(b Szent-György-Ábrány, Oct 15, 1822; d Budapest, Dec 20, 1903). Hungarian writer on music, composer and pianist. He came from the wealthy Eördögh family: the name means ‘devil’ and his father changed it to Ábrányi, the name of their estate. He studied the piano under János Kirch (1810–63) and Vilmos Dolegni. His first composition, Magyar ábránd (‘Hungarian Fantasy’), was published in 1841. In the early 1840s he gave concerts in Hungarian towns, and in 1846 left for Vienna to take piano lessons with Joseph Fischhof. There is no reliable evidence that he was ever a student of Chopin in Paris. From 1847 he lived in Pest, in the 1850s as a piano teacher, and studied composition with Mosonyi, together with whom he became a devoted follower of Liszt and Wagner. He was one of the founders of the first Hungarian music periodical, the Zenészeti lapok, 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 Visby, June 5, 1805; d Stockholm, May 4, 1857). Swedish composer, conductor and organist. He studied music at the University of Uppsala and became the musical director of E.V. Djurstrms theatre company in 1828. From 1832 to 1842 he was a teacher at the Gymnasium in Vsterå and the city’s cathedral organist. He then moved to Stockholm, where he was a conductor of various theatre orchestras, for which he composed the music for about 100 productions, often in collaboration with August Blanche. His only full-length opera, Alfred den store (Alfred the Great), based on a text of Theodor Krner, was written in 1848 but never performed; another opera, Abu Hassan, was not finished. His other compositions include about 300 entractes, a vocal symphony, some orchestral works, a piano concerto and solo piano pieces. He also edited collections of Swedish and Nordic folksongs and folkdances and compiled a pocket dictionary of music (...
(b ?Milan, c1644; d Vienna, Sept 22, 1685). Italian composer and musician. He is first heard of in a letter of 6 September 1671 in which the Prince-Bishop of Olomouc, Karl Liechtenstein-Kastelkorn, told J.H. Schmelzer that he need not have apologized for some apparent bad behaviour on Albertini’s part, since he himself in any case had a good opinion of him. At the time of his death (he was murdered) Albertini was chamber musician in Vienna to the dowager Empress Eleonora. He himself prepared for publication his printed collection of sonatas and signed the dedication to Leopold I, but it did not appear until seven years after his death (the delay may have been due to the cost of engraving, towards which the emperor had granted a subsidy as early as 1686). The 12 sonatas have no regular pattern or number of movements. Most of the opening and closing movements are adagios; two sonatas begin with a separate movement marked ‘Praeludium’ characterized by figuration over a supporting bass. The form of each movement stems as a rule from freely varied development of phrases – usually, but not always, the initial one – which reappear in new guises and thus with a fresh impulse. Larger sections are never repeated literally. In a few of the sonatas there are thematic connections between several (though never between all) movements. Sonata no.9 is a passacaglia whose theme is presented at the beginning and end as a canon at the 5th and whose formal sections sometimes overlap with the statements of the ostinato theme. Double stopping appears conspicuously in the last sonata, which consists entirely of imitative movements....
Peter Andreas Kjeldsberg
revised by Martin Anderson
(b Fredrikstad, April 29, 1872; d Oslo, Dec 24, 1932). Norwegian composer, conductor and organist. He studied with Peter Lindeman (organ) and Iver Holter (harmony, counterpoint and composition) at the Christiania Music and Organ School (1888–92), and was then a pupil of Reinecke (composition) and Ruthard (piano) at the Leipzig Conservatory (1892–4). Appointments as organist followed in Drammen (1895–1907) and Oslo (1907–32), where he served at the cathedral from 1916; his First Symphony was completed during a course of study in Berlin in 1897. He was one of those responsible for the foundation of the Norsk Komponistforening, of which he was president from 1921 to 1923. As a member of the Koralbokkomiteen (1922–6) he harmonized most of the melodies in the chorale book of the Norwegian Church, and he edited preludes to all of the chorales. He was active as a choir-conductor, leading the Håndverksangforening (...
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” (...
Greg A. Handel
(b West Hempstead, NY, April 26, 1956). American music educator, choral arranger, editor, and conductor. He was a member of the American Boychoir (1969–71), and received degrees from St Olaf College (BM 1978), the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (MM 1980), and Michigan State University (DMA 1987). He was on the summer faculty of the American Boychoir School and now serves on the Board of Trustees. He taught at Calvin College (1980–90) before becoming the fourth conductor of the St Olaf Choir and the Harry R. and Thora H. Tosdal Endowed Professor of Music (1990–). Armstrong is the editor for Earthsongs publications and co-editor of the St. Olaf Choir Series. He chronicled the history of the St Olaf Choir in his doctoral dissertation. He is featured on an instructional video for adolescent singers, Body, Mind, Spirit, Voice (2002...
(b London, Aug 10, 1740; d London, Oct 22, 1802). English composer, conductor, organist, and editor. He was the son of Thomas Arnold, a commoner, and, according to some sources, the Princess Amelia (she was certainly his patron). Arnold received his education as a Child of the Chapel Royal (December 1, 1748 to August 31, 1758), where he was occasionally noticed by Handel (something he ‘remember’d with delight & spoke of with a starting tear’), and on leaving became known as an organist, conductor, and teacher, and composed prolifically. In autumn 1764 he was engaged by John Beard as harpsichordist and composer to Covent Garden; there he compiled several pastiche operas, including the popular The Maid of the Mill (1765), which is among the supreme examples of the form. In 1769 Arnold bought Marylebone Gardens, and during the next six summers produced several short all-sung burlettas, composing or at least contributing to four new examples (now lost). These productions were simply written (from the literary point of view at least) and would have appealed to an audience with no previous experience of operatic music....
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...
(b Mitau [now Jelgava, Latvia], 1794; d St Petersburg, 28 April/May 9, 1871). Russian music publisher, pianist and composer. In 1808 his family moved to Vilnius, where Bernard learnt to play the piano and decided on a musical career in preference to his father's military profession. Two years later he moved to Moscow, where he became involved in the leading musical circles, taking piano lessons from John Field and studying composition with Johann Hässler. Subsequently he decided to abandon his considerably successful performing career, and in 1816 was appointed to take charge of the serf orchestra on Count Potocki's estate. In 1822 he settled in St Petersburg and earned a reputation as a fine piano teacher.
As a composer, Bernard is known primarily for his songs and for an opera, Ol′ga, doch′ izgnannika (‘Olga, the Exile's Daughter’), which enjoyed some success when it was first produced in St Petersburg during the ...
revised by Klaus-Peter Koch
(b Kraków, May 12, 1805; d Dresden, Nov 2, 1881). Polish guitarist, composer and publisher. He studied in Vienna with Mauro Giuliani (1816–19). After a short career as a soloist he was made, in 1829, secretary of the senate of the Kraków Republic. When news of the 1830 Warsaw uprising reached him, he volunteered for the Polish Army and served as aide-de-camp to Bem; he was awarded the Virtuti Militari order. On the collapse of the uprising in 1831 he emigrated to Germany. In Leipzig he performed at the Gewandhaus with Karol Lipiński, Clara Wieck and others. Liszt called him ‘Chopin sur la guitare’. He wrote about 40 pieces for his instrument, mostly fantasies, marches, polonaises and waltzes, published by Hofmeister or Breitkopf & Härtel. In addition, he revised Carulli's tutor and published his own with Sennewald in Warsaw. He gained particular importance between 1833 and ...
(b c1570; d Copenhagen, Dec 20, 1632). Danish composer, anthologist, organist and instrumentalist probably of Dutch origin. Bonaventura Borchgrevinck, who was possibly his father, took him with him as a treble when he was appointed director of music at the Danish court at Copenhagen on 1 January 1587. Bonaventura left six months later but Melchior stayed on as an instrumentalist and rapidly gained the respect and confidence of the new king, Christian IV. In 1593 his salary was almost doubled, making him, despite his youth, the best-paid musician at court. In 1596 he was sent to Danzig to buy instruments and engage choristers, and at Christmas of that year he was appointed an organist with a further rise in salary. The next year he travelled to England, again to buy instruments, with the party that was sent to bring back the late King Frederik II's Order of the Garter. In ...
Ann Willison Lemke
(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....
(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 ...
(Carlo Zanobi Salvadore Maria )
(b Florence, 8/Sept 14, 1760; d Paris, March 15, 1842). Italian, composer, conductor, teacher, administrator, theorist, and music publisher, active in France. He took French citizenship, probably in 1794, and was a dominant figure in Parisian musical life for half a century. He was a successful opera composer during the Revolutionary period, and had comparable success with religious music from the beginning of the Restoration. He was made director of the Paris Conservatoire and consolidated its pre-eminent position in music education in Europe.
In the biographical preface to his work catalogue, compiled in 1831, Cherubini gave 8 and 14 September as his dates of birth, but the records of the baptistery of S Giovanni state that he was born on 14 September (and baptized the following day). He was the tenth of 12 children. It has been claimed that his mother died when he was four years old (Pougin, ...
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....
revised by Luca Lévi Sala
[Clementi, Mutius Philippus Vincentius Franciscus Xaverius]
(b Rome, Jan 23, 1752; d Evesham, Worcs., March 10, 1832). English composer, keyboard player and virtuoso, teacher, music publisher, entrepreneur, and piano manufacturer of Italian birth.
The oldest of seven children of Nicola Clementi (1720–89), a silversmith, and Magdalena (née Kaiser), Clementi began studies in music in Rome at a very early age; his teachers were Antonio Boroni (1738–92), an organist named Cordicelli, Giuseppi Santarelli (1710–90), and possibly Gaetano Carpani. In January 1766, at the age of 13, he secured the post of organist at his home church, S Lorenzo in Damaso. In that year, however, his playing attracted the attention of an English traveller, Peter Beckford (1740–1811), cousin of the novelist William Beckford (1760–1844) and nephew of William Beckford (1709–70), twice Lord Mayor of London. According to Peter Beckford’s own forthright explanation, he ‘bought Clementi of his father for seven years’, and in late ...
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 ...
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 ...
David Nicholls and Joel Sachs
(b Menlo Park, CA, March 11, 1897; d Shady, NY, Dec 10, 1965). American composer, writer, pianist, publisher, and teacher. Described by Cage as “the open sesame for new music in America,” he was an early advocate for many of the main developments in 20th-century music, including the systematization of modernist techniques, the exploration of timbral resources, and transculturalism.
Many facets of Cowell’s remarkable personality resulted from the unusual circumstances of his upbringing. His father, Harry, had immigrated to British Columbia with his brother after their own father, the Dean of Kildare’s Anglican Cathedral, bought them some land. Finding no satisfaction in farming life, Harry moved to San Francisco in search of a literary career. Henry’s mother Clara (usually called Clarissa) Dixon, a gifted writer, was the daughter of a fundamentalist Midwestern farming family. She had left the church and their community, married, and produced a son called Clarence. After he ran away from home as a teenager, Clarissa fled her stifling small-town life for San Francisco. In the Bay area, she met Harry, with whom she founded a philosophical-anarchist newsletter. As dedicated anarchists, they rejected the heavy hand of government, including what they saw as the homogenizing power of conventional public schooling. They built a little cottage on the still-rural edge of Menlo Park, where Stanford University was being constructed. Henry Cowell was born there, and Menlo Park remained his principal base until ...