(b Manchester, April 27, 1803; d Vienna, Nov 23, 1848). German critic, composer and teacher. The son of a Hanau merchant who had settled in Manchester, he was taken as a child to Germany. He studied law in Jena, Berlin, Heidelberg and Leiden, taking a doctorate despite his prosecution for ‘demagogic activities’; his first compositions date from this time. Already an ardent revolutionary, in whom Wagner detected ‘a certain wildness and vehemence’ (Mein Leben), he held various posts in rapid succession, including those of lawyer in Elberfeld (c1830), editor of a Cologne commercial newspaper founded by his father, the Handelsblatt (1834), and critic for the Kölner Zeitung and Neue Zeitschrift für Musik. On the failure of the Handelsblatt, he devoted himself entirely to music. After the death of his father and his wife he moved to The Hague to teach theory and aesthetics at the Royal Music School (...
(b Berlin, Sept 11, 1882; d New York, March 7, 1937). German critic and writer on music. He studied the violin with Rehfeld, the piano with Sormann and theory with Horwitz. After working as a freelance violinist in Berlin and as a conductor at Aschaffenburg (1902–3) and Görlitz (1903–4), he became music critic of the Berliner neueste Nachrichten in 1906; in 1909 he moved to the Berliner allgemeine Zeitung and in 1911 became chief critic of the Frankfurter Zeitung (1911–23). Bekker’s position was an influential one, and he took full advantage of it, helped by his brilliant style and his extensive theoretical and practical knowledge. He was a judicious advocate of Mahler, Schoenberg and Schreker, but less enthusiastic about Strauss and Berg. Pfitzner attacked Bekker in Die neue Aesthetik der musikalischen Impotenz (1920); in that same year Busoni formulated his aesthetic of ‘Junge Klassizität’ in his correspondence with Bekker, parts of which were published in the ...
David J. Hough
[Geddes, Norman ]
(b Adrian, MI, April 27, 1893; d New York, May 8, 1958). American stage designer. He studied briefly at the Cleveland School of Art, but had no formal education after the age of 16. His first wife, Helen Belle Sneider, became his collaborator, and ‘Norman-Bel-Geddes’ was their nom de plume for articles on art and the theatre, until their divorce in 1932. Notable designs for Montemezzi’s La nave for Chicago Opera (1919) and Henry Hadley’s Cleopatra’s Night for the Metropolitan (1920) attracted Broadway attention, and his innovative approach was soon recognized. At an early stage of his career he discarded the proscenium arch and planned open-stage projects. For a commission in 1924 to design Vollmöller’s morality play The Miracle with Humperdinck’s music for Max Reinhardt, he converted the theatre into a Gothic cathedral. His work for Broadway included Kurt Weill’s The Eternal Road (...
(b Novosibirsk, Russian SFSR [now Russia], March 16, 1947). Russian drummer, writer, broadcaster, and educator. He began playing jazz in 1962, and after graduating from the state medical institute in Novosibirsk in 1971 he pursued a dual career as a jazz musician and an obstetrician. In 1975 he established Tvorcheskoye Dhazovoye Ob’yedinenie (Creative Jazz Unity), the first association of musicians and jazz promoters east of the Urals. He performed with Vladimir Tolkachev in the Musical Improvising Trio (1975–9), with Igor Dmitriev in various groups (including, from 1977, Zolotoye Gody Dhaza (Golden Jazz Years), with Vytautas Labutis in the quartet SibLitMash (Siberian-Lithuanian Jazz Machine, 1980s), and with Vagif Sadykhov in another quartet (1998), while also working as a freelance with Vladimir Chekasin, Anatoly Vapirov, Igor Butman, Joe Locke, Paul Bollenback, and former members of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, among others. In 1990 he began to broadcast on radio, and in ...
revised by Malcolm Turner
(b Paris, May 24, 1858; d Paris, Oct 4, 1930). French critic. While studying law, he took music and piano lessons from Paladilhe and entered the Paris Conservatoire to study with Marmontel; in 1878 he won a premier prix for piano playing. A few years later he turned to music criticism, to which he devoted the rest of his life; he began in 1884, writing for the Correspondant, and in 1885 succeeded Blaze de Bury as music critic for the influential Revue des deux mondes, for which he wrote until a few months before his death. From 1886 to 1893 he was the editor for Année musicale (from 1892 Année musicale et dramatique). He also contributed numerous articles to all the foremost journals of the time, including Le temps, Le Figaro, Le gaulois and Echo de Paris.
Bellaigue exercised enormous influence through his writings. Thanks to his training as a pianist he was able to pronounce authoritatively on the deficiencies of others; his critical judgments were delivered magisterially, received deferentially. His biggest campaigns were fought in the field of opera, where he condemned the influence of Wagner and championed Italian music (especially Verdi) and French music (though he made a bitter attack on Debussy's ...
revised by Iosif Genrikhovich Rayskin
(b Uralsk region, Feb 6, 1888; d Moscow, Feb 16, 1968). Russian musicologist, folksong scholar and music critic. He graduated in 1914 in composition from the Petrograd Conservatory, where he had studied with Glazunov, Lyadov and Jāzeps Vītols. Having joined the staff of the conservatory the previous year, he was appointed senior lecturer in 1916 and professor of theory in 1919. After the October Revolution he participated in the work of various state musical organizations, and in 1922, after moving to Moscow, he was elected a member of the Academy of Artistic Sciences. During the 1920s he was an active figure in the Association for Contemporary Music, whose journal Sovremennaya muzïka (‘Contemporary Music’) he edited together with V.V. Derzhanovsky and L.L. Sabaneyev. He also pursued a wide range of activities as a music critic, writing for Soviet and foreign publications. Belyayev taught at the Moscow Conservatory (1938–40...
(b Filettole, nr Prato, Aug 10, 1877; d Zoagli, Dec 18, 1949). Italian dramatist . After working as a journalist, he wrote a successful comedy, Tignola, but thereafter turned to historical tragedies in hendecasyllabic verse set in the Italian Middle Ages and Renaissance, in the manner of D’Annunzio. La cena della beffe won international acclaim; it and five others were set as operas by Italian composers. After a period of adherence to Fascism (he sat in Parliament from 1921 until the murder of Matteotti in 1924) Benelli distanced himself from the regime and concentrated on writing plays with philosophical themes. He emigrated to Switzerland but returned to Italy after the end of World War II.L’amore dei tre re, Montemezzi, 1913; Il mantellaccio, Setaccioli, comp. 1913, broadcast 1954; La cena delle beffe, Giordano, 1924; Rosmunda, E. Trentinaglia, 1929; Gorgona, L. Landi, comp. c1933; Proserpina, R. Bianchi, 1938...
(b Bethlehem, PA, July 22, 1898; d New York, March 13, 1943). American writer. He wrote poetry and prose with great facility, producing a wide variety of works: light verse, short stories, novels, essays, reviews, and long poems. Though their quality is uneven, they include several important works, notably the epic poem John Brown’s Body (New York, 1928) for which he received a Pulitzer Prize. Many of Benét’s subjects come from American history or folklore. Among the many American composers who have been drawn to his poetry are Randall Thompson, Leslie Bassett, Gail Kubik, and Douglas Moore (who also set poems by Benét’s brother William Rose Benét, 1886–1950). Moore was a lifelong friend of Benét’s, and the two worked closely together on the one-act opera The Devil and Daniel Webster. This tale first appeared in 1936 as a short story in the Saturday Evening Post. Its spectacle of bringing the dead to life and the drama of its final courtroom scene make it excellent material for the stage. The opera version, first produced in ...
Arthur D. Walker
(b Berkeley, Glos., Nov 29, 1831; d Purton, nr Berkeley, June 12, 1911). English music critic and writer. He attended singing classes at Berkeley Town Hall, was solo boy in the parish church choir, and also studied the organ, violin, viola and cello. He was a church organist in Margate from 1853 to 1855, when he moved to London. In the early 1860s he served in the Regiment of Volunteers under Colonel J.H. Mapleson (later manager of Drury Lane Theatre).
Bennett was precentor of Weigh House Chapel and organist of Westminster Chapel, and in 1865 assisted Henry Coleman, music critic of the Sunday Times; when Coleman retired, Bennett was appointed in his place. In 1870 he joined the Daily Telegraph as leader writer and music critic, remaining there and exercising great influence until his retirement. In addition he wrote for the Pall Mall Gazette, Graphic, Pictorial Times and ...
(b Berlin, July 20, 1922; d Hamburg, Germany, Feb 4, 2000). German writer and record producer. Having first studied in Berlin he attended the University of Karlsruhe (1940–42). He was a founder in 1945 of the Südwestfunk Baden-Baden, where he led the jazz department until 1987, and in 1951 of the Deutsche Jazz Föderation. During the following decades he organized and directed many festivals and concert series (including Jazztime Baden-Baden, from 1947; the American Folk Blues Festival, 1962–8; the Berliner Jazztage, later known as the Jazzfest Berlin, 1964–72; the New Jazz Meeting Baden-Baden, which he founded in 1966; and the Olympic Games Jazz Festival in Munich, 1972) and was the producer and host of broadcasts both on radio (from the Baden-Baden festival) and television (“Jazz, gehört und gesehen,” 1954–72); he also organized an annual jazz concert at the Donaueschingen Festival for Contemporary Music (from ...
(b New York, NY, May 15, 1912; d Boston, MA, Oct 7, 2003). American composer and critic. He was a student at the Townsend Harris High School, the College of the City of New York, and New York University (BS 1934). During these years he espoused leftist politics and was a member—along with Bernard Herrmann, Jerome Moross, Israel Citkowitz, Vivian Fine, Elie Siegmeister, and others—of various radical composers’ groups including the Young Composers Group that formed around Aaron Copland. He was a fellowship student in the newly formed Professional Division of the Longy School of Music (1935–7) concurrently with graduate studies at Harvard University (MA 1936), where he trained in musicology with Hugo Leichtentritt, aesthetics with D.W. Prall, and theory and analysis with walter Piston . From 1937 to 1939 he studied theory with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. He taught at Mills College (1939–42...
(b Geneva, Oct 10, 1900; d Paris, May 2, 1971). French music critic and composer. He studied at Geneva Conservatoire and University with G.T. Strong, Otto Barblan and Joseph Lauber, and with L.F.A. Aubert in Paris (1926). During his wide-ranging career he worked as a concert pianist, choirmaster and conductor, and as a teacher at the Conservatoire International de Paris (1929) and Schola Cantorum (1937), but he was known chiefly as a music critic and composer. He wrote for several Parisian daily newspapers and edited various French music periodicals including the Revue musicale (1939–40, 1946–51) and L'information musicale (1940–44); his books are mainly about French music. His compositions include the operas Flen (1918), Le chevalier au Barizel (1919) and Polyphème (1922), orchestral music (including Les bergers d'Arcadie and Prélude au cimetière marin...
(fl Paris, late 10th and early 11th centuries). French mathematician. According to two late manuscripts used by Gerbert, he compiled a mathematical treatise, Prefacio libri abaci quem junior Bernelinus edidit Parisius ( I-Rvat lat.4539, f.1; see GerbertS, i, Praefatio, no.X; RISM, B/III/2, 1968, p.95). The treatise claims to be based on the doctrine of Gerbert d’Aurillac (d 1003) and can thus be dated to the late 10th or early 11th century. A musical treatise (GerbertS, i, 312–30; PL, cli, 651–74) is ascribed to Bernelinus in only one manuscript, I-Rvat Regin.lat.1661 (see RISM, B/III/2, p.119). It comprises two sections; the first, Dimidium proslambenomenos (GerbertS, i, 312), sometimes appears, anonymously, separately from the second, Rogatus a pluribus (GerbertS, i, 314), as for example in GB-Lbl Harl.3199, f.69v (RISM, B/III/4, 1992, p.82) and I-CEc S.XXVI.1, f.177v; and, according to Smits van Waesberghe, Berno (...
Patrick J. Smith
(b Munich, Germany, Sept 28, 1936). American music critic of German birth. He studied at Brown University (BA 1958), the Hochschule für Musik in Munich (1958–9), and under Gustave Reese at New York University (MA 1961). He was on the music staff of the New York Herald-Tribune (1959–62), assistant to Irving Kolodin at the Saturday Review (1962–5), music critic for the New York Post (1961–5), and music critic of the Los Angeles Times (1965–1996). He won the Deems Taylor Award for music criticism in 1974 and 1978 and the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 1982. Bernheimer is a widely respected and influential critic, who is particularly knowledgeable about opera and the voice. In addition to his activities as a journalist, he has taught criticism in various schools and universities, and has written about opera for various music journals, including ...
(b Tournai, May 26, 1898; d Ixelles, Brussels, Dec 12, 1981). Belgian composer and critic. After studying philosophy and law he applied himself to thorough music studies, taking composition lessons with Absil and Souris. If Bertouille’s attachment to traditional forms was reminiscent of neo-classicism, he considered melody as the essential element in music, assigning to it the expression of feeling as its principal objective. Avoiding any aggressivity in the sphere of harmony, he advocated aesthetic ideas opposed to the avant garde. In L’oeuvre d’art he argued that contemporary art had lost its way: by renouncing every structural principle it had ceased to have any meaning, existing only by virtue of its negations.
(b Calcio, nr Bergamo, Feb 2, 1819; d Florence, March 21, 1897). Italian music critic and composer. He studied the violin in Milan, and was taught composition by Vaccai. While still a student he wrote a comic opera Don Desiderio disperato per eccesso di buon cuore (1839) and his later works include the opera Martino delta Scala (1856, Messina), a Requiem (1856) and other sacred music, cantatas and songs. He was for some time a conductor. In 1847 he founded L’Italia musicale, and (as Ippolito d’Albano) contributed to the Gazzetta musicale di Milano and other periodicals. From 1863 he taught at the Istituto Musicale in Florence and was critic of La nazione; he played a major role in the city’s flourishing musical life.
Although Biaggi was a supporter of the German instrumental and chamber tradition, as an opera critic his standard was the Italian tradition that culminated in Rossini (he had met the composer in Paris), and he showed limited sympathy for opera of his own time. He did, however, adopt advanced ideas on Rossini, defending him against the formalistic criticism that categorized the composer as a mediocre dramatist and an unorthodox church composer. In his reviews of Beethoven performances, at that time manifestations of the avant garde in Italy, he on the one hand rejected any hedonistic concept of music, and on the other opposed the notion of ‘musical truth’ to the old canon of verisimilitude (the imitation of nature), that is, he stood for the principle of artistic creation according to its own laws. He consequently also upheld the artistic autonomy of sacred music, defending the composer’s freedom of language even in that sphere. A large work on the life and work of Rossini, the outgrowth of his essay of ...
(b ?Dublin, Sept 26, 1733; d ?1808). English playwright of Irish birth. He served in the army before moving to London and drew on his military experience in his libretto for the patriotic afterpiece Thomas and Sally (1760). His successful Covent Garden piece Love in a Village (1762) started a new fashion in opera, as The Beggar’s Opera had done decades earlier. He combined a witty, romantic plot in spoken dialogue with sophisticated music drawn from continental comic opera. The pasticcio score is derived mostly from Italian opera, from oratorio, and from the songs of Thomas Arne, but uses little traditional English music, which Bickerstaff despised. As in ballad opera, the songs help to advance the action, but they also demand well-trained singers and full orchestral accompaniment.
Bickerstaff’s innovation spread quickly in the London theatre. He continued to vary the form: The Maid of the Mill...
Klaus Wolfgang Niemöller
(b Ober- or Niedermarsberg, c1560; d after 1595). German writer and theologian. During his youth he lived for a time at Emden and in 1581 matriculated at the University of Marburg, but in 1582 he transferred to Rostock, where he studied with David Chyträus. He was again living at Marburg in 1587. In 1588 he matriculated at the University of Basle, where on 15 May 1593 he became a doctor of theology. He gave some lectures at Kassel in 1590. Between 1584 and 1596 he published numerous learned books on grammar, rhetoric and so on, among them Syntagma Philippo-Rameum artium liberalium (Basle, 1588, 2/1596), which includes a chapter on music (‘De musica’, 355–60). In this book, which he wrote for a private pupil at Marburg in ten weeks in 1587, he steered a middle course – as its title suggests – between the views of Philipp Melanchthon and Petrus Ramus. In the chapter on music he subscribed to Ramus’s definition ‘Musica est ars bene canendi’ as well as to the rules for ligatures set out by Friedrich Beurhaus, whose ...
(b Douai, Aug 29, 1789; d Paris, March 3, 1855). French dramatist . While a clerk in the Droits Réunis in Lille he published pamphlets attacking the restored Bourbon monarchy, and was transferred to the Ministère des Finances in Paris. His first dramatic work, the tragedy Lothaire, written in collaboration with one F. Hay, was published in 1817 but not performed. Attila, a five-act verse tragedy, opened to acclaim at the Odéon, Paris, on 26 April 1822; its success, however, was probably due to Mlle George’s acting and to some propaganda that led to the banning of the tragedy. Blanche d’Aquitaine (Comedie-Française, 29 October 1827) also had marked political leanings; this play was probably the source upon which Felice Romani based his libretto for Donizetti’s Ugo, conte di Parigi (1832). Though not a particularly proficient playwright, Bis was called on to shorten Etienne de Jouy’s version of Schiller’s drama for Rossini’s ...
(b Dessau, Nov 27, 1794; d Cologne, Feb 24, 1867). German music critic, writer and teacher. After participating in the Napoleonic Wars, he studied philology in Berlin, had a notable career as teacher and school director that included 26 years in Wesel, and moved in 1850 to Cologne to become music critic of the Kölnische Zeitung and to found the Rheinische (later Niederrheinische) Musikzeitung, which he edited and to which he contributed until his death. His writings, distinguished by their musical acuity and vivid expressiveness, strove to raise the public's musical standards and served as a voice for the lower Rhineland.
Bischoff venerated certain values in the music of the past as representing the highest in musical art. His writings reflect the then growing enthusiasm for Handel and Bach, while his aesthetic ideals were realized in the music of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. He held an ambivalent position towards Romantic music, admiring its expressive qualities but decrying a perceived decline in the accessibility, formal integrity and universality that he most valued. While he supported contemporary composers active in Cologne (e.g. Ferdinand Hiller, Carl Reinecke, Eduard Franck, Reinthaler, Bargiel and Bruch), his encounter with the progressive New German School of Liszt and Wagner, supported by a dedicated band of critics and essayists, impelled him to become one of its first and most outspoken opponents....