(b Bitonto, nr Bari; d after 1651). Italian composer and guitarist. He is known by four books of pieces for five-course Baroque guitar. They consist mainly of simple battute accompaniments to popular songs and dances of the early 17th century such as the passacaglia, ciaccona, folia, Ruggiero and aria di Fiorenza. The accompaniments are set down in the alphabet system of chord notation (alfabeto) devised by Girolamo Montesardo, in which letters of the alphabet designate fingering positions for various major and minor chords. Each of Abatessa’s books contains instructions concerning the interpretation of the alphabet tablature, the fingering of the chords and the tuning of the guitar; the 1652 book also explains how to tune the guitar with the harp, presumably for the simultaneous playing of continuo parts. The 1627 collection gives instructions regarding the execution of certain kinds of strum such as the trillo and ...
revised by Gary R. Boye
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 ...
(b Città di Castello, Jan 26, 1595; d Città di Castello, ? after March 15, 1679). Italian composer and teacher. He travelled to Rome with his brother Guidobaldo, an artist, in 1623 and 1625 (Andrae, 17–19), and was employed at S Giovanni in Laterano from January 1627 to May 1629. According to his verse autobiography (in I-Rvat ) he served there ‘seven years and some months’, or from 1622, but neither this nor his statement that he held earlier positions in Città di Castello and at the Gesù in Rome have been confirmed. He subsequently served as maestro di cappella at the cathedrals of Città di Castello (June 1629 to May 1632, December 1635 to November 1640 and May 1677 to March 1679) and Orvieto (December 1632 to 1635). In Rome his principal tenures were at S Maria Maggiore, where he trained boy sopranos (...
(b Le Pallet, nr Nantes, 1079; d Saint-Marcel, nr Chalon-sur-Saône, April 21, 1142). French philosopher, poet and musician of Breton origin. After studying philosophy in Paris, he taught dialectic at the cathedral school. His love affair with Heloise, the young niece of Canon Fulbert, brought him fame as a musician. However, after they had secretly married in 1118 Fulbert had Abelard castrated. Heloise became a nun and he became a monk at St Denis. His highly original scholastic method and his restless and blunt nature aroused opposition to his teaching; principal among his opponents was Bernard of Clairvaux. After condemnation by the Council of Sens in 1140, Abelard found support from Peter the Venerable, Benedictine Abbot of Cluny.
Abelard’s songs are few beside his numerous theological and philosophical writings. Heloise’s testimony suggests that his love songs must have been important from both a literary and a musical point of view. In a later letter (probably revised by Abelard) she declared that he had ‘the gift of poetry and the gift of song’; he ‘composed quite a number of metrical and rhythmic love songs. The great charm and sweetness in language and music, and a soft attractiveness of the melody obliged even the unlettered’. These songs, presumably in Latin, have all been lost: they have not been identified among the anonymous repertory....
Hanns-Bertold Dietz and Joseph Vella Bondin
(b Valetta, Nov 16, 1715; d Naples, Oct 1760). Maltese composer and teacher. His grandfather, who was French, settled in Malta in 1661. Abos's cousin Carol Farrugia paid for him to go to Naples as a child and receive his musical training at the Conservatorio dei Poveri di Gesù. An entry in the 1729 account book of the institution lists a payment to a ‘Maltese maggiore’ for copying a ‘new work by Sig Francesco Durante, Dixit’. Abos's principal teachers at the conservatory would have been first Gaetano Greco, then Durante and Gerolimo Ferrara (not Leonardo Leo). His first opera for Naples was Le due zingare simili, an opera buffa staged at the Teatro Nuovo in 1742. In the same year he took teaching posts at two Neapolitan conservatories: the Poveri di Gesù Cristi, where he succeeded Alfonso Caggi as secondo maestro and assisted Francesco Feo until the institution was dissolved in ...
(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....
(b Sibiu, Nov 3, 1940; d Munich, May 27, 2006). German composer of Romanian birth. He studied the piano, the organ and theory privately with Franz Xaver Dressler in Sibiu (1950–58). From 1959 to 1964 he studied composition with Toduta at the Cluj Academy of Music where, after receiving his diploma, he remained to teach composition and music theory. In 1969 he moved to the Federal Republic of Germany to teach at the Robert Schumann Conservatory, Düsseldorf (1969–72) and attend the Darmstadt summer course (1969). He was appointed to teach theory and composition at the Munich Musikhochschule in 1972, becoming professor of composition there in 1976. His awards included the composition prize of the Prague Spring Festival (1966), the Stuttgart Stamitz prize (1970), the city of Stuttgart composition prize (1971), the Stroud Festival composition prize, the Hitzacker prize (...
Ferenc Bónis and Anna Dalos
(b Szigetszentmiklós, Dec 12, 1896; d Budapest, May 15, 1982). Hungarian composer, conductor and teacher. From 1911 until 1915 he received instruction in organ playing and theory at the Budapest teacher-training college. Then, as a prisoner of war (1916–20), he organized and conducted a men’s choir and an orchestra in Russia. He studied composition at the Budapest Academy of Music under Kodály (1921–25) and conducting in Weingartner’s masterclass in Basle (1933–5). He conducted the orchestra (1929–39) and the choir (1929–54) of the Budapest Academy where he also taught Hungarian folk music, choral conducting and methodology from 1939 to 1959, and where he directed the singing department from 1942 to 1957.
Ádám began his career as a conductor in Budapest in 1929 with a performance of Haydn’s The Seasons. From 1929 until 1933 he was deputy conductor of the Budapest Choral and Orchestral Society. With the male choir Budai Dalárda, which he directed from ...
(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 ...
(b Mannheim, March 4, 1928). American composer and conductor of German birth. Both of his parents were musical, his father being a cantor and composer of Jewish liturgical music. The family came to the USA in 1939 and Adler attended Boston University (BM 1948) and Harvard University (MA 1950). He studied composition with Aaron Copland, Paul Fromm, Paul Hindemith, Hugo Norden, Walter Piston and Randall Thompson; musicology with Karl Geiringer, A.T. Davison and Paul A. Pisk; and conducting with Sergey Koussevitzky at the Berkshire Music Center. In 1950 he joined the US Army and organized the Seventh Army SO, which he conducted in more than 75 concerts in Germany and Austria; he was awarded the Army Medal of Honor for his musical services. Subsequently he conducted concerts and operas, and lectured extensively throughout Europe and the USA. In 1957 he was appointed professor of composition at North Texas State University, and in ...
(b Antwerp, c1554; d Antwerp, bur. Feb 27, 1604). Flemish lutenist, teacher and composer. He went to Rome to study in 1574, a visit that probably accounts for the Italian elements in his publications. He was a Protestant, but after the fall of Antwerp in 1585 he was compelled for political reasons to embrace the Catholic faith. With his brother Gysbrecht he opened a school for lutenists at Antwerp, but in 1587 they came into conflict with the musicians’ guild because neither of them was a member; later, however, Emanuel must have qualified as a freeman of the guild, for he occasionally assumed the title of master. He was appointed captain of the citizens’ watch, which brought him a regular income, and in 1595 he took part in the relief of the nearby town of Lier, which had been occupied by the Dutch. He moved in the highest circles in Antwerp, and the principal families doubtless admired his virtuosity as a lutenist and engaged him to perform. His publications brought him wider fame, and they were to be found in the libraries of many prominent people, among them Constantijn Huygens, King João IV of Portugal and Cardinal Mazarin. He was mentioned by Adrian Denss (...
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 ...
revised by Peter Wollny
(b Grossfurra, Thuringia, Oct 25, 1643; d Gotha, Feb 20, 1676). German composer and writer. After initially going to school in his native town he was sent in 1656 to Eisenach for three years. There he attended the town school, the staff of which included Theodor Schuchardt, a highly respected teacher of music and Latin. From 1659 to 1662 Agricola studied for his school-leaving examination at the Gymnasium of Gotha; the headmaster there was Andreas Reyher, who was the co-author of the Gothaer Schulmethodus, an educational work which set an example for the teaching of music too. In 1662–3 Agricola studied philosophy at Leipzig University and from 1663 to 1668 theology and philosophy at Wittenberg, where he was awarded a master's degree by the faculty of philosophy. His four recorded scholarly essays dating from this period are lost. He had begun to learn the fundamentals of music during his school years, and he may also have been a pupil of the Kantor of the Thomaskirche, Leipzig, Sebastian Knüpfer. He continued his musical training at Wittenberg, completing the study of composition under the guidance of Italian musicians resident there. Returning to his native Thuringia he was able to turn his musical abilities to good use in the Kapelle of the Schwarzburg-Sondershausen court until in ...
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 ...
(b Nuremberg, c1560–70; d ?Erfurt, after 1601). German composer. In 1601, when he published a collection of motets, Agricola was teaching at the Gymnasium Augustinianum at Erfurt; he can scarcely be identified with the Christianus Johannes Agricola who was a discantist in the Kapelle at Weimar in 1594. The surname ‘Noricus’, used on the title-page and in the dedication, meant ‘born at Nuremberg’, and a Johannes Agricola baptized on 29 November 1564 at St Sebaldus at Nuremberg could be the composer. Yet another Johann Agricola (d 1605), Kantor at St Bartholomäus, Frankfurt, in 1591, was probably not the composer.
As a composer Agricola is known only by Motetae novae pro praecipuis in anno festis (Nuremberg, 1601), dedicated to the Erfurt senate; the bass partbook addresses the same dedication to the Mühlhausen senate, so possibly the collection appeared in at least two editions. The preface is a humanistic essay about the importance of music from ancient times to the 16th century. The 26 motets, for four to six, eight and twelve voices, are settings in a freely imitative style characterized by fluent counterpoint. The exact scansion of the Latin texts, which include some on secular subjects, is evidence of Agricola’s humanistic education and profession....
Anna Maria Busse Berger
(b Schwiebus [now Świebodzin, Poland], c1486; d Magdeburg, June 10, 1556). German music theorist, teacher and composer. According to his own statements, he came from a peasant family and was largely self-taught in music. By 1520 he was in Magdeburg working as a music teacher. He became choirmaster of the Protestant Lateinschule in about 1525 and retained this position until his death.
Agricola was one of the earliest teachers of music to realize Luther's wish to incorporate music as a central component of Protestant education. His foremost aim in educating students and congregation was to present material as clearly as possible and to reach a large audience. It was for this reason that his early treatises were written in German rather than the customary Latin. His translation of the terms clavis (as Schlüssel), vox (as Stimme or Silbe) and scala (as Leiter) are still used today. His desire to relate music education to everyday life can be seen in his modernization of old-fashioned rules of harmonic and rhythmic proportions, which he related to commercial arithmetic, in particular the Rule of Three, which formed the most important component of arithmetic instruction in Latin schools. He was the only theorist to consider ...
(b Ballenstedt, July 13, 1790; d Berlin, Oct 8, 1873). German pianist, music teacher and composer, son of Carl Christian Agthe. He received his musical education from Ebeling in Magdeburg and Seebach in Klosterbergen before studying composition and counterpoint with M.G. Fischer in Erfurt. In 1810 he settled in Leipzig as a music teacher and second violinist in the Gewandhaus Orchestra, and there published his first compositions. He founded a music academy in Dresden with C. Kräger in 1823 which was publicly endorsed by Carl Maria von Weber; J.B. Logier’s methods of keyboard instruction were used there. In the next decade he set up similar institutes in Posen (1826), where Theodore and Adolf Kullak were his pupils, in Breslau (1831) and finally in Berlin (1832). He was forced to retire in 1845 because of weak eyesight. His compositions include at least nine opus numbers for piano (some with other instruments) and two manuscript songs in the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin....
(b Sommersell [now Nieheim], Westphalia, April 17, 1904; d Berlin, Dec 21, 1997). German composer and organist. After studying with Wilhelm Schnippering at the Lehrerseminar (Büren), he studied church music in Münster with Werner Göhr and Fritz Volbach (1924–5). In 1925 he went to Berlin where he pursued further study with Alfred Sittard and Max Seiffert at the Akademie für Kirchen- und Schulmusik and attended Wilhelm Middelschulte’s organ masterclasses. He also studied Gregorian chant at the Benedictine abbeys of Gerleve and Beuron. In 1928 he became a lecturer at the Berlin Akademie, where in 1936 he was promoted to professor. After the war he was appointed to the post of ordinarius for Catholic church music at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik, where, for a time, he was also deputy director. He served as the organist at St Hedwig’s cathedral in Berlin from 1934 until its destruction in ...
revised by Axel Helmer
(b Stockholm, Jan 19, 1860; d Stockholm, Jan 20, 1938). Swedish composer, organist and conductor. He attended the Swedish Royal Academy of Music (1882–6), studying counterpoint and composition with J. Dente, and was a pupil of Franck in Paris (1887–8). In Stockholm he was coach at the Royal Opera (1888–90), organist at the synagogue (1890–1928), music teacher at Norrmalm’s grammar school (1895–1923) and teacher at Richard Anderssons Musikskola (1897–1909). From 1886 he conducted several choirs, including the Bellman Choir (1895–1926), which he also founded, and the Philharmonic Society (1900–03). Åkerberg’s compositions often approach the style of Swedish folk music, especially the ballads Kung Svegder and Prinsessan och Svennen. They are technically sound but conventional.
MSS in S-Skma, Svenska Tonsättares Internationella Musikbyrå
(b Pisky, near Khar′kiv, 8/Sept 20, 1876; d Paris, Jan 8, 1945). Ukrainian composer and pianist. Aged ten he was sent, along with his brother Yakiv (later known as the composer Stepovy), to sing in the choir of the Imperial Chapel in St Petersburg. It was during his time there (1886–95) that he began to compose under the influence of his teachers Balakirev and Lyapunov. He finished studies with Rimsky-Korsakov and Lyadov at the St Petersburg Conservatory in 1901, the year in which the latter conducted the first performance of the Lyric Poem, op.20. Akimenko then became the director of a music school in Tbilisi (1901–03). He performed widely as a pianist, particularly in France and Switzerland, and lived for a while in Paris (1903–06) before returning to Khar′kiv. In 1914 he was invited to teach composition and theory at the St Petersburg Conservatory, a post he held until ...