( b Rome, Jan 25, 1960). Italian harpsichordist, organist and conductor . Largely self-taught, he conducted his first major concert, of Cavalli's Calisto, in Rome in 1985, with a group of singers that were to form the nucleus of a permanent ensemble, Concerto Italiano. The ensemble's first recording, of Monteverdi's fourth book of madrigals, was widely acclaimed for its passion and colour, winning a Gramophone award in 1994; subsequent recordings have included madrigals by Monteverdi, Marenzio and Frescobaldi, and vocal works by Lassus. In 1995 Alessandrini founded the complementary Concerto Italiano instrumental ensemble, with whom he has performed and recorded concertos by Bach and Vivaldi, and made an imaginative recording of Bach's Art of Fugue. His other recordings include Bach's sonatas for violin and harpsichord, vocal works by Vivaldi, Alessandro Scarlatti and Pergolesi, and Handel's Roman oratorio Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno. With Concerto Italiano he has appeared at major concert halls and festivals throughout Europe. In ...
(b St Gall, March 17, 1911; d Lausanne, March 17, 1959). Swiss composer, pianist and organist. He began his music studies in Zürich in 1932, for the most part teaching himself; from 1934 to 1937 he studied in Paris with Dupré, Paul Roës and Nadia Boulanger, and returned to Switzerland in 1940. Settling in Lausanne, he worked as a concert pianist, composer, music critic and broadcaster. His eclectic style took elements from the varied musical currents of the time, but he retained a basis of sonata form and tonal harmony. He favoured driving rhythms and his writing is complex and compact. (L. Marretta-Schär: Raffaele d’Alessandro: Leben und Werk, Winterthur, 1979)
[Ricketts, Frederic Joseph]
(b London, Feb 21, 1881; d Reigate, May 15, 1945). English composer and bandmaster. As a cornet-player with the Royal Irish Regiment, he served in India. Subsequently he studied at Kneller Hall (1904–8), qualifying as a bandmaster, and in 1908 was appointed to the 2nd Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. In 1912, under the pseudonym Alford (his mother's name), he published the marches The Vedette and Holyrood, the first of a long series of marches. Two of the most famous, written during World War I, illustrate differing approaches to march-style. Colonel Bogey (1913) is in simple time; the golfing allusion of the title reflects the work's origin on the green, where Alford's partner would whistle the notes C and A instead of shouting ‘fore’. On the Quarter Deck (1917) is in the compound time made popular by the American John Philip Sousa. Alford is unlikely to have missed Sousa's concert on ...
(b Stockholm, May 1, 1872; d Falun, May 8, 1960). Swedish composer, conductor and violinist. He attended the Stockholm Conservatory (1887–91) and then took private lessons with Lindegren (composition) and Zetterquist (violin); from 1887 he also studied painting. A violinist in the Hovkapellet (the opera orchestra, 1890–92), he decided in 1892 to make his career in music. From 1904 to 1957 he conducted the Siljan Choir – a group of five church choirs and regional choirs in Dalarna – and he was the director of other choruses, including the Orphei Drängar (1910–47), with whom he made 22 tours throughout most of Europe. In addition he was Director Musices of Uppsala University (1910–39). A Hugo Alfvén Foundation has been established in Stockholm.
Alfvén's music is distinguished by orchestral subtlety and by a painterly exploitation of harmony and timbre. His output was almost entirely of programme music, often suggested by the Swedish archipelago; he commented that ‘my best ideas have come during my sea-voyages at night, and, in particular, the wild autumns have been my most wonderful times for composition’. A few pieces, often performed, have maintained his reputation: ...
James L. Jackman
(b ?Milan, c1710; d Frankfurt, c1792). Italian cellist and composer. Although early sources (Eitner, Rudhart) claimed a Milanese origin for Aliprandi, the family has not been definitely traced. One of the numerous Italians who found careers north of the Alps, Aliprandi first appears in the records of the Bavarian court at Munich on 1 October 1731 as a chamber and court musician, with a yearly stipend of 1000 florins. On 22 August 1737 he succeeded G.B. Ferrandini as composer of chamber music; on 11 March 1744 he was promoted to Konzertmeister, with his salary increased to 1200 florins. By 1777 this amount had been reduced to 1105 florins, and in 1778 he retired with a pension of 500 florins. In 1791 he was living in Frankfurt; a petition by his son Bernardo Maria dated May 1793 indicates that he had died by then.
Aliprandi’s works for the Bavarian court opera include ...
James L. Jackman
revised by Valerie Walden
(b Munich, Feb 5, 1747; d Munich, Feb 19, 1801). Italian cellist and composer, son of Bernardo Aliprandi. The young Bernardo probably studied with his father and, like many cellists of the era, would have been familiar with the viol. He began playing the cello for the Munich court between ...
(b Paris, Nov 30, 1813; d Paris, March 29, 1888). French pianist and composer. His real name was Morhange. He was one of the leading piano virtuosos of the 19th century and one of its most unusual composers, remarkable in both technique and imagination, yet largely ignored by his own and succeeding generations.
Of Jewish parentage, Alkan was the eldest of five brothers, all of whom, with an elder sister as well, became musicians under the assumed name Alkan; Napoléon Alkan, the third brother (1826–1910), taught solfège at the Paris Conservatoire for over 50 years. Valentin Alkan’s career at the Conservatoire started brilliantly with a premier prix for solfège at the age of seven. When Alkan was nine Cherubini observed that he was ‘astonishing for his age’ and described his ability on the piano as ‘extraordinary’. He won a premier prix for piano in 1824, for harmony in ...
(b Sin-le-Noble, Nord, May 25, 1923). French bassoonist and teacher. A precocious talent, he won a premier prix at the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 17. He won a first prize at the Geneva International Competition in 1949 and was appointed to the Paris Opéra the same year. In ...
Roland Würtz and Paul Corneilson
(b Venice, 1754; d Ireland, after 1801). Italian soprano. She made her début in 1770 in Venice and in 1771 went from Florence to Mannheim, possibly on a recommendation by Casanova to the Mannheim court poet, Mattia Verazi. Holzbauer gave her singing lessons and employed her as second soubrette in the court opera (1771–5). She made her Mannheim début in 1771 in Piccinni's Gli stravaganti (Nerina) and appeared the following year at the palace theatre in Schwetzingen in Gassmann's L’amore artigiano (Angiolina) and Sacchini’s La contadina in corte (Tancia); Burney gave a glowing report of her. After 1778 she sang in Venice and Florence, in 1781 in London, making her début there in Anfossi’s I viaggiatori felici. On 20 July 1783 she was engaged by Bertholdi at a salary of 1000 ducats as prima donna buffa at the Dresden court opera, where Mozart heard her and placed her above Ferrarese (letter of ...
revised by Noel O’Regan
(b Rome, 1582; d Rome, Feb 7, 1652). Italian composer and singer, brother of Domenico Allegri. From 1591 to 1596 he was a boy chorister and from 1601 to 1604 a tenor at S Luigi dei Francesi, Rome, where the maestro di cappella was G.B. Nanino. According to Allegri’s obituary he studied with G.M. Nanino (see Lionnet). He was active as a singer and composer at the cathedrals of Fermo (1607–21) and Tivoli, and by August 1628 he was maestro di cappella of Santo Spirito in Sassia, Rome. He joined the papal choir as an alto on 6 December 1629, under Urban VIII, and was elected its maestro di cappella for the jubilee year of 1650. In 1640 his fellow singers elected him to revise Palestrina’s hymns (necessitated by Urban VIII’s revision of the texts), which were published in Antwerp in 1644. His contemporaries clearly saw him as a worthy successor to Palestrina and a guardian of the ...
(b Florence, Nov 16, 1567; d Florence, July 15, 1648). Italian composer and lutenist. Cesare Tinghi, the Medici court diarist, called him (in Solerti) ‘Lorenzo [or Lorenzino] todesco del liuto’, which has encouraged the notion that he may have been German, but his baptismal record confirms that he was from Florence. He entered the ranks of salaried musicians at the Medici court on 15 April 1604 as a lutenist; during the period 1636–7 he was referred to as maestro di liuto. In January 1622 he was appointed guardaroba della musica, and in due course he was also placed in charge of the pages who played, sang and danced in court entertainments. He continued to serve the court until his death. He seems chiefly to have written instrumental music. Only two vocal pieces by him are known: Tu piangi, a madrigal for solo voice and continuo published in Antonio Brunelli's ...
(b ?Pavia; fl 1609–29). Italian music editor and singer. Since he was known as ‘magister et reverendo’ he must have taken orders. He was a bass singer in the choir of Pavia Cathedral from 1609 to 1626. He is of greatest interest as the collector of four noteworthy anthologies of north Italian church music published in Venice (RISM 16214, 1624², 1626³ and 16295); all contain motets except the third, which consists of litanies. The volumes include eight works by Monteverdi, seven of which are found in no other printed sources, and ten unica by Alessandro Grandi (i) and four by Rovetta (his earliest published works). Other prominent north Italians represented are Stefano Bernardi, Banchieri – who dedicated his Gemelli armonici (1622) to Calvi – Ignazio Donati, Ghizzolo, Merula, Orazio Tarditi and Turini. Calvi himself contributed motets to the first two and included pieces by his ...
American ballet dancers, teachers, choreographers, and company directors. Three of the four Christensen brothers made their careers in dance. Members of a Danish Mormon family that had settled in America, they were taught folk and social dancing by their father and grandfather and trained in ballet by various teachers. All three were instrumental in establishing and popularizing ballet in the western United States.
Willam Farr Christensen (b Brigham City, UT, Aug 27, 1902; d Salt Lake City, Oct 14, 2001) was the eldest of the brothers. After touring the vaudeville circuit, he opened a ballet school in 1932 in Portland, Oregon, from which sprang the Portland Ballet. In 1937 he joined the San Francisco Opera Ballet, where, as ballet-master, he staged the first full-length American productions of Coppélia (1939), Swan Lake (1940), and The Nutcracker (1944). Returning to Utah in 1951, he taught ballet at the state university and founded a performing group that eventually became known as Ballet West....
Serbian rock band, active in Belgrade (Feb 1982 – Aug 1994). There was no band in Serbian popular music so intrinsically connected to the destinies of its members as the band Katarina II (Cathrine II), later Ekatarina Velika (Ekaterina the Great), or EKV for short. Formed in early 1982 by Milan Mladenović (guitar, lead vocals; d Belgrade, 1994), Dragomir Mihailović Gagi (guitar), Dušan Radmilović Švaba (bass guitar), and Dušan Dejanović (drums), they were joined in 1983 by the Belgrade New Wave scene's ‘femme fatale’ and talented keyboardist Margitta Stefanović Magi (d Belgrade, 18 Sept 2002). Due to a legal dispute among its members, the band's lineup underwent significant change (Bojan Pečar, bass guitar, d London, 13 Oct 1998; and Ivan Ferce Firči on drums, replaced in 1985 by Ivan Ranković Raka); Mladenović-Stefanović, however, always remained at the core of the lineup. Under the new name EKV the band released its second album, which established them as an artsy, sophisticated, yet energetic alternative rock band. Their live performances became more and more spectacular, contributing to their rising popularity, which had peaked by the end of the 1980s. With the beginning of war in the former Yugoslavia, Mladenović’s lyrics tended to be more overtly politically engaged as can be seen in the penultimate album ...
English piano trio. It was founded in 1995 by Susan Tomes (piano), Anthony Marwood (violin) and Richard Lester (cello). Tomes and Lester had both been members of the recently disbanded piano quartet Domus. The Florestan’s early recitals in the UK were immediately hailed for their verve and sensitivity, and the close, subtle rapport between the players. The trio quickly established itself as a leading chamber ensemble. It has toured frequently in Europe, South America, Israel, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, and made its first US tour, including a Carnegie Hall début, in 2004. In 1999 it became the first piano trio to win the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Chamber Ensemble Award.
For Hyperion the Florestan has made highly praised recordings of much of the standard trio repertory, including works by Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Dvořák, Fauré, Debussy and Ravel. The group also champions contemporary repertory, and has had works specially composed for it by Vasks, Beamish, Casken, Judith Weir and Rudi Martinus van Dijk. In ...
Alec Hyatt King
(b London, 1736; d ?London, after 1789). English musician. He was educated at Westminster School and Trinity Hall, Cambridge. In January 1771 he was admitted to Lincoln's Inn. Little is known of his life, but he is important as having attempted to publish, between 1788 and 1790, the first complete edition of Purcell (see A.H. King: ‘Benjamin Goodison's Compete Edition of Purcell’, MMR, lxxxi, 1951, pp.81–9). Details of his elaborate plan are known from the five editions of his prospectus preserved in the Royal Music Library ( GB-Lbl ). Though Goodison was able to issue less than a dozen works, and his venture failed through lack of support, it forms a milestone in the progress of British appreciation of the range of Purcell's genius. It also ranks, at least by intention, with Arnold’s contemporary edition of Handel as the earliest of all the collected editions issued in any country....
Samuel F. Pogue
revised by Frank Dobbins
(fl Lyons, 1550–84). French music printer, bookseller, composer and instrumentalist. In 1551 he prepared the third in a series of four books of music for guitar printed in Paris by Robert Granjon and Michel Fezandat (RISM 1551²²). In the dedication Gorlier wrote apologetically of the four-course guitar and his reasons for composing for an inferior instrument, saying that he wanted to show that it was as capable as larger instruments of reproducing music in two or three parts. Besides being an ‘excellent joueur’ on the guitar, as cited on the title-page, he evidently played the spinet; in a pamphlet (now lost) concerning Loys Bourgeois’ Droict chemin de musique (1550) Bourgeois called him ‘trougnon d’épinette’ (‘garbage of the spinet’) and complained that he had not been educated in classical languages and mathematics like the singer-composers in Lyons, Layolle Roussel and Jambe de Fer.
Gorlier was granted a privilege for printing music on ...
revised by Bianca Maria Antolini
(b Florence, Oct 12, 1817; d Florence, Jan 17, 1883). Italian music publisher and double bass player. He played the double bass at the Teatro della Pergola, Florence (1849–53), and in 1844 opened his publishing firm under the name G.G. Guidi, Stabilimento Calcografico Musicale. He both founded the Società del Quartetto di Firenze and published the music performed at its concerts and competitions in the society’s journal, Boccherini (1862–82); he was also the publisher of the winning compositions at the Duea di S Clemente competition. His catalogue included a number of chamber works and overtures by Beethoven, Mozart and Mendelssohn, and compositions by contemporary musicians, including Bottesini and Francesco Anichini. He published many full scores of operas, including Rossini’s Guillaume Tell and Il barbiere di Siviglia, Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots and Robert le diable, and Peri’s Euridice (1863), transcribed directly from the 17th-century edition. The catalogue also contained operas by Morlacchi and Mancinelli, polyphonic music, including madrigals by Tromboncino and Arcadelt (...
John W. Wagner
(b ?Dartmoor, June 4, 1770; d Boston, Aug 2, 1827). American conductor, composer and publisher of English birth, father of John Hill Hewitt. Apart from family records giving his place and date of birth, the first documented information about him is that he occupied 12 Hyde Street, Bloomsbury, London, during 1791–2. He arrived in New York on 5 September 1792. Although he advertised himself there as having had concert experience in London under ‘Haydn, Pleyel, etc.’, no evidence of this has been found. He lived in New York until 1811, his longest period of residence at one address being from 1801 to 1810 at 59 Maiden Lane. From 1792 until the end of March 1808, he was conductor of the orchestra at the Park Street Theatre, where his duties included arranging and composing music for many ballad operas and other musical productions. He also operated his own ‘musical repository’, where he gave lessons and sold musical instruments and music composed by himself and others....
String quartet. It was founded in 1935 in Budapest as the New Hungarian Quartet by Sándor Végh, Péter Szervánszky (soon replaced by Lászlo Halmos), Dénes Koromzay (b Budapest, May 18, 1913; d July 15, 2001 in Louisville, CO) and Vilmos Palotai (b Budapest, 21 May 1904; d Switzerland, 1972). In 1936 it gave the Austrian and Hungarian premières of Bartók’s Fifth Quartet. In 1937 Zoltán Székely (b Kocs, 8 Dec 1903 – a close associate of Bartók – became leader, Végh replacing Halmos as second violinist for a year before giving way to Alexandre Moskowsky (b Kerch, Crimea, 22 Oct 1901; d Manchester, 1969). Trapped in the Netherlands under German occupation during World War II, the group’s members played in orchestras and made an intensive study of Beethoven’s quartets. After the war they re-emerged as the Hungarian Quartet, made their US début in 1948 and based themselves at the University of Southern California from ...