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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....


(b Naples, 1717 (?); d Naples, after July 28, 1778). Italian harpsichordist, composer, and maestro di cappella. Son of Giuseppe D’Alessandro, Gennaro studied with Leonardo Leo, according to tenor Anton Raaff. Fétis’ statement that D’Alessandro was born in 1717 is unsourced. On August 21, 1739 he was hired as maestro di coro at Venice’s Ospedale della Pietà, a position he retained until May 13, 1740. He was the first in a distinguished cohort of Neapolitan choirmasters who served at the Pietà during the 18th century, following a local trend started in 1726 by Nicola Porpora at the Ospedale degli Incurabili.

Of the sacred music D’Alessandro composed for the Pietà only incomplete vocal partbooks of a Miserere and a Missa brevis survive in the Fondo Correr of the Conservatorio ‘Benedetto Marcello’ in Venice, bearing the names of the soprano (Michielina) and the alto (Placida) among the figlie di coro...


Robert Thompson

(bap. Oxford, May 24, 1688; bur. Oxford, Jan 7, 1741). English organist and music copyist, son of Richard Goodson. He was baptized at the church of St Cross. He succeeded his father as professor of music at Oxford and as organist of Christ Church. Goodson was listed as choirboy at Christ Church from 1699 to 1707 and as singing-man from 1712 to 1718; Thomas Ford ( GB-Ob MS Mus.e.17) stated that he was appointed organist of Newbury on 24 August 1709. He matriculated on 3 March 1714 and graduated BMus on 1 March 1717. A number of manuscripts in Christ Church and the Bodleian Library, Oxford, contain music copied by him, but he does not appear to have been a composer, unless two anonymous works in his hand – an act song, Festo quid potius die ( Ob MS Mus.Sch.C.143, Och Mus 37, 1142b), and an incomplete Ode for St Cecilia's Day, ...


( b Schwäbisch Hall, Oct 16, 1689; d Schwäbisch Hall, May 22, 1768). German organist and writer on music . He began organ lessons at the age of nine with Baur, organist of St Katharina; after completing the curriculum of the local Gymnasium, he was a municipal clerk in neighbouring towns, returning later to his native city first as district clerk and then as city clerk, also becoming in 1724 Kantor and organist of St Katharina. Majer wrote two musical instruction manuals, Hodegus musicus (Schwäbisch Hall, 1718; lost) and the important Museum musicum theoretico practicum (Schwäbisch Hall, 1732/R, 2/1741; Majer’s annotated copy is in D-Sl ). It is the latter which establishes him among the significant writers on music in the late Baroque. The Museum musicum aims to give students self-instruction in the elementary concepts of musical notation (musica signatoria) and in the techniques of playing most instruments, including the recorder, chalumeau, flute, oboe, bassoon, cornett, flageolet, clarinet, clarino, horn, trombone, various keyboard instruments, lute, harp, timpani, violin and the viols. His explicit fingering and position charts for each of these instruments provides an unusually clear picture of German Baroque instrumental practice. A succinct introduction to the thoroughbass practice is also informative. Very little of Majer’s short work seems to be original. He said the thoroughbass material was taken from an anonymous work of ...


Watkins Shaw

revised by Donald Burrows

( bc 1715; d Westminster, April 4, 1737). English organist . He was a chorister in the Chapel Royal under Croft, after whose death he had lessons from Thomas Roseingrave. He had benefit concerts in May 1735 and April 1736: in the second, at Stationers’ Hall, he played an organ solo. On ...


Cecil Adkins

(b Goslar, 1666; d after 1726). German organist and theoretician . He was educated at the monastery at Hamersleben, where he was later organist. In 1727 he is known to have been the organist at the church of St Wiperti in Quedlinburg.

Meckenheuser’s one known work, Die sogenannte: Allerneueste, musicalische Temperatur (Quedlinburg, 1727), expounds a temperament based on an arithmetical division of the ditonic (Pythagorean) comma. Although seven of the 12 notes of the octave are slightly sharp, the division produces an adequate equal temperament. Meckenheuser, however, encountered difficulties in the practical application of his temperament. Adlung recounted a disastrous episode experienced by Meckenheuser when he tried to tune the organ at Goslar to his monochord: a fault not of the temperament, but of technique. The treatise was directed with considerable bitterness at Mattheson, who Meckenheuser claimed knew nothing of calculation and even less of musical temperament.

J. Adlung...


Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

(b London, Feb 11, 1741; d Somers Town, London, Sept 28, 1815). English bass and organist, son of Henry Theodore Reinhold. He was a boy chorister at St Paul’s under William Savage, and as ‘Master Reinhold’ he sang on stage from 1752, creating Oberon in J.C. Smith’s The Fairies in February 1755. He was a bass in the chorus for the Foundling Hospital Messiah in 1758 and that summer scored a success at Marylebone Gardens in an English version of Pergolesi’s La serva padrona, also playing an organ concerto at his benefit. For two years he had small roles at Drury Lane and returned to Marylebone in the summer to sing in burletta operas. He went with the Gardens burletta company to Norwich in autumn 1760, and that November became organist of St Peter's Church, Colchester, advertising himself as a teacher of harpsichord, guitar, violin and singing. He performed in the summer season at the Haymarket Theatre, London, in ...