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Article

Simon Towneley and Derek McCulloch

[Bertie, Willoughby]

(b Gainsborough, Jan 16, 1740; d Rycote, Sept 26, 1799). English music patron, composer, and political writer. He was educated at Westminster and Oxford (MA 1761) and spent several years in Europe. In Geneva (1765) he met Grétry, who wrote a flute concerto for him based on the improvisations he had played to Grétry to demonstrate his prowess. He spent time in Geneva with the exiled politician John Wilkes and met Voltaire in nearby Ferney. From the mid 1770s he was much involved in the musical and political life of Britain. He was brought into close contact with J.C. Bach and C.F. Abel through his brother-in-law Giovanni Gallini, who was concerned in the organization of the Bach-Abel subscription concerts, which the Earl is said to have subsidized. At his request, Abel composed Four Trios: Two for Two Flutes and a Bass op.16 and J.C. Bach is the author of one of two trios composed for the earl, ‘selected’ and published by Monzani in about ...

Article

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

(b c1758; d Torquay, March 8, 1821). English soprano and composer. She made her début in October 1775 as the little gypsy in May Day, a piece designed for her by Garrick with music by her teacher Thomas Arne. However, she had limited success as a stage personality and in 1780 she left Drury Lane to become a principal singer at fashionable London concerts and provincial festivals. She appeared in the Handel Commemoration concerts in 1784, when Burney praised the sweetness and taste of her singing, in the next three Handel festivals, the Concerts of Ancient Music, and concert series organized by Rauzzini, Ashley and Salomon. Her sister Theodosia (d Torquay, 4 Nov 1849), whose voice Mount-Edgcumbe described as the most beautiful contralto he ever heard, often sang with her. In 1783, the Public Advertiser, while admiring Harriett's solo singing, commented that the ‘Forte...

Article

(b Rome, Aug 28, 1739; d Rome, Aug 13, 1818). Italian composer. Breitkopf’s 1785–7 catalogue records his name as Agosti, and this led both Gerber and Eitner to list him also under that name. A. Fuchs recorded his dates of birth and death, and his studies with Rinaldo di Capua, on the title-page of a Recordare virgo by Accorimboni; in his memoirs the abbot Lucantonio Benedetti noted that Accorimboni’s opera Il marchese di Castelverde drew a large crowd of noblemen ‘because the composer also belonged to the patrician class’. Between 1768 and 1786 he wrote several operas, all but one of them comic, and he is also known to have composed several religious pieces. His Il regno delle Amazzoni enjoyed particular success, with restagings in Bologna, Florence, Genoa and Prague. Martinotti mentioned a cantata composed for the return of Pope Pius VII which led to an appointment (apparently refused) to the Württemberg court....

Article

Robin Langley

(b c1749; d after 1794). English composer, organist and cellist. According to his recommendation by Francis Hackwood to the Society of Musicians, on 1 February 1784 he was 35 years old, married with two children, organist of Brompton Chapel and a competent violinist, viola player and cellist. He performed as a cellist in the Handel commemoration concerts in 1784 and played in the band for the Academy of Ancient Music during the 1787–8 season. He probably also took part as a cellist in the concerts (held annually) at St Paul’s Cathedral for the relief of the clergy in 1785, 1789, 1790, 1793 and 1795.

From his extant published works it can be seen that Adams was a competent purveyor of small-scale vocal and instrumental works in the manner of Haigh, Osmond or Reeve. His music shows an awareness of changing styles: the early songs and canzonets accompanied either by harpsichord or orchestra with obbligato instrument are in the manner of Arne, giving way to a symphonic style like that of J.C. Bach or Hook in the three sonatas of op.4 (for piano or harpsichord with violin or flute accompaniment); his late sonata for piano duet shows some grasp of larger forms, and ...

Article

Almonte Howell

(b Algemesí, province of Valencia; fl 1775–87). Spanish composer and teacher. According to early biographers, he was organist at the Madrid royal chapel and the Convento de los Desamparados. He is best known for a small treatise, Documentos para instrucción de músicos y aficionados que intentan saber el arte de la composición (Madrid, 1786), whose stated purpose was to compensate for the lack of teaching materials on secular music in Spain. Quite elementary, it consists mostly of examples of counterpoint and free composition, and also gives the instrumental ranges. It was attacked in a satirical Carta laudatoria a don Vicente Adán (Madrid, 1786), to which Adán replied in Respuesta gratulatoria de la carta laudatoria (Madrid, 1787). Various 18th-century publishers’ lists and bibliographies indicate that many volumes of his compositions were printed in Madrid in the 1780s. Most of these were for the psaltery, which experienced a strong revival in the 18th century, although it had been known in Spain since the Moorish occupation. Adán’s compositions for this instrument include preludes, sonatas, divertimentos and fandangos as well as an instruction book; there is also evidence that he published organ works and vocal music, both sacred and secular. None of these other publications are extant, although one untitled piece of his for psaltery survives (in ...

Article

Christine de Catanzaro

(b Niederachen, nr Inzell, Upper Bavaria, Oct 1, 1729; d Salzburg, Dec 22, 1777). German composer and organist. His father, Ulrich Adlgasser (1704–56), was a teacher and organist. On 4 December 1744 he registered in the ‘Grammatistae’ class at Salzburg University, and in the same year he became a chorister at the Salzburg court chapel. His brothers Joseph (b 1732), later organist at Laufen, and Georg (b 1736) were also choirboys in Salzburg. While a student he sang and acted in several Schuldramen, including seven by J.E. Eberlin. He studied the organ and violin, and probably also received instruction in composition from Eberlin.

Adlgasser became court and cathedral organist in 1750, shortly after Eberlin’s promotion to the post of Hofkapellmeister. According to Leopold Mozart’s account of the Salzburg musical establishment (in Marpurg’s Historisch-kritische Beyträge, iii, 1757) Adlgasser’s duties also included the accompaniment of court chamber music on the harpsichord and composing for both the court and the cathedral. After ...

Article

Sven Hansell and Robert L. Kendrick

(b Milan, Oct 17, 1720; d Milan, Jan 19, 1795). Italian composer. As a girl she performed in her home while her elder sister Maria Gaetana (1718–99; she became a distinguished mathematician) lectured and debated in Latin. Charles de Brosses, who heard them on 16 July 1739 and was highly impressed, reported that Maria Teresa performed harpsichord pieces by Rameau and sang and played compositions of her own invention. Her first cantata, Il restauro d’Arcadia, was written in honour of the Austrian govenor Gian-Luca Pallavicini in Milan in 1747. In the following years, she sent La Sofonisba to Vienna for possible performance on Empress Maria Theresa’s nameday. At about this time she dedicated collections of her arias and instrumental pieces to the rulers of Saxony and Austria; according to Simonetti the Empress Maria Theresa sang arias that Agnesi had given her. She married Pier Antonio Pinottini on ...

Article

E. Eugene Helm

revised by Darrell Berg

(b Dobitschen, Saxe-Altenburg, Jan 4, 1720; d Berlin, Dec 2, 1774). German musicographer, composer, organist, singing master and conductor. His father occupied an important post as government agent and jurist in Dobitschen. Burney, who visited the Agricolas in 1772, reported that Johann Friedrich’s mother, born Maria Magdalena Manke, ‘was a near relation of the late Mr Handel, and in correspondence with him till the time of his death’; but later Handel research has failed to substantiate this claim.

Agricola began his study of music as a young child. In 1738 he entered the University of Leipzig, where he studied law; during this time he was a pupil of J.S. Bach and visited Dresden, where he heard performances of Passion oratorios and Easter music by Hasse. In 1741 he moved to Berlin, became a pupil of Quantz, made the acquaintance of C.P.E. Bach, C.H. Graun and other musicians, and embarked on a career that touched many aspects of Berlin’s musical life. He became keenly interested in music criticism and theoretical speculation in Berlin, and his work as a musicographer has proved to be his most lasting accomplishment. In ...

Article

Dieter Härtwig

(b Hettstedt, June 16, 1762; d Ballenstedt, Nov 27, 1797). German organist and composer, father of Albrecht Wilhelm Johann Agthe. He first learnt music with his grandfather Johann Michael Agthe, Kantor at the Rathsschule, and his great-uncle Andreas Agthe, a local organist; he later continued his musical studies as a choirboy and as a member of the local Stadtpfeiferei. From 1776 to 1782 he was director of music with the Hündelberg theatrical company in Reval (now Tallinn), where he composed his first Singspiele. He then moved to Ballenstedt to join the court orchestra of Prince Friedrich Albrecht of Anhalt-Bernburg as an organist and harpsichordist. There he became known as one of the best organists of his time and, after further studies with F.W. Rust, as an active composer of Singspiele, songs and instrumental pieces. His best-known work is a setting of Kotzebue’s Der Spiegelritter (1795), which was first performed by an amateur society in Ballenstedt and several times revived. Agthe himself undertook the publication of his only extant published works – two volumes of songs and a set of three easy keyboard sonatas....

Article

John A. Parkinson

revised by Simon McVeigh

[Joseph]

(b c1725; d ?April 1803). Italian composer and violinist. By 1748 he was in London, where his orchestral career lasted over half a century. He was particularly in demand as a composer of ballet music for the Italian opera, and by 1758 works by him were included in the anthology known as Hasse’s Comic Tunes. A selection from the eighth volume is entirely by him, and between 1768 and 1788 he published no fewer than seven further books of opera dances. In addition to publishing collections of his own vocal and instrumental music, Agus edited Six Favourite Overtures in 8 Parts (London, 1762) containing works by Cocchi, Galuppi, Jommelli and Graun. His sonatas and trios are fluent essays in the Tartini idiom, with judicious use of double stopping. However, public taste was best suited by his flair for brief but tuneful dance movements in a variety of styles, the tambourin being especially favoured....

Article

John A. Parkinson

revised by Simon McVeigh

(Francis)

(b 1749, d Paris, 1798). Italian violinist and composer. He was probably the son of Giuseppe Agus. Having studied the violin under Nardini in Italy, ‘Agus jr’ first appeared in London on 26 February 1773 at the Haymarket. In 1778 Blundell published his duets for two violins.

On 19 March 1778 he was found guilty at Kingston assizes of attempted rape upon his 11-year-old godchild, Elizabeth Weichsell, and as a result of this scandal he emigrated to France. He was appointed maître de solfège at the Paris Conservatoire in 1795, where he received a grant of 3000 livres from the National Council. He contributed to the collection of solfeggi issued under the Conservatoire’s auspices. Two collections of instrumental arrangements of catches and glees were published in England, and a set of trios in Paris, where Barbieri impudently republished his violin duets as Boccherini’s op.37.

Many errors in earlier editions of ...

Article

Dieter Härtwig

revised by Hildegard Surner

(b Regensburg, Feb 28, 1755; d Prague, Dec 20, 1810). German composer, writer and pianist. The daughter of Prince Alexander Ferdinand of Thurn and Taxis and his third wife Maria Henrietta Josepha, princess of Fürstenberg - Stühhugen, and a goddaughter of Empress Maria Theresa, she spent her early years at her father's court in Regensburg. In 1780 she married the Danish diplomat Count Ferdinand von Ahlefeldt-Langeland-Rixingen. In the following decade they lived at the court of the last Margrave of Ansbach, Karl Alexander, where she belonged to the circle of Lady Elizabeth Craven (later margravine) and was active in musical and literary spheres. In 1791, after the dissolution of the Ansbach court, Countess Ahlefeldt moved to Denmark with her husband, who was superintendent of the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen from 1792 to 1794. The couple later moved to Dresden (1798) and Prague (1800). Ahlefeldt came to public notice as a composer in both Ansbach and Copenhagen, having particular success with the four-act opera-ballet ...

Article

(b Albano Laziale, nr Rome, 1729; d Paris, 1800). French castrato and composer of Italian origin. Educated in Naples, he went to Paris in 1747 and soon found employment in the royal chapel of Louis XV. From 1752 to 1762 he was a prominent soloist in the Concert Spirituel, appearing frequently in performances of Pergolesi’s Stabat mater. He also performed duos with a pupil, Mlle Hardy (or Hardi), at these concerts. He apparently retired from public performance about 1764–5, and thereafter taught singing and composed solo songs and duos with various combinations of instrumental accompaniment. In 1774 he received a life pension of 2000 livres annually, equivalent to the total income from his royal appointments. His published works include several collections of airs for one or more voices (some in collaboration with Joseph Mongenot or with J.-G. Cardon and all but one published between 1767 and 1781), as well as some chamber music. He also wrote the music for two lyric scenes performed by the Petits Comédiens du Bois de Boulogne, ...

Article

Barbara Chmara-Żackiewicz

(b Pesaro, Nov 30, 1748; d Warsaw, March 27, 1812). Italian composer and conductor, active in Poland. The earliest reference to his activities in Warsaw dates from 12 April 1773, when King Stanisław August Poniatowski paid him a fee for a concert. From the middle of 1782 for about two years he was the king’s maître de chapelle, during which time his main duty was to direct concerts at both the Royal Castle and the Orangerie Theatre in the gardens of Łazienki Palace (both in Warsaw). On 17 September 1784 he conducted J.D. Holland’s opera Agatka at the court of Karol Radziwiłł in Nieśwież, and in the autumn of the same year he tried to promote an opera of his own in Vienna, but without much success. In 1785 he presented his opera Circe und Ulisses in Hamburg, and from about the middle of 1785 until the beginning of ...

Article

Alina Nowak-Romanowicz

[Gioacchino ]

(b Pesaro, Nov 30, 1748; d Warsaw, March 27, 1812). Polish composer of Italian birth . He was known as an aria composer and ‘young virtuoso’ in 1777. Later he was conductor at Prince Karol Radziwiłł’s residence at Nieśwież, and from 1782 maître de chapelle at King Stanisław August Poniatowski’s court in Warsaw. In 1796 he went to Rome, and in autumn 1803 was back in Poland, where he spent the rest of his life. He is principally known for his opera Don Juan albo Ukarany libertyn (‘Don Juan, or The Rake Punished’), believed to have been performed in Warsaw with an Italian text by G. Bertati in 1780–81; in 1783 it was performed in Polish, and it was later twice revised by Albertini for performances in 1790 and 1803.

Article

Howard Serwer

(b Görmar, nr Mühlhausen, Jan 8, 1732; d Mühlhausen, 1773). German writer on music and composer. He was a magister of philosophy, an honorary member of the German Society of Altdorf University, and an imperial poet laureate. His writings include an original work on theory, contributions to the current discussions of Rameau's theories which he favoured, and translations and editions of works of others. In addition, he published an important article on the state of music in Mühlhausen, two in defence of music in the church, and one on the German language. His compositions, consisting largely of sacred vocal works to his own texts, were mostly written for the Marienkirche in Mühlhausen, where he was Kantor and music director. They include a setting of the Passion and a yearly cycle of cantatas (texts published in 1764), as well as two published collections of keyboard and vocal pieces intended for students. Only a sacred song ...

Article

Robert N. Freeman

(b Klosterneuburg, nr Vienna, Feb 3, 1736; d Vienna, March 7, 1809). Austrian composer, teacher, theorist and organist. From the age of seven he served as a choirboy for the Augustinians in Klosterneuburg, where he learnt the organ and figured bass from the dean, Leopold Pittner. His studies in composition under G.M. Monn (if accurately reported by Albrechtsberger's pupil Johann Fuss) must have taken place during this period. As a student and choirboy at Melk Abbey from 1749 until 1754, he received a thorough training in composition and organ from Marian Gurtler, the regens chori, and Joseph Weiss, the abbey's organist. After a year of study at the Jesuit seminary in Vienna he worked as an organist in various provincial localities: Raab (now Győr, Hungary), 1755–7; Maria Taferl, near Melk, 1757–9; and Melk Abbey, 1759–65, where he succeeded his former teacher Weiss. His precise place of employment in ...

Article

Watkins Shaw and Peter Marr

(b London, April 11, 1715; d Lichfield, Feb 23, 1806). English organist and composer, father of John Alcock (ii). He was a chorister of St Paul’s Cathedral when, in his own words ( GB-Lcm 1189), he and Boyce were ‘Schoolfellows and Bedfellows’ under Charles King. Afterwards he was apprenticed to John Stanley. In the early years of the 18th century, growth in the number of organs in large provincial parish churches afforded new professional opportunities, and Alcock is an early example of an organist who reached a cathedral position through posts in parish churches – in his case St Andrew’s, Plymouth (1737), and St Laurence’s, Reading (1742). He was admitted vicar-choral and organist of Lichfield Cathedral in January 1750. He took the BMus degree at Oxford in 1755 and the DMus there in 1766. The cathedral documents fail to make clear exactly when he ceased to be organist, but this was certainly by ...

Article

Peter Marr

(b Plymouth, bap. Jan 28, 1740; d Walsall, bur. March 27, 1791). English organist and composer, eldest son of John Alcock (i). As a chorister under his father at Lichfield Cathedral, he deputized for him from the age of 12, and from 1758 to 1768 he was organist and master of the song school at Newark. In 1766 father and son both went to Oxford, the former to take the DMus degree and the latter the BMus degree which he gained with a setting of Pope’s Messiah (in GB-Ob ). His final appointment, at St Matthew’s, Walsall, followed in 1773, not long after his father had opened a new organ there. His published compositions include church music, songs and cantatas, together with convivial and instrumental music (including a duet for two bassoons or cellos). A volume of anecdotes, The Instructive and Entertaining Companion (Wolverhampton, 1779; ?unique copy in ...

Article

Robert Stevenson

(b Mexico City, 1758; d Mexico City, Feb 7, 1810). Mexican violinist and composer. As a boy, he studied at the Mexico City Cathedral Colegio de Infantes, a choir school where Nicolás Gil de la Torre taught him the violin. On 27 January 1775 the cathedral authorities appointed him a violinist in the cathedral orchestra at 200 pesos annually; on 12 January 1784 his yearly salary was raised from 300 to 400 pesos. In 1786 he was second violinist of the theatre orchestra at the Mexico City Coliseo, a post that conflicted with his cathedral duties to such an extent that on 9 January 1788 the chapter asked him to resign one post or the other. Choosing the Coliseo, he was in the 1790–91 season promoted to leader of the orchestra. In 1808 he headed the Mexico City choir school while still continuing as leader at the Coliseo....