(b Norwich, May 1, 1776; d Cossey [now Costessey], Nov 27, 1844). English journalist and writer on music. He was the only son of Richard Bacon (1745–1812), a grocer and printer from Yarmouth who in 1788 became co-proprietor of the weekly Norwich Mercury. R.M. Bacon joined him as manager of the printing department at the age of 18, and by 1804, on his father's retirement, became sole proprietor of the paper, a leading Whig journal with a county-wide circulation. The younger Bacon's musical interests – he had a good baritone voice and studied singing with Samuel Arnold – developed naturally in the convivial atmosphere of late 18th-century Norwich. He participated in cathedral events directed by J.C. Beckwith and vocal concerts given by the Anacreontic Society. He also gained local theatre ties, first through his marriage in 1797 to Louise Noverre (1768–1808), niece of the celebrated dancing-master Jean-Georges Noverre, and then through his share-holding interest in the Theatre Royal, Norwich (...
(fl 1770–93). Italian librettist and journalist. He was in London by 1769, when he wrote the libretto for Pugnani’s comic opera Nanetta e Lubino. Probably supplementing his income by translating and teaching Italian, Badini wrote a few librettos for the King’s Theatre during the 1770s, including Le pazzie di Orlando (set by P.A. Guglielmi in 1771), a witty, ambitious work which Nunziato Porta adapted for Haydn as Orlando paladino (1782, Eszterháza). Badini’s other works from this period include Il disertore (1770), set by Guglielmi and revived in Lisbon in 1772, and L’ali d’amore (1776), which was set by Venanzio Rauzzini.
An early sign of Badini’s individuality is found in the libretto for Bertoni’s La governante, a free translation of the English dialogue opera The Duenna by R.B. Sheridan. While Badini retained many of Sheridan’s lyrics, he reworked the drama into a typical three-act burletta whose arias, unlike Sheridan’s, advance the plot. Another example of Badini’s interest in English drama is ...
(b Coburg, June 30, 1823; d Basle, July 16, 1896). German critic, teacher and composer. He studied the piano and cello at the Prague Conservatory and moved to Vienna in 1842, where he studied theory with Sechter and was active performing, teaching and composing. He was appointed to the Vienna Conservatory in 1852, but his high standards and outspoken critical stance led to his dismissal in 1855. In 1859 Bagge became the editor of a new journal, the Deutsche Musik-Zeitung, which opposed the ‘New German’ sympathies of Franz Brendel’s Neue Zeitschrift für Musik. He moved to Leipzig in 1863 to edit the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung (later the Leipziger allgemeine musikalische Zeitung); it closely reflected his conviction that composers should strive to imitate music of the past. Bagge’s own reviews praise music by such composers as Bargiel, Volkmann, Reinecke and Kirchner. He regarded much of Brahms’s music as undisciplined, contributing to a critical climate that may have prompted Brahms to adopt a more classically-oriented style....
(b New York, April 17, 1926; d New York, Feb 1, 2007). American writer on jazz and broadcaster. After graduating from Cornell University (BA 1951) he joined the staff of the New Yorker. For the Saturday Review (1953–7) and then for the New Yorker he contributed reviews of jazz concerts, recordings and books, as well as interviews with jazz musicians; many of these articles have been reprinted in a continuing series of books. He has also published poetry. In 1957 he conceived the idea and was adviser for a television programme, ‘The Sound of Jazz’, broadcast live by CBS. Balliett’s writings are eloquent and highly stylized. His interviews portray his subjects with dignity, and his reviews often create effects that parallel those of the music being discussed. At his best, in an assessment of style or a description of an improvisation, Balliett provided insights more penetrating than many formal musical analyses....
(b Tours, May 20, 1799; d Paris, Aug 21, 1850). French writer. Music is one of the subjects treated in La comédie humaine, especially in Gambara (1837) and Massimilla Doni (1839); but although the names of musicians abound in the novels (among them Cimarosa, Pergolesi, Bellini, Rossini, Handel, Bach, Mozart and Beethoven) there are many fewer reflections on music, Balzac having acknowledged his lack of musical competence in the preface to Massimilla Doni. Yet music had for him an importance greater than might be supposed, as is evident from his work and his correspondence: to his beloved étrangère he wrote ‘Beethoven is the only man who has made me feel jealousy. There is in that man a divine power’ (Lettres à l’étrangère, 14 November 1837). Clearly not only music but certain individual composers had for Balzac a sovereign importance. In distinguishing the sphere of creative sensibility (for a long time uncertain in Balzac) from the sphere of intelligence and culture, it may be suggested that he was less a man who chanced to discover music than a writer who gradually discovered his true way through music....
(b Escondido, CA, Dec 13, 1948; d New York, NY, April 30, 1982). American rock critic. Bangs’s parents were devout Jehovah’s Witnesses; he was raised mostly by his mother after his father died in a house fire in 1955. Bangs began writing freelance reviews for Rolling Stone magazine in 1969, and would go on to write for Creem, The Village Voice, Penthouse, Playboy, New Musical Express, and many others. He wrote a 1980 book on the new-wave act Blondie and co-authored, with Paul Nelson, a biography of Rod Stewart, but the published works for which he is best known remain the two posthumous anthologies of his rock criticism: Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung (New York, 1987), edited by Greil Marcus; and Mainlines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste (New York, 2003), edited by John Morthland.
Bangs was inspired by the drug-fueled stream- of-consciousness style of Beat poets like William S. Burroughs and the confrontational, subjective New Journalism of Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe. Alongside John Mendelssohn, Nick Tosches, and Richard Meltzer, Bangs was grouped into the subset of early rock critics dubbed “the Noise Boys,” whose wild, digressive, slang-filled style contrasted with the more sober, academic approach of Greil Marcus and Robert Christgau. Bangs was an advocate of what would come to be called “punk rock,” celebrating its return to the raw, amateur spirit that defined the earliest rock ’n’ roll. He wrote critical pieces on many of the scene’s seminal acts, including The Ramones, Iggy and the Stooges, and the Velvet Underground. “I finally realized that grossness was the truest criterion for rock ’n’ roll, the cruder the clang and grind the more fun and longer listened-to the album would be,” Bangs wrote, and his prose aspired towards the same energy. Bangs died from respiratory and pulmonary complications related to the ingestion of Darvon....
(b Wiesbaden, July 20, 1923). Israeli critic, composer and musicologist. He moved to Mandatory Palestine in 1936. After studying composition with Paul Ben-Haim, his most influential teacher, Bar-Am attended the Ecole Normale de Paris (1949–51). He studied musicology at Tel-Aviv University (BA 1977), where he became the principal lecturer for courses on Jewish music and Israeli contemporary music (1973–96) and the first director of the Archive of Israeli Music. The secretary general of the Israeli League of Composers (1960–76, 1976–8), he became chair of the organizing committee of the ISCM in Israel in 1980. Though most influential as the music critic of the Jerusalem Post between 1958 and 1995, Bar-Am also wrote many essays on Israeli music in Hebrew, English and German, notably ‘A Musical Gateway between East and West’ (Jerusalem Post, 20 April 1988). He ceased composing in the early 1970s but resumed in ...
[Jones, (Everett) LeRoi]
(b Newark, NJ, Oct 7, 1934). American writer. He studied piano, drums, and trumpet privately and attended Howard University (BA 1954). In the early 1960s he achieved wide recognition for his poetry and plays and for his writings about jazz, which included articles for Down Beat, Jazz, and Jazz Review; a selection of his writings, many from Down Beat, was published in 1967 as Black Music. His book Blues People (1963), the first full-length study of jazz by a black writer, is both a sociological inquiry, using blues and jazz as a means of understanding how African Americans became assimilated into American culture, and a superb discussion of the cultural context of the music in the United States. Besides his activities as a writer, Baraka has been involved in many black cultural and community projects. He was a founder of the Black Arts Repertory Theater-School, which was in existence from ...
Jérôme de La Gorce
(b Orléans, c1670; d Paris, 1745). French dramatist. After writing four tragedies for the Thé âtre Français, she is thought to have collaborated with the Abbé Pellegrin, who gave her advice, on several librettos: Les fêtes de l’été (1716), set by Montéclair, and Le judgement de Pâris...
John Edwin Henken
(b Madrid, Aug 3, 1823; d Madrid, Feb 17, 1894). Spanish composer, musicologist, conductor and critic. Barbieri’s father died in 1823 and the composer used his matronym throughout his life although, in the heated polemic wars of the period, that was sometimes held against him as an Italianate pretence.
Barbieri received his early music training from his maternal grandfather and entered the fledgling Royal Conservatory in 1837, studying the clarinet with Ramón Broca, the piano with Albéniz y Basanta, singing with Saldoni and composition with Carnicer. In 1841 his family moved to Lucena, but Barbieri remained in Madrid, eking out a living as a clarinettist, pianist, teacher and copyist. His earliest compositions were songs and dances, and a paso doble for a militia band in which he played. He also sang baritone roles in Italian operas at the Conservatory and the Teatro del Circo. He wrote the libretto for a one-act zarzuela but did not complete the music in time for its scheduled première in ...
revised by Angel Medina
(b Madrid, March 16, 1928). Spanish composer and critic. He studied in Madrid at the conservatory and at the university, where he received the doctorate (1956). Although he followed courses under Messiaen and Ligeti, he is fundamentally a self-taught composer. He was a founder member of the Grupo Nueva Música (1958) and of ‘Zaj’ (1964–6), a musical theatre group. In 1967 he launched the Sonda magazine and the associated series of new music concerts. He was also music critic of the Madrid newspaper Ya (1971–8) and deputy director of Ritmo (1982–93). He has translated into Spanish numerous books, including works by Reger, Schoenberg, Schenker and Piston. He has been awarded various distinctions, such as the National Prize for Music (1973), the City of Madrid Prize for Musical Creation (1992) and the Gold Medal of Merit in Fine Arts (...
Claude V. Palisca
(b Florence, Feb 5, 1534; d Sept 1612). Italian literary critic, poet, playwright and composer. As host to the Camerata and patron of Vincenzo Galilei and Giulio Caccini he gave the main impetus to the movement that led to the first experiments in lyrical and dramatic monody.
Bardi evidently received a good literary education, since he knew both Greek and Latin. His youth, however, is notable mostly for military exploits. In 1553 he served in the war against Siena under Grand Duke Cosimo I of Tuscany and in 1565 under the command of Chiappino Vitelli in the defence of Malta against the Ottoman Empire. He was one of the captains who commanded the infantry sent by Duke Cosimo to help the Emperor Maximilian II defeat the Turks in Hungary. In 1562 he married Lucrezia Salviati, daughter of Piero Salviati. He enjoyed the favour of Grand Duke Francesco I, who depended on him particularly for the organization of court festivities. But when Francesco's brother became grand duke as Ferdinando I in ...
(b Turin, April 25, 1719; d Marylebone, London, May 5, 1789). Italian man of letters. His Fetonte sulle rive del Po was set by G.A. Giai (1750, Turin). In January 1751 he left Italy, where he had a considerable literary reputation, for an appointment at the Italian Opera in London. Shortly after his arrival he wrote two facetious pamphlets relating to a dispute between the actors and the lessee of the Opera. He adapted selected odes of Horace as a sort of Masonic oratorio. Seeking a composer able to avoid the vocal clichés and long ritornellos of Italian opera and ‘to temper alternately the solemnity of church music with the brilliancy of the theatrical’, Baretti chose Philidor, with whom he discussed ‘every syllable … with respect to the best way of expressing musically the meaning of Horace’. Carmen saeculare was performed in London in 1779 and in Paris the year after. Baretti wrote in his copy of Johnson’s ...
Jamie C. Kassler
(b London, 1727; d London, March 14, 1800). English lawyer and writer on music. The fourth son of John Shute, 1st Viscount Barrington, he was called to the Bar from the Inner Temple and held public offices between 1751 and 1785. His eldest sister, Sarah, married the amateur musician and music theorist Robert Price. Barrington’s writings on music are remarkable for their observations on two relatively new topics: child music prodigies and animal communication. The former contains valuable firsthand accounts of five ‘infant’ musicians (Mozart, Charles and Samuel Wesley, William Crotch and Garret Wesley, 1st Earl of Mornington), and the latter includes an article on birdsong that was cited by Charles Darwin some hundred years later.‘Account of a Very Remarkable Musician [W.A. Mozart]. In a Letter from the Honourable Daines Barrington, F.R.S. to Mathew Maty, M.D. Sec. R.S.’, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 60 (1770), 54–64...
[Caspar Bartholin Secundus ]
(b Copenhagen, Sept 10, 1655; d ?Copenhagen, June 11, 1738). Danish anatomist, doctor of medicine, and polymath. Scion of a famous family of doctors and natural philosophers, he began medical studies with his father in 1671 and three years later was appointed professor of philosophy by King Christian IV. He then travelled for several years, and working in Paris with the anatomist Joseph Guichard Duverney, he first described ‘Bartholin’s glands’ in a cow. Returning to Copenhagen, he took up medical practice and taught medicine and anatomy. In 1678 his father conferred on him the doctorate in medicine. Among his writings on various scientific subjects, in De tibiis veterum, et earum antiquo usu libri tres (Amsterdam, 1677, 1679) he discussed the wind instruments of antiquity. Like many of his publications this one was based mostly on previous authors’ work rather than first-hand research, but it was influential, for example being cited uncritically by Filippo Bonanni (...
(b Créteil, France, Nov 30, 1907; d San Antonio, TX, October 25, 2012). Cultural historian, critic, and teacher of French birth. Born into the artistic environs of French modernism, he wrote widely on Western culture and its documents, founding the discipline of cultural history at Columbia University, where he spent his academic career.
After leaving France for America in 1920, he attended Columbia University (BA 1927, PhD 1932) where he lectured on contemporary civilization from 1927, becoming assistant professor (1937), professor (1945), Seth Low Professor of History (1955), Provost (1958–67), and University Professor (1967–75). He also served as president of the American Academy of Arts (1972–5, 1977–8), and was made an Extraordinary Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University in 1960.
Barzun regarded culture as a fabric of interwoven ideas which historians should trace through time, and between which exist a series of links: “because culture is a web of many strands; none is spun by itself, nor is any cut off at a fixed date.” He viewed music through the prism of a broader culture, typified in the scope of ...
(b Livorno, Nov 29, 1818; d Florence, Nov 25, 1885). Italian music critic. Brought up in a wealthy Jewish family, he embarked simultaneously on classical and musical studies. He graduated in medicine from Pisa University and studied composition under Pietro Romani, having an opera performed in Florence in 1840 and another in 1847. Both were unsuccessful with the general public, although praised by some connoisseurs. Giving up composition, he soon became a prominent figure in Florentine cultural life as a critic and organizer. He founded and edited the journal L'armonia (1856–9). Through him began the Mattinate Beethoveniane, a series of concerts from which derived the Società del Quartetto di Firenze (1861), whose journal Boccherini (1862–82) he also edited, as well as a cycle of concerts of dramatic music (1865) dedicated to classic Italian opera composers such as Sacchini and Spontini, then largely forgotten. In ...
John C.G. Waterhouse
(b San Domenico di Fiesole, Florence, June 20, 1883; d Tunis, Sept 22, 1927). Italian critic, composer and pianist. Largely self-taught, he became music critic of the newspapers La nazione (Florence) from 1915 to 1918 and Il resto del Carlino (Bologna) during 1919–23. He also taught composition and music history at the Nuova Scuola di Musica, Florence (1917). From 1909 to 1915 he regularly contributed to the influential Florentine cultural periodical La voce. His books, notably La crisi musicale europea (1912) in which he explored in depth the idea of decadence, are among the most thought-provoking written by any Italian musician of the time; and he had a knowledge and understanding of current trends (Skryabin, Schoenberg, etc.) which was then rare. His ideas exerted an important influence on progressive Italian musical opinion, and particularly on other composers: in 1911 he was the chief spokesman for a short-lived pressure group known as La Lega dei Cinque or ‘I “Cinque” Italiani’, whose other members were Pizzetti, G. F. Malipiero, Respighi and Renzo Bossi. Bastianelli’s propaganda advocated ‘the ...
(b Prague, Dec 14, 1868; d Vienna, April 24, 1922). Austrian critic and writer of Czech descent . After graduating in German and musicology at the German University in Prague he worked as an editor (Neue Revue, Kunstwart) and as a music critic (Bohemia, Prager Tagblatt). In 1908 he moved to Vienna, where he continued his activities, editing Der Merker with Richard Specht and writing reviews for the Wiener Fremdenblatt. He also taught history of opera at the academy (1909–14). His publications include Aus der Opernwelt: Prager Kritiken und Skizzen (Munich, 1907) and Allgemeine Geschichte der Musik (Stuttgart, 1909–15). In addition to his writings on music, where he was one of the first German-speaking writers to deal with Czech music, he translated Czech, Italian and French operas into German, and wrote several opera librettos himself.Der polnische Jude (with V. Léon...
revised by Philip E.J. Robinson
(b Paris, Jan 24, 1732; d Paris, May 18, 1799). French writer. The son of a clockmaker, he defended his invention of a watch escapement mechanism against theft by the royal clockmaker Lepaute, whom he replaced at court in 1755. He subsequently became harp teacher to the daughters of Louis XV and, thanks to contact with the homme d’affaires Pâris-Duverney, was ultimately able to buy himself into the nobility. In his Essai sur le genre dramatique sérieux (1767), the preface to his Eugénie, he took up the ideas of Diderot in favour of a distinct genre of drame, different from both French classical tragedy and comedy. His works in this genre outnumber his Figaro comedies, and even these show its influence: he returned to it fully in the third Figaro play, La mère coupable (1792). His racy parades, playlets written for the high-society private stage, served as an apprenticeship in comic musical theatre, particularly in the use of vaudevilles (well-known tunes sung, as part of the dramatic text, to new words). ...