(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 ...
revised by Nym Cooke
(b Norwich, CT, March 22, 1762; d Philadelphia, cSept 30, 1793). American singing teacher, concert organizer and tune book compiler. In 1783 he assisted Andrew Law in a Philadelphia singing school. Later he worked in the city as a wool-card manufacturer and merchant; he was a volunteer in the citizens’ committee organized during Philadelphia’s yellow-fever epidemic of 1793, and died of that disease. In 1784 he opened an ‘Institution for the Encouragement of Church Music’, later reorganizing it as the Uranian Academy. Adgate presented many concerts during the mid- to late 1780s, most notably a ‘Grand Concert’ on 4 May 1786, at which works by Handel, James Lyon, William Billings, William Tuckey and others were performed by 230 choristers and an orchestra of 50. Adgate’s first known compilation is an anthology of sacred texts: Select Psalms and Hymns for the Use of Mr. Adgate’s Pupils (Philadelphia, 1787...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
(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 ...
Edward H. Tarr
(b Weissenfels, June 15, 1734; d Bitterfeld, May 14, 1801). German trumpeter, organist and teacher. Son of Johann Caspar Altenburg, he was sworn into apprenticeship by his father at two years of age and was released from his articles as a trumpeter 16 years later. Because of the decline of Baroque social order, however, he was never able to find a position as a trumpeter. He became a secretary to a friend of his father's, a royal Polish stablemaster, then studied the organ and composition with Johann Theodor Römhild in Merseburg until 1757 and (briefly) with Bach's son-in-law, Johann Christoph Altnickol, in Naumburg. In 1757 he joined the French army as a field trumpeter and participated in the Seven Years War, then travelled to various German states, returning to Weissenfels in 1766. In 1767 he found a position as an organist in Landsberg, and in 1769 in the then small village of Bitterfeld. He auditioned unsuccessfully for better positions and died embittered and impoverished....
Roger J.V. Cotte
[Atis; first name unknown]
(b St Domingue [now Haiti], April 18, 1715; d Paris, Aug 8, 1784). French creole flautist, composer and teacher. His skill as a flute virtuoso and teacher made him renowned in Paris and Vienna, but his concert career was cut short by a chin wound received in a pistol duel. He was among the first flautists to use crescendo and diminuendo instead of simple echo contrasts. His compositions, all published in Paris, are primarily intended for amateur flautists: they include duos ‘en forme de conversation’ op.1 (...
(b c1720; d Paris, c1798). French publisher, composer and teacher. On 27 April 1765 he took over the music publishing house known as A la Règle d’Or, which comprised businesses once owned by Boivin, Ballard and Bayard. During some 30 years he issued many works by both French and foreign composers, the latter including not only early masters like Corelli and Vivaldi, but also some of those who were influential in the development of the emerging Classical school: Carl Stamitz, Haydn, Piccinni, Paisiello, Cimarosa, Boccherini and Clementi. French composers included Gossec, Davaux, Monsigny and Brassac, and some of the earlier generation, Lully, Lalande and Campra. One of his major publications was the Journal d’ariettes des plus célèbres compositeurs, comprising 240 works issued in 63 volumes (scores and parts) from 1779 to 1788. Bailleux’s adoption of the royal privilege granted to the Ballard family led to his imprisonment during the Terror. He was released after the coup d'état of 9 Thermidor (...
Peter Ward Jones
(fl London c1750–1780). English composer and singing teacher. In a court case in 1763, he was accused, probably unjustly, of attempting to sell his pupil, the singer Ann Catley, to Sir Francis Blake Delavel for immoral purposes. He wrote much music for the theatres and pleasure gardens of London and was evidently in considerable demand, judging by the number of his publications, though he was not mentioned by any contemporary writer on music. The quality of his works is generally mediocre, with much facile writing in parallel 3rds. They range in style from the Baroque idioms still present in the early Six Sonatas to the deliberate imitation of the Mannheim orchestral style in the overtures to Pharnaces and The Theatrical Candidates.
all first performed and published in London
Philip H. Peter
(b c1729; d London, Aug 3, 1798). English bassoonist and teacher, probably of German birth. He was in England at least as early as 1750, when he was elected a member of the Royal Society of Musicians. In 1754 and 1758 he took part in the Foundling Hospital performances of Messiah. He played at the Three Choirs festivals in Gloucester in 1763, Worcester in 1764 and Hereford in 1765 and was among the four principal bassoonists at the Handel Commemoration in Westminster Abbey in 1784 and in subsequent years; he was also bassoonist at the King’s Theatre between 1760 and 1785. He appeared in concert at the Pantheon as late as 1790–91. Baumgarten’s name occurs for the last time in the membership book of the Royal Society of Musicians in 1792, after which he retired to Hampstead. The fourth of his 12 children, Charlotte, was the mother of Cipriani Potter; there is no evidence that he was related to Karl Friedrich Baumgarten....
revised by Undine Wagner
[Anton Franz; Franz Anton]
(b Mladá Boleslav, Bohemia, April 9, 1754; d Berlin, May 15, 1823). Czech composer, pianist and teacher, grandfather of Carl Ferdinand Pohl. He attended the Piarist college at Kosmonosy (1767–74) where he probably received his first musical education. Later he studied music in Prague with Kuchař and became organist at the Minorite church of St Jakub (c1777). Having left for Germany, he worked in Brunswick (c1779–96) as organist of the Hauptkirche and Kapellmeister to the duke. Thereafter he spent several years in Bamberg as a piano teacher. About 1799 he settled in Berlin, again as a private music teacher, and remained there until his death. The Berlin newspapers (Königlich privilegierte Berlinische Zeitung, later Vossische Zeitung, and Berlinische Nachrichten von Staats- und Gelehrten Sachen, later Spenersche Zeitung, 1799–1823) provide some evidence that he was also active in public music-making. In ...
revised by David Warren Steel
(b Framingham, MA, Feb 9, 1771; d Pawtucket, RI, Oct 31, 1815). American composer, tunebook compiler, and singing master. The son of Jeremiah Belknap Jr. and Hepzibah Stone, he grew up in Framingham, where he received a common-school education. He then worked as a farmer, mechanic, and militia captain, and taught singing-schools from the age of 18. Around 1800 he married Mary Parker, with whom he had five children by 1809. In 1812 he and his family moved to Pawtucket, where he died of a fever.
Most of his 86 known compositions were first printed in his own tunebooks, an exception being his most widely published piece, “Lena,” which was introduced in The Worcester Collection (Boston, 5/1794). His ambitious Masonic ode, “A View of the Temple,” was sung at the installation of the Middlesex Lodge of Framingham in 1795. Belknap’s The Harmonist’s Companion (Boston, 1797), a brief 32-page collection, contains only his own compositions, which are written in an American idiom untouched by European-inspired reform. His later compilations, ...
Cynthia M. Gessele and Jean Gribenski
(b Dauendorf, Bas-Rhin, March 26, 1739; d London, after 1808). French theorist and teacher. After obtaining degrees in philosophy (1760) and law (1762) from the University of Strasbourg, he established himself in Paris in 1766 and began to study music. In 1769 he met Diderot, whose daughter became his harpsichord and harmony student. His first work, Leçons de clavecin, et principes d’harmonie, was a tremendously successful dialogue-form treatise, which was edited and endorsed by Diderot. He continued publishing pedagogical works in French until he left Paris in 1781, moving to London, where he taught music and expanded, re-edited and translated his earlier works. He also wrote on music education, mathematics, philosophy and ethics.
In his writings Bemetzrieder emphasized the importance of improvisatory skills in combination with contemporary continuo practice. In his later works he developed these ideas in a four-stage pedagogical process which comprised the art of reading music, accompaniment, virtuoso performance and composition. He saw composition as the creative application of an analytical process of ‘decomposition’, which used grammatical models for phrase structure and a reductive harmonic signifier called the ...
(b Malta, fl 1780–?1792). Italian singing teacher of Belgian parentage. He was living in Rome about 1780, the year in which he published there his Principj di musica teorico-prattica. After a short stay in Paris he moved to London, where in 1781 a completely rewritten and much condensed second edition appeared as Principj della musica (in which he called Malta his homeland). In 1782 he produced an Extract of the Work entitled ‘Principles of Music’, including some new material. Fétis praised the author for his ‘knowledge and erudition’ and his work as ‘a rather estimable collection of good critical and historical observations’, but held that it did not fulfil its function as an elementary method for music students. Bertezen also published in London Four Songs and Two Duetts (?1783) and Six Songs. A letter by him is in the Bologna Conservatory library. A Salvatore Bertezen died in France in ...
(b Boston, Oct 7, 1746; d Boston, Sept 26, 1800). American composer and teacher of choral singing. The son of a Boston shopkeeper also named William Billings, he was apprenticed to a tanner following elementary schooling and worked in the leather trade on and off for much of his life. His primary musical education probably came in singing schools (class instruction in music reading and choral singing). In composition he is thought to have been largely self-taught, learning his craft by studying the tune books and choral works of English psalmodists, such as William Tans'ur, Aaron Williams, John Arnold and Uriah Davenport. Later in his career he may also have had some help in the techniques of modulation from Hans Gram, a Danish immigrant musician in Boston.
Billings began teaching singing schools in the Boston area as early as 1769 and quickly gained a high reputation that led him, by ...
(b Exeter, 1754; d ?Tours, ?1832). English composer and music teacher. He described himself as a ‘Harpsichord and Singing Master’. His brother James, a double-bass player, was the husband of Elizabeth Billington: another brother, Horace, was an artist of some repute. He was a chorister at Exeter Cathedral and was admitted to the Society of Musicians on 6 April 1777. On 6 May 1783 he sang catches and glees at Covent Garden alongside Reinhold and Champness. He sang in the Handel Commemoration in 1784 and from 1790 to 1792 took part in the annual charity concerts for the clergy at St Paul’s Cathedral. He lived and taught for most of his career at 24 Charlotte Street, Rathbone Place, and moved to Sunbury, Middlesex, in 1824. Although the Gentleman’s Magazine for April 1832 mentions the death in Tunis of ‘Thomas Billington, late of Sunbury’, his place of death was probably Tours. His will, which was signed ...
(b ?London, c1770; d ?London, c1820). English music teacher and composer. The advertisements in his various publications show that he worked as a music teacher in London from the 1790s to about 1820. He advertised: ‘Ladies Instructed in Singing, with Accompaniment on the Piano Forte, Lute and Lyre – also Pupils Instructed for the Stage’. He composed many songs, of which those in The Village Fete (c 1810) enjoyed particular popularity. His Treatise on Singing (1810, 2/1812) contains ‘anatomical observations by John Hunter on the management and delivery of the voice’. He wrote a three-page Instructions for the Tambourine (published in Joseph Mazzinghi’s Twelve Airs for the Pianoforte with Accompaniments for a Flute and Tambourine, 1799) and published collections of piano music: marches, rondos and other movements with percussion accompaniment (op.7, 1799), and airs, marches, dances and hymns (c 1806)....
(b Vernon, Eure, March 31, 1722; d after 1779). French violinist, composer and teacher. He was the son of Nicole Picot and Antoine Branche, a dancing-master and possibly the musician who was active in Lyons in 1732. In 1748 Branche dedicated his Première livre de sonates à violon seul et basse (Paris) to his patron, the Marquis de Caraman. The following year he was first violinist at the Comédie-Française, playing with, among others, Piffet, Chartier, Perrin, Sénéchal and Blondeau until his retirement in 1764. He continued to teach the violin until 1779 after which his name no longer appears. He had contemporaries with the same surname: a first violinist in a 1767 concert at Orleans, and a woman who in 1771 published a book of airs and a sonata for harpsichord; it is not clear whether they were related.
Although the accompaniment to Branche’s Concerto à violon principal...
David L. Crouse
revised by David W. Music
(b Tennessee, Oct 13, 1792; d Franklin, TN, Oct 18, 1859). American singing-school teacher and tunebook compiler. Nothing is known of his early activities or training, but by 1817 Carden was an established singing-school teacher in the Tennessee area. He taught a singing school in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1820, but probably returned to Tennessee shortly thereafter. In September 1822, Carden advertised a singing school in Nashville; he apparently continued to live in the Nashville area until 1850, when he moved to Williamson County (probably Franklin). His first tunebook, The Missouri Harmony, “published by the compiler” in St. Louis but printed in Cincinnati (1820, 2/1850/R 1975, 1994; modern revision, 2005), was the most popular fasola shape-note tunebook of the South and West until the Civil War, achieving at least 24 editions and reprints through 1857; however, Carden seems to have given up his interest in the book after the first edition, and subsequent issues were apparently the work of the Cincinnati printers. Carden procured shape-note music type and published two more tunebooks himself: ...