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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

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

Vernon Gotwals

(b Westcliff, Essex, March 29, 1906; d Boston, March 10, 1977). American organist of English birth. He studied at the RAM in London. After touring the USA in 1929 as the soloist in an ensemble, he took up residence there in 1930 and became an American citizen in 1937, initially holding church and teaching positions before embracing a career as a recitalist, broadcaster and recording artist that did much to popularize the concert organ and organ music as well as the artist. From 1942 to 1958 he broadcast weekly solo programmes over a nationwide radio network. Originating in the Germanic (now Busch-Reisinger) Museum at Harvard University, these recitals on an Aeolian-Skinner ‘classic style’ organ brought the sound of organ mixtures, mutations and Baroque reeds, as well as the music itself, to many listeners for the first time. Biggs was meanwhile an indefatigable public performer. A product of both activities was the extensive series of recordings, made in the USA and in many European cities, including the ‘Historic Organs of England’, the ‘Mozart Organ Tour’ and the award-winning ‘The Glory of Gabrieli’, the Handel organ concertos (recorded at Great Packington), various Bach projects, and others with instrumental ensembles. Biggs published editions of early music and performed new works (by Hanson, Piston, Quincy Porter, Sowerby and others, with particular emphasis on those for organ and orchestra). His career was marked, then, by interest in organ music of all eras and in many kinds of organs most suitable to its interpretation, and by unfailing energy in performance. He played with most major American orchestras, and in ...

Article

Malcolm Turner

(b Wigan, Sept 15, 1890; d Aylesbury, May 24, 1979). English organist and educationist. He was a pupil of and assistant organist to Bairstow at Leeds (1907–12), and took the BMus (1908) and DMus (1914) degrees at Durham University, becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists in 1909. His first important post, suborganist at Manchester Cathedral (1912–15), was interrupted by war service, after which he was organist at St Michael’s College, Tenbury (1919), and organist and choirmaster of Exeter Cathedral (1919–27). On Nicholson’s retirement from Westminster Abbey in 1928, Bullock succeeded him as organist and Master of the Choristers. In this post he was obliged to provide the music for several royal functions; for the coronation of King George VI (1937) he wrote the fanfares and conducted the choir and orchestra, in acknowledgment of which he was created CVO. He also provided all but one of the fanfares for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II (...

Article

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, ...

Article

Walter Blankenburg

[Niklas]

(b Altdorf, nr Nuremberg, 1500; d Joachimsthal [now Jáchymov], West Bohemia, May 15, 1561). German writer of hymn texts and melodies. From 1518 to 1560 he was schoolmaster, organist and Kantor in Joachimsthal. Johann Matthesius, Luther’s first biographer and headmaster of the Latin school there from 1532, was also, until 1565, minister of the church; Herman was associated with him both as a close friend and as a colleague, and thus came into contact with the Reformation from an early date. As early as 6 November 1524 Luther wrote to him as ‘viro pio et erudito’. Herman’s importance lies in his hymns, which were published in several volumes. He wrote both text and music, but most melodies are used for several texts. His poems are rhymed syllabic verses with no fixed metre. His Sunday Gospels, which retell Bible stories in rhymed stanzas, remained models for a succession of works of the same type well into the 17th century. In his endeavours to express Christian beliefs in the form of hymns Herman’s texts are close to those of Luther. Though never attaining the poetic force of the latter’s work, many have retained their place in the standard German Lutheran hymn repertory: above all ‘Lobt Gott, ihr Christen alle gleich’, ‘Erschienen ist der herrlich Tag’, ‘Die helle Sonn leucht jetzt herfür’, ‘Hinunter ist der Sonnen Schein’ and ‘Wenn mein Stündlein vorhanden ist’. Many of his melodies show clear affinities with folk music: in particular the traditions of ...

Article

Vernon Gotwals

(b Eureka, CA, Aug 18, 1905; d Philadelphia, PA, June 1, 1983). American organist. A pupil of Farnam (1924–7), he made his début at Town Hall, New York, in 1926 and graduated from the Curtis Institute in 1934. His career was closely tied to three institutions; from 1927 to 1971 he was organist and choirmaster at Second (later combined with First) Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia; from 1935 to 1972 he was head of the organ department at the Curtis Institute; and from 1940 to 1965 he held the same post at Westminster Choir College, Princeton. His performances and teaching influenced many young recitalists and church musicians. His wife, Flora Greenwood, a harpist whom he married in 1932, often joined him in recitals. To a splendid innate musical ability he added the attention to rhythm, accuracy, and colorful registration that had been the special marks of Farnam’s playing. He published articles in ...

Article

Vernon Gotwals

(b Heron Lake, MN, Sept 18, 1897; d New York, Sept 22, 1960). American organist and educator. The son of a Methodist minister, he received the BM degree from the American Conservatory in Chicago in 1920 and the BA from Northwestern University in 1924. He also studied with Wilhelm Middelschulte, Lynnwood Farnam, T. Tertius Noble, and Nadia Boulanger, and at Union Theological Seminary (MSM 1930, DSM 1944). He taught at Northwestern, the Juilliard School, New York University, the Mannes College, and, from 1931, the School of Sacred Music of Union Theological Seminary. In 1945 he became director there, following Clarence Dickinson, and was Clarence and Helen Dickinson Professor from 1947 until his death. Porter toured as a recitalist, served in many churches (including the Collegiate Church of St Nicholas in New York), and was organist for several years at the Chautauqua Institution. He and his wife, Ethel K. Porter, were the music editors of the ...

Article

William Osborne

(b Culworth, Northamptonshire, England, Dec 15, 1869; d Berkeley, CA, Dec 8, 1937). American organist of English birth. He was awarded a degree by Queen’s College, Oxford, and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists in 1890. From 1882 to 1886 he was organist and music instructor at the Magdalen College School, Brackley. In Oxford he served as organist of St George’s (1887–9) and Sts Mary and John (1889–93), organist of Queen’s College (1886–93) and choirmaster of All Saints’, Warwick (1893–4). Sabin then immigrated and settled in San Francisco, where he held appointments at St Luke’s Episcopal Church (1894–1906), Temple Emanu-El (1896–1937) and First Church of Christ, Scientist (1906–37). He became a Fellow of the American Guild of Organists in 1899. He played at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St Louis (...

Article

Karl-Ernst Bergunder

[Nikolaus]

(b Erfurt, Aug 31, 1609; d Erfurt, April 5, 1680). German writer on music and organist. He spent his whole life at Erfurt. He attended the St Michael Lateinschule until 1621, when he transferred to the Protestant Ratsgymnasium, which was at that time noted for its fostering of music. One of his teachers there was Liborius Capsius, director of the collegium musicum and an important Erfurt University professor. He matriculated at the university in 1626, took his bachelor’s degree in 1628 and became a Master of Philosophy in 1629. He then became organist at the Protestant Thomaskirche and at the Catholic church of the Neuwerk monastery. From 1632 to 1635 he was Kantor and teacher at the Protestant school of preaching and also studied theology. In 1635 he was ordained and became deacon (in 1638 pastor) of the Kaufmannskirche in succession to Joseph Bötticher, who had won a good reputation as a musician. In ...

Article

William Osborne

(b Maikammer, Bavaria, Nov 9, 1819; d Norwalk, CT, May 14, 1907). American educator and organist of German birth. Trained in Speyer and Kaiserslauten, he then worked as a school principal in Landstuhl and as organist of the Speyer Cathedral. He left Germany during the upheavals of the 1840s and settled in New Haven, where at first he taught privately. In 1855 Stoeckel was appointed “Instructor of Vocal Art, Organist, and Chapelmaster” at Yale University, where remained until retirement in 1896; Yale conferred an honorary doctorate on Stoeckel in 1864. He organized a college choir, a Beethoven Glee Club (for which he provided many arrangements), and a New Haven Philharmonic Society (chiefly for the performance of Beethoven symphonies). He also co-founded a Mendelssohn Society (for the presentation of that composer’s oratorios) and in 1879 mounted a Beethoven Festival, which included performances of both the Ninth Symphony and Fidelio...

Article

Richard Jackson

revised by James H. Cook

(b London, 1779; d New York, July 15, 1875). American organist of English birth. He is said to have studied with William Russell and John Whitaker. He was an organist in London before immigrating to New York about 1806, where he became organist of various Episcopal churches, including Christ Church, St. Paul’s, and Grace Church. He moved to Boston in December 1818; there he was a private teacher and organist of the Handel and Haydn Society and at West Church. Returning to New York about 1823, he again taught privately and was organist a various Episcopal churches in Manhattan and Brooklyn. On his death at the age of 96, an obituary in the New York Times called him the oldest organist in the world. He died deaf and blind. Taylor published several sentimental songs in the popular idiom, one collection, The Uranian Harmony (1823, comp. with John Hart), and one organ method, ...

Article

Bernarr Rainbow

(fl 1833–56). English organist and pioneer of school music. Music in schools, virtually dead in England since the abolition of the song and monastic schools at the Reformation, began its long period of recovery during the decade immediately following the passing of the first Reform Act (1832). Turner's Manual of Instruction in Vocal Music (1833) was the earliest music textbook published for use in English schools. Ostensibly designed to bring about the improvement of congregational psalmody, it was also meant to exert a wider civilizing effect on the industrial population.

Little is known of Turner’s life; but he wrote as an experienced teacher whose book was presented to the public ‘not as an experiment for the first time tried, but as the result of long experience’. Music master at the Westminster Day Training College for Teachers, Turner was also organist and choirmaster at St Stephen’s Church, Avenue Road, St John’s Wood (since demolished), where one of his choristers, L.C. Venables (...

Article

N. Lee Orr

(b Woodstock, VT, June 4, 1842; d Brattleboro, VT, d Aug 3, 1914). American organist. After studying organ with local teachers he became a student of John Knowles Paine in Boston and later taught organ at the New England Conservatory. In 1871 he became organist/choirmaster at the Church of the Advent in Boston, working for 26 years as one of the early advocates of the choral excellence and liturgical propriety exemplified by the growing Oxford Movement in England. He also led one of the first boy choirs in the United States and established one of the first English Cathedral Services in this country. With J. C. D. Parker and others he founded and directed the Massachusetts Choir Festival Association and led many choral festivals throughout New England. Along with Dudley Buck and Paine he was among the first organists to introduce the organ works of Bach to American audiences. He was also a founder of the American Guild of Organists....

Article

Jamie C. Kassler

(b Stockton-on-Tees, Sept 18, 1763; d Wycliffe Rectory, nr Barnard Castle, Nov 24, 1829). English musician and inventor . Wright was instructed in music by his father, Robert, by John Garth and, as an articled apprentice, by Thomas Ebdon. On expiration of his articles about 1784, he succeeded Garth as organist at Sedgefield. In 1794 he married Elizabeth Foxton and set to music her operetta, Rusticity. In the ‘Advertisement’ to his Concerto for Harpsichord or Pianoforte (London, c1796), he promoted his invention of a pendulum for keeping musical time as more practicable than the timekeepers of Loulié, Sauveur and others. A model of the invention, owned by Wright’s granddaughter, Miss Edith Wright of Wakefield, was seen by Frank Kidson, when compiling his article for Grove’s Dictionary (3rd edn). In 1797 Wright succeeded his father as organist at Stockton. In 1817 he was organist at Kirkleatham near Redcar; but sometime after he returned to Stockton and remained there as organist, teacher and composer until his death....