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Article

Roxanne R. Reed

(b Anguilla, MS, March 21, 1919; d Hazel Crest, IL, 15 June, 1995). American gospel director, singer, composer, and publisher. Anderson established a career forming and training gospel groups in Chicago. His formative years were spent as one of the original Roberta Martin Singers, one of the premiere gospel groups of the 1930s and 1940s. He left briefly, between 1939 and 1941, to form the first of his many ensembles, the Knowles and Anderson Singers with R.L. Knowles. He rejoined Martin, but ultimately resigned because of the travel demands. In 1947 he formed Robert Anderson and his Gospel Caravan, but after several members left in 1952, he formed a new set of singers that recorded and performed under the name the Robert Anderson Singers through the mid-1950s. Throughout his career, Anderson recorded on a multitude of labels including Miracle and United with Robert Anderson and the Caravans; and later with the Robert Anderson Singers, on Apollo. Anderson wrote, and often sang lead on, many of the songs his groups performed, including “Why Should I Worry” (...

Article

Laurie J. Sampsel

(b Milton, MA, Feb 18, 1760; d French Mills, NY, Nov 23, 1813). American composer, singing master, singer, and tunebook compiler. Babcock lived most of his life in Watertown, MA, where he worked as a hatter. As a teenager he fought in the Revolutionary War, and he died while enlisted in the Army during the War of 1812. He was active primarily as a psalmodist during the period from 1790 to 1810. Babcock was the choir leader at the Watertown Congregational church, sang at and composed music for town events, and taught singing schools there in 1798 and 1804. He may also have been an itinerant singing master in the Boston area. Babcock composed 75 extant pieces, including anthems, set pieces, fuging tunes, psalm, and hymn tunes. Most of his music was first published in his own tunebook, Middlesex Harmony, which was published in two editions (1795...

Article

Ann Willison Lemke

[Bettine, Elisabeth]

(b Frankfurt, April 4, 1785; d Berlin, Jan 20, 1859). German writer, editor, publisher, composer, singer, visual artist and patron of young artists. Although known today primarily for her writing and her illustrious associates, Bettine was also a talented musician. She composed songs in a simple folk style, choosing texts by poets she knew and loved, including Goethe, Achim von Armin, and her brother, Clemens Brentano. She helped gather songs for Armin and Brentano’s influential collection Des Knaben Wunderhorn (1806–8) and decades later published a fourth volume based on their notes (ed. Ludwig Erk, 1854). From 1808 to 1809 she studied singing and composition with Peter von Winter and the piano with Sebastian Bopp in Munich. Her first two songs appeared under the pseudonym ‘Beans Beor’ (‘blessing I am blessed’) with Arnim’s literary works. After her crucial meeting with Beethoven in Vienna (May, 1810), she mediated between him and Goethe....

Article

(b Erie, PA, Dec 2, 1866; d Stamford, CT, Sept 12, 1949). American singer, composer, arranger, and music editor. His early music study included piano, voice, guitar, and bass viol. In January 1892 he won a scholarship at the National Conservatory of Music in New York. Among Conservatory faculty who influenced his career were Victor Herbert and Antonín Dvořák, director of the conservatory from September 1892 to April 1895. Burleigh became Dvořák’s copyist and librarian of the Conservatory orchestra, in which he played timpani and bass viol. He sang plantation songs and spirituals for Dvořák that he had learned from his grandfather, a former slave. Dvořák’s Symphony no.9 in E minor, “From the New World,” was written and premiered while Burleigh was at the Conservatory.

In New York Burleigh took his place among prominent African American singers such as soprano Sissieretta Jones (known as the Black Patti). In the years ...

Article

Rodney Slatford and Marita P. McClymonds

[Giovanni Battista; J.B.

(b Venice, 1761; d Bath, Feb 27, 1805). Italian composer, singer, violinist and music publisher. Born of a noble family, he studied the violin, cello and piano. In 1789 his Ati e Cibele, a favola per musica in two short scenes, was performed in Venice. This was soon followed by Pimmalione, a monodrama after Rousseau for tenor and orchestra with a small part for soprano, and Il ratto di Proserpina. Choron and Fayolle reported that, dissatisfied with Pimmalione, Cimador burnt the score and renounced composition. Artaria, however, advertised publication of the full score in 1791 in Vienna and excerpts were published later in London. The work achieved considerable popularity throughout Europe as a concert piece for both male and female singers, being revived as late as 1836. While still in Venice he wrote a double bass concerto for the young virtuoso Dragonetti; the manuscript survives, together with Dragonetti's additional variations on the final Rondo, which he evidently considered too short....

Article

Argia Bertini

revised by Giulia Anna Romana Veneziano

(b Florence, July 8, 1638; d Florence, Jan 16, 1703). Italian composer, teacher, music editor, theorist, organist and singer. He spent his entire life as a priest in Florence. On 1 August 1663 he was appointed chaplain at the cathedral, S Maria del Fiore, where he was also active as an organist and singer. He was particularly admired as a teacher, and it was this above all that determined the nature of his publications; the numerous reprints particularly of Il cantore addottrinato and Scolare addottrinato bear witness to the popularity of his methods. In these two manuals he sought to establish rules for the effective composition and performance of church music, contributing, according to his contemporaries, to the codification of the ‘true rule of ecclesiastical singing’. However, he is better remembered for his Corona di sacre canzoni and Colletta di laude spirituali, which have great importance for the final phase in the history of the ...

Article

Colin Timms

revised by Graham Dixon

(b Staffolo, nr Ancona, c1570–75; d ?Tivoli, in or after June 1644). Italian music editor, composer and singer, brother of Alessandro Costantini and uncle of Vincenzo Albrici. He served the Bishop of Aquila as a musician from boyhood and sang treble under Palestrina at S Pietro, Rome, where he remained as a tenor until 31 July 1610, having served as a singer at S Luigi dei Francesi in the middle of the decade. In 1610 and 1616 he directed festal music at S Giacomo degli Incurabili. He was maestro di cappella of Orvieto Cathedral from 1610 to 1614 and may have been in Naples when his op.2 was published there in 1615. By then he was in the service of Cardinal Aldobrandini, on whose recommendation he was made maestro di cappella of S Maria in Trastevere, a post he held from October 1615 to some time before ...

Article

Jerome Roche

[Johannes]

(b Veringenstadt, nr Sigmaringen, 1585; d Rottenburg am Neckar, 1654). German music editor, singer, teacher and composer. He studied at the University of Dillingen, one of the main cultural centres of south-west Germany, and in 1610 took a post as singer at St Martin, Rottenburg. This carried with it duties as a schoolteacher: in this capacity he became Rektor of the school in 1622 and in his musical capacity Kapellmeister of the church in 1627.

Donfrid is chiefly interesting as an editor who saw it as his task to propagate in Catholic southern Germany the best and most popular church music by Italian composers of his day. To this end he published five large anthologies at Strasbourg in the 1620s: the tripartite Promptuarii musici, consisting of motets arranged in a liturgical cycle, as had been done by other editors, such as Schadaeus, before him; the Viridarium, devoted to Marian pieces; and the ...

Article

Anne Dhu McLucas

(d Boston, Aug 3, 1834). American organist, singer, publisher and composer . He was probably of French origin, and may have emigrated to America from London. His first public concert appearances in the USA were in Philadelphia and Newport, Rhode Island, in 1793. In the same year he settled in Boston, where he served as church organist and sang and played in concerts. His reputation as a performer rested mainly on his singing of oratorios. In 1801, with Gottlieb Graupner and Filippo Trajetta, he established the first conservatory of music in the USA. The ‘Conservatorio’ or ‘musical academy’ in Rowe’s Lane operated only from 1801 to 1802; during this time Graupner and Mallet were publishing partners, issuing around 20 items. From 1803 to 1807 Mallet published music independently and was a distributor in Boston for the Philadelphia publishers Carr and Schetky; he also sold American and English pianos (...

Article

Charles K. Wolfe

(b nr West Monroe, LA, Aug 8, 1921; d Nashville, TN, Feb 24, 1991). American country-music singer, guitarist, songwriter, and publisher. He performed as a guitarist on radio station KMLB (Monroe, LA) before 1950, when he joined the “Louisiana hayride ” on KWKH (Shreveport, LA). Recording contracts with the local Pacemaker label (c1950), Four-Star, and Decca (1951) allowed him to resign his part-time job as a clerk at Sears, Roebuck and concentrate on music. After his initial hit, “Wondering” (1952), he gained national attention with “Back Street Affair” (1952), one of the first country songs to deal forthrightly with adultery. An equally important landmark was “There stands the glass” (1953), a classic drinking song and the first country hit to use the pedal steel guitar, played by Bud Isaacs. It became the favorite backup instrument in country music for the next two decades, and Pierce was the first of many country singers whose slurs, octave jumps, and use of dynamics complemented its sound. During his peak years (...

Article

Mel R. Wilhoit

(b Edinburg, PA, Aug 28, 1840; d Brooklyn, NY, Aug 13, 1908). American evangelistic singer, composer of gospel hymns, and hymnbook compiler. He rose to fame as music director for the evangelist Dwight L. Moody during a series of revival meetings held in England from 1873 to 1875. He popularized ‘singing the gospel’, in which he accompanied himself on a portable organ, performing the songs of Philip Phillips, Philip Bliss and William Bradbury, and making use of such effects as rubato and parlando delivery. He also directed the congregations in singing. Sankey became as effective a revivalist in song as was Moody in his sermons, elevating music to an equal role with preaching in evangelism.

In response to demands for the music used at their meetings, Sankey issued a 24-page pamphlet, Sacred Songs and Solos (London, 1873); this pamphlet eventually blossomed into a volume containing some 1200...

Article

Jean R. Freedman

[Margaret ]

(b New York, NY, June 17, 1935). American folksinger, songwriter, and folksong collector, daughter of musicologist charles Seeger and composer, educator, and folksong anthologist Ruth Crawford Seeger. Peggy learned piano, guitar, music theory, and transcription from her parents. With her brother mike Seeger , she learned banjo from a book written by their half-brother pete r. Seeger . She later became proficient on autoharp, Appalachian dulcimer, and English concertina. She made her first recording, Folk Songs of Courting and Complaint, while a student at Radcliffe College (1953–5). During the autumn of 1955, she studied at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. From 1956 to 1959 she traveled throughout Europe, the United States, Russia, and China before settling in England with folksinger, songwriter, and playwright Ewan MacColl [James Henry Miller] (1915–89), who became her musical partner, husband, and father of her children, Neill, Calum, and Kitty. With MacColl, she made more than 100 recordings of traditional Anglo-American ballads, political songs, love songs, work songs, and songs from literature. They frequently performed in folk clubs and concert halls, at festivals, on television, and in films. Seeger and MacColl felt that traditional music was a solid foundation on which the modern songwriter could build. They brought to their songwriting a political dimension, believing that folksongs represent the struggles of ordinary people whose lives are often ignored and whose creations are frequently slighted....

Article

Bruce Degen

(b Middleborough, MA, March 13, 1779; d Providence, RI, Dec 31, 1848). American composer, compiler, teacher, singer, organist and publisher. After accidental eye damage leading to blindness, he undertook musical studies with John L. Berkenhead, Gottlieb Graupner and Thomas Granger about 1800. In 1805 he established himself as a teacher of the piano and organ in Dedham, Massachusetts, where he began to issue his music in collaboration with Herman Mann. Moving to Providence in 1807, Shaw became a central figure in the city’s musical life as organist, organizer of bands and composer of songs, odes, anthems and marches for patriotic and civic occasions. His ‘Military Divertimento’, Welcome the Nation’s Guest, celebrated the visit of Lafayette to Providence in 1824.

Shaw sought to improve the quality of local sacred music, co-founding the Psallonian Society, and provided inspiration to the founding of the Boston Handel and Haydn Society in 1815...

Article

John Whenham

[Sylvestris, Floridus de]

(b Barbarano, nr Vicenza, early 17th century; d Rome, after 1673). Italian anthologist and editor of music, composer, singer and dramatist. He was a priest, who from about 1647 until at least 1654 was a bass in the choir of Santo Spirito in Sassia, Rome. In 1664 he held a similar position at S Giacomo degli Incurabili, Rome (the church in which he is buried). A manuscript inscription, ‘Floridus de Sylvestris à Barbr. [?]civ.s. [?]Bracc.ni. Dulcia cum flore hic Barbara Sylva Canit’, on the title-page of the copy of the alto partbook of Francesco Pasquali’s Madrigali, libro terzo (1627, in I-Bc ) may be of biographical significance; Pasquali’s book includes a madrigal, Fere barbare, for solo bass. Silvestris seems to have been an accomplished singer. The solo motet Aggrediamur iter vitae in one of his anthologies (RISM 1659¹), written for him by an unknown composer, contains virtuoso passage-work and requires a vocal range of over two octaves (...

Article

Robert Stevenson

revised by Laura Macy

(b Langa, province of Soria, 1534; d Rome, Sept 25, 1619). Spanish singer, music editor and composer, active in Italy. After making a name for himself as a musical prodigy in Spain, where he perhaps began as a choirboy at Burgo de Osma Cathedral, he joined the papal chapel as a soprano on 8 June 1562. He may have been the first castrato hired by that institution. He remained in the papal chapel until his retirement in 1611, serving as maestro five times. In 1566 he began attending the oratory recently founded by S Filippo Neri and he formally joined the group in 1571. He was involved in early negotiations surrounding the establishment of the Compagnia dei musici di Roma, though the papal singers eventually declined to participate in the group. In the years 1566–7 Soto served as chaplain to the church of S Giacomo degli Spagnoli, and by ...

Article

Jeannette Fresne

(b Upshur County, TX, Sept 18, 1892; d Dallas, TX, Aug 19, 1940). American music publisher, singer, teacher, and composer. Known for his success in gospel music education, publishing, and composing gospel music quartets, Stamps founded the V.O. Stamps School of Music in Jacksonville, Texas (1924). Two years later he and Jesse Randall Baxter, Jr., founded the Stamps-baxter music and printing company , followed by the establishment in Dallas of a company headquarters (1929) and printing plant (1934). The company became one of the largest publishers of gospel music and most successful organizers of singing-schools in the 20th century. In addition to convention books and special collections for radio, television, and quartet performances, the company published three periodicals with subscriptions from all states and several foreign countries, and 24 songbooks with four-part harmonies in seven-shape notation. By mid-century annual company sales were in excess of $300,000. The company offered two types of schools: traditional singing-schools, and normal schools for training singing-school teachers. Stamps negotiated with the Texas superintendent of education for a provision for students to earn up to two high school credits for passing a state examination upon completion of either of the schools. After the war (...

Article

Don Cusic

[Ragsdale, Harold Ray ]

(b Clarkdale, GA, Jan 24, 1939). American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, arranger, music publisher, television star, and entrepreneur. Harold Ragsdale began his musical career with a high school band that played R&B songs by the Coasters, Drifters, and other R&B groups. In 1955 the family moved to Atlanta, where publisher Bill Lowery signed him as a songwriter and secured his first recording contract with Capitol Records; Capitol’s Head of A&R, Ken Nelson changed Ragsdale’s name to Ray Stevens. After attending Georgia State University, where he studied music, Stevens had his first success with his recording of “Jeremiah Peabody’s Poly Unsaturated Quick Dissolving Fast Acting Pleasant Tasting Green and Purple Pills” (Mercury, 1961). In 1962 he moved to Nashville, supplementing his own recording career with work as a session musician, arranger, and background vocalist. He garnered a number-one pop hit and his first Grammy with his recording of “Everything is beautiful” (Barnaby, ...

Article

Gilles Potvin

(b Natashquan, Quebec, Oct 27, 1928). Canadian songwriter, singer, poet and publisher . He wrote poems and songs while teaching French and mathematics in Quebec City. He first sang publicly in 1960 and his success led to a first recording in 1962. Two years later, his song Jack Monoloy won second prize at an international competition in Sopot, Poland. His best-known song is Mon pays, also sung at Sopot in 1965. He has toured extensively in Canada and French-speaking countries of Europe. He was awarded a Grand Prix du Disque by the Académie Charles Cros in 1970 and 1984. Vigneault’s songs are about the people of Quebec, specifically those who live on his native north shore of the St Lawrence. Some of his songs contain social protest, some are simple love stories, some are whimsical and humorous.

EMC2 (C. Rioux) M. Gagné: Gilles Vigneault (Quebec City, 1977)...