist with engagements in the most important theatres. In Venice he sang in Gluck’s ...

Article

Walter Emery

revised by Andreas Glöckner

(b Berna bei Seidenberg, Oberlausitz, bap. Jan 1, 1720; d Naumburg, bur. July 25, 1759). German organist and composer. He attended the Lauban Lyceum in 1733, and was a singer and assistant organist at St Maria Magdalena, Breslau, from about 1740 until the beginning of 1744. He then wished to return to Germany and devote himself to ‘higher studies’ at Leipzig, and as his parents were poor, he asked for a viaticum. He was granted four thalers on 23 January 1744, and on 19 March he matriculated at Leipzig University as a theological student. He soon began to assist Bach, chiefly as a bass, and did so regularly from Michaelmas 1745. In taking on a university student Bach exceeded his authority, but he was always short of basses, for the boys of the Thomasschule often left before their voices had settled. On 16 April 1746 W.F. Bach recommended Altnickol as his successor at Dresden, saying that he had studied the keyboard and composition with his father; but he was disregarded. On ...

Article

Julie Anne Sadie

(b Lyons, 1687; d Paris, Dec 3, 1747). French soprano. Trained as a singer and actress by Marthe le Rochois, she made her début at the Opéra in the 1711 revival of Michel de la Barre’s La vénitienne (1705). For the next 30 years she sang major roles in up to five productions each season, and she retired with a generous pension at Easter 1741. After her début she was immediately given important roles in new productions beginning with Campra’s Idomenée (1712) and Salomon’s Médée et Jason (1713); 23 years later she sang the same role, Cléone, in a revival of the Salomon opera and was warmly praised by the Mercure (Dec 1736). Antier appeared in almost two dozen Lully revivals; at one performance of the 1713–14 revival of Armide (1686) she had the honour of presenting the victorious Marshal of Villars with a laurel crown. In ...

Article

Winton Dean

(b Bologna, c 1697; d Florence, ?March 1734). Italian tenor. He sang in Rome (Giovanni Bononcini’s Etearco, 1719), Ferrara (1724), Bologna (1724, 1731), Milan (1724, 1727) and other Italian cities, and was engaged on Owen Swiney’s recommendation by the Royal Academy in London, replacing Francesco Borosini in revivals of Elpidia (by Vinci and Orlandini) and Rodelinda (Handel) in 1725, and appearing in the unsuccessful pasticcio Elisa in 1726. Handel composed the parts of Laelius in Scipione and Leonatus in Alessandro (only one aria) for him and evidently had little confidence in his powers, but Fétis described him as a fine singer with an excellent method. The compass is d to a′, the tessitura fairly high. Antinori sang in Venice (1726 in Porpora’s Imeneo in Atene, 1731), Livorno (1725, 1730–31), Turin (1728), Genoa (1728...

Article

( fl 1719–42). Italian choreographer and dancer . He was probably a native of Florence, since he is often cited in librettos as ‘Francesco Aquilanti, Fiorentino’ or ‘da Firenze’. His early choreographic work was concentrated in Venice, where he provided ballets for 17 operas at the Teatro S Giovanni Grisostomo (1721–34; including Leo’s Catone in Utica, Porpora’s Semiramide riconosciuta and works by Gasparini, Orlandini, Vinci and others), and for five operas during Ascension seasons at the Teatro S Samuele (1722–35; including Vivaldi’s Griselda). During this time he is also listed as a choreographer in Reggio Emilia (1725, Porpora’s Didone abbandonata) and as a dancer for opera productions in Turin (1727–8, 1729–30), along with Chiara Aquilanti who may have been his wife, sister or daughter. He spent two seasons in Naples as a choreographer, first for operas at the Teatro S Bartolomeo (1736–7...

Article

Philip Weller

( fl 1704–7). French soprano . After making her début at the Paris Opéra in 1704, as Venus and La Jeunesse in Destouches’ Le carnaval et la folie, she sang Iris in the revival of Lully’s Isis later that year. She created the role of Electra in Desmarets and Campra’s ...

Article

Peter Holman and Todd Gilman

( b London, March 12, 1710; d London, March 5, 1778). English composer, violinist and keyboard player . He was the most significant figure in 18th-century English theatre music.

Arne inherited his first name from his grandfather and father, London upholsterers and undertakers and office holders in the London Company of Upholders. As a child he adopted the middle name Augustine, apparently to show his allegiance to the Roman Catholic faith of his mother, Anne. His father rented a large house in King Street, Covent Garden, where he ran a thriving business, the Two Crowns and Cushions, although he apparently allowed his own father and brother Edward to die in debtors' prisons. According to Charles Burney, who became his apprentice in 1744, Arne was sent to Eton, where a passion for music soon became evident: he tormented his fellow pupils ‘night and day’ by playing the recorder, practised the spinet secretly at night during the holidays, ‘muffling the strings with a handkerchief’, and studied composition on his own before taking violin lessons with Michael Christian Festing; Burney wrote that Arne and Festing were both present on ...

Article

John Walter Hill

(b Florence, Dec 5, 1697; d Florence, Aug 18, 1744). Italian lutenist, theorbo player and composer. Although he may have directed music for the Prince of Carignan in his early years, his name is principally associated with Florence. By at least 1718 he was a member of the musicians’ company there. He is listed as a theorbo player at an oratorio performance on 31 March 1720 and as a violinist at a private concert on 30 July 1724, both in Florence. In 1721 he was elected a member of the Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna. His presence in London between 1731 and 1736 coincided with the lifespan of the Opera of the Nobility, rival to Handel’s company, which presented four performances of his Fernando beginning on 5 February 1734. In the 1732–3 season he directed concerts at Hickford’s Rooms, together with Giuseppe Sammartini, according to a newspaper announcement quoted by Burney. Other announcements mention his participation in London concerts on 20 April and ...

Article

Dennis Libby

(b ?Rome, c 1720; d after 1755). Italian soprano . She is first found in comic opera in Naples in 1735–6, and was expelled from the kingdom for unknown reasons, probably her sexual conduct. She was seconda donna in opera seria in Parma in Carnival 1737 and rose to prima donna in Carnival ...