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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 ...


Norris L. Stephens

(b Newcastle upon Tyne, bap. Feb 16, 1709; d Newcastle upon Tyne, 9/May 10, 1770). English composer, conductor, writer on music and organist. He was the most important English concerto composer of the 18th century and an original and influential writer on music.

He was the fifth of nine children born to Richard and Ann Avison. Since his father, a Newcastle town wait, was a practising musician, his musical training probably began at home. Later, while in the service of Ralph Jenison, a patron of the arts and MP for Northumberland from 1724 to 1741, he had opportunity for further study. He had additional support in his musical development from Colonel John Blathwayt (or Blaithwaite), formerly a director of the Royal Academy of Music, the operatic organization in London. There is no evidence that, as has been claimed, Avison went to Italy, but William Hayes and Charles Burney wrote that he studied with Geminiani in London....


Nicholas Temperley

(b York, Aug 12, 1838; d London, Jan 28, 1896). English conductor and composer. He was the son of Thomas Barnby, an organist, and became a chorister at York Minster at the age of seven. In 1854 he went to London and entered the RAM. After holding positions as organist at various London and York churches, he received his first important appointment in 1863 as organist of St Andrew’s, Wells Street, under its prominent Tractarian vicar Benjamin Webb. Responding perhaps to pressure from their affluent and fashionable congregation, Webb and Barnby developed a type of music far removed from the austerity desired by the early Tractarians. A paid, surpliced choir of 32 boys and 32 men adorned the chancel, and performed ‘fully choral’ services. The music for these services from 1866 onwards included adaptations of Roman Catholic masses and motets, principally those of Gounod, with the words translated by Webb and the music adapted by Barnby. At the performance of Gounod’s ...


Francesco Bussi


(b Crema, 1703; d Piacenza, end of Jan 1779). Italian composer, conductor and organist. He succeeded Hasse in 1739 as maestro di cappella of the Ospedale degli Incurabili in Venice, and on 4 September 1744 succeeded G.B. Benzoni as maestro di cappella of Piacenza Cathedral, where he remained until his death. From 1744 to 1760 he also directed the Cappella di S Giovanni in Piacenza, again as Benzoni’s successor, and became a leading light at the Bourbon court of the dukes of Piacenza and Parma, presiding over their musical functions, both official and private. He was disliked, however, by the first minister, G. du Tillot, who in 1760 ordered Carcani to relinquish to his son Giacomo the post he had held since 1745 as musical director of the Congregazione di S Alessandro in Piacenza. In a letter dated 15 June 1768 Hasse expressed the wish that Carcani return to the Incurabili....


Neal Zaslaw

(b Paris, bap. Feb 6, 1695; d Paris, bur. Oct 7, 1766). French organist, harpsichordist, conductor and composer. Born into a family of musicians and instrument makers, he studied from 1702 under Nicolas Bernier as a choirboy at the Ste Chapelle, where in 1713 he assumed the duties of auxiliary organist. Around 1729 he was in the entourage of the wealthy patron of the arts, Bonnier de la Mosson, to whom his opp.1 and 2 were dedicated. Serving in the same Parisian household was Jean-Marie Leclair l’aîné who, although only two years Chéron’s junior and already internationally known, studied harmony and counterpoint with him. A decade later Leclair, with his op.7 violin concertos, acknowledged his debt in a warm letter of dedication to Chéron in which he stated that, ‘all the world knows that I am your pupil … If some beauties are found here, I owe them to the learned lessons that I received from you’....



(b ?1668; d Prague-Hradčany, Nov 16, 1734). Bohemian composer and choirmaster. He was an unpaid musician at Prague Cathedral, from about 1690, and from about 1701 to 1726 was choirmaster of the church of the Nativity in the Loreto at Hradčany. On 6 October 1705 he succeeded Wentzeli as capellae magister seu praefectus chori to the cathedral and held that post for nearly 30 years until his death (when he was succeeded by Görbig); by a careful choice of members he raised the standard of the ensemble. Besides his musical activities he was German registrar to the Prague court of appeal. His son Vojtěch (Adalbert) was viol player or cellist of the cathedral from 1727, and assisted as choirmaster during his father's final illness. By 1705 Gayer had begun to assemble a library of contemporary Italian sacred music and of his own compositions, and he enlarged it in ...



(b ?1684; d Prague-Strahov, March 2, 1737). Bohemian organist, choirmaster and composer. His age is given as 53 in the obituary register, but his name is not listed in the corresponding baptismal registers of Brüx (now Most) which was given as his place of birth by Dlabač.

Görbig was an unpaid assistant organist at the metropolitan cathedral of St Vitus in Prague from about 1703; on 24 July 1717 he became cellist and in 1727 he succeeded Tobias Ernest Liehre (1644–1727) as organist. After the death of J.C. Gayer he was appointed capellae magister, on 27 November 1734, and he held this post until his death; he was also organist at Strahov from about 1723. Besides his musical activities he was assessor to the subsidiary law court at Pohořelec (Prague). Gayer's son Vojtěch succeeded Görbig in 1727 as cellist of the metropolitan cathedral.

Görbig's artistic orientation can be seen from the selection of composers represented in his library (now in ...


Milan Poštolka

revised by Jiří Sehnal and Robert Hugo


(b Gossengrün (Krajková), nr Falkenau (Sokolov), Bohemia, bap. Wenceslaus, Sept 30, 1685; d Prague, March 21, 1734). Bohemian composer and choirmaster. He began his career as a singer at the Benedictine monasteries at Kladrau (Kladruby u Stříbra, 1696) and St Nikolaus (Mikuláš) in the Old Town of Prague (from 1698). There he studied music with Johann Ignaz Vojta, Prokop Smrkovský, and Isidor Wawak (Vavák) (organ); at 16 he began to compose. During his studies of law and theology, Jacob was active from 1707 as assistant organist at the same monastic church, and in 1711 he probably succeeded Vavák as choirmaster; some sources cite Jacob as choirmaster from 1705 and Vavák as organist. As a member of the Benedictine order he adopted the name Guntherus, took his monastic vows on November 1, 1710, and was ordained priest in 1714. In 1716 he was appointed an apostolic notary, and in ...


Kenneth Elliott

( fl 1624–43). Scottish musician . He graduated MA from Edinburgh University in 1624 and probably subsequently taught music in Edinburgh. His manuscript collection of psalm settings dated 1626 was known and described by Cowan, but has since disappeared. After Charles I’s Scottish coronation at Holyrood in 1633, regular choral services were re-established at the Scottish Chapel Royal; Millar was appointed Master of the Choristers in 1634 and in 1635 his fine edition of psalm settings was printed in Edinburgh. In this collection the 104 anonymous settings of the Proper Tunes are by Scottish composers of the late 16th century. Millar wrote in his preface: ‘I acknowledge sinceerely the whole compositions of the parts to belong to the primest Musicians that ever this kingdome had, as Deane John Angus, Blackhall Smith, Peebles, Sharp, Black, Buchan and others famous for their skill in this kind’. Some of these settings can be identified from other sources as wholly the work of Peebles, Buchan and Kemp. In many cases, however, Millar seems to have made ‘composite’ pieces by taking phrases from different settings and fitting them together (sometimes even transposing the parts) to form a more or less pleasing whole. This perhaps helps to explain Millar’s further comment in the preface: ‘collecting all the sets I could find on the Psalmes, after painfull tryall thereof, I selected the best for this work, according to my simple judgement’. In other sections of the book, certain settings of Common Tunes and psalms ‘in reports’, new to the ...


(b Narbonne, bap. Dec 25, 1711; d Belleville, Oct 8, 1772). French composer, violinist and conductor. With Jean-Philippe Rameau, he was one of the outstanding figures of French music in the 18th century. He probably received his musical education from his father, who was organist of Narbonne Cathedral. In 1731 he settled in Paris and made his début as a violinist at the Concert Spirituel on Palm Sunday 1734, on which occasion the Mercure de France praised him for his virtuosity. At about this time he also published his first collections of instrumental music, a set of violin sonatas op.1 (1733) and the Sonates en trio op.2 (1734). He was first violin in the Concert de Lille when, in 1738, he published Les sons harmoniques op.4, a set of violin sonatas with an introduction setting out, for the first time, the technique of playing harmonics on the violin by lightly touching an open string. On ...