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Article

Charles Barber and José A. Bowen

(de)

(b Thessaloniki, Jan 6, 1903; d Salt Lake City, Sept 22, 1993). American conductor of Spanish-Portuguese descent. He was taken to Switzerland at the age of six and studied medicine at the University of Lausanne before, on Busoni’s recommendation, he moved to Berlin in 1922 to study with Weill. He conducted in provincial German theatres and finally in Berlin until 1933, when he moved to Paris to conduct the Balanchine ballet company and the première of Weill’s ballet Die sieben Todsünden. The following year he toured Australia with the British National Opera Company. On the recommendation of Walter and Furtwängler, he was hired by the Metropolitan Opera, making his début with Samson et Dalila in 1936. In an era of specialization, the mainly negative reviews for his mixed repertory of French opera and Wagner forced him out in 1938. He turned to Broadway, where he renewed his association with Weill, conducting the premières in New York of ...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(‘The Departure’)

Musikalisches Lustspiel in one act by Eugen d’ Albert to a libretto by Ferdinand von Sporck after a comedy by August von Steigentesch (1828); Frankfurt, 28 October 1898.

The action takes place in late 18th-century Germany. Gilfen (baritone), whose relationship with his wife Luise (soprano) has cooled, debates whether or not to go on a long-planned but much delayed journey: an absence might help his marriage, but he is suspicious of the motives of his friend Trott (tenor) in encouraging the journey and making the necessary arrangements. Finally Gilfen pretends to leave, but returns almost at once, to discover that Trott has wasted no time before pressing his attentions on Luise. Gilfen and his wife are reconciled, while it is Trott who takes the journey he has so carefully planned.

D’Albert’s lighthearted score shows little or no trace of the verismo style that he cultivated in Tiefland and some of his later works. The influence of Cornelius and of the German romantics such as Lortzing is much stronger, though d’Albert, a musician of mixed cultural heritage, also owed, at least in this delightful piece, a certain allegiance to French style at the end of the 19th century as represented by Chabrier....

Article

Ronald C. Purcell

[el Portugués]

(b c1750; fl Salamanca; d c1820). Portuguese guitarist (or of Portuguese descent). He provided the rules and music to his guitar method, Escuela para tocar con perfección la guitarra de cinco y seis órdenes con reglas generales de mano izquierda y derecha. P.F. Victor Prieto (organist at the Royal Monastery in Salamanca) discovered Abreu's manuscript and published it under the original title in Salamanca in 1799 with supplementary material concerning the origins of the guitar and a historical view of the aesthetics of music. Abreu's method offers a systematic approach to pedagogy, and is one of the first to treat the guitar having six double courses, the precursor to the 19th-century guitar with six single strings. It also discusses guitar accompaniment in the orchestra and, of special note, describes in detail the preparation of right-hand fingernails.

SubiráHME B. Saldoni: Diccionario biográfico-bibliográfico de efemérides de músicos españoles...

Article

Carmen Helena Téllez

(b Valera, May 7, 1939). Venezuelan cultural administrator. He founded the Venezuelan youth orchestra system. He earned degrees in economics from the Central University of Venezuela (1961) and composition and organ from the José Angel Lamas School of Music, Caracas (1964, 1966). From 1966 to 1974 he occupied various political and administrative positions, was a member of the Venezuelan parliament and worked for the Instituto Nacional de Cultura y Bellas Artes.

In the mid-1970s Abreu proposed a new system of youth orchestras coupling the needs of music education with the aim of national affirmation and social assistance for underprivileged young people. This network of orchestras, comprising students of all ages in all regions of the country, revolutionized the training of orchestra musicians but caused controversy among conservatory teachers and established professionals, some of whom questioned the project's empirical emphasis and criticized an arguably insufficient academic support. In spite of controversy and changing political and economic circumstances, the Simón Bolívar Orchestra in Caracas, the flagship ensemble of the movement, gradually attained professional status, outranking the traditional orchestras in Venezuela and earning a reputation as the best in Latin America during the 1990s....

Article

Rainer E. Lotz

[Giovanni]

(bSan Girolamo di Lusiana, province of Vicenza, Italy, May 15, 1898; dMilan, Aug 1960). Italianbandleader, saxophonist, and violinist. He was brought up in Switzerland, where he formed a café orchestra with his brother Felice, who played banjo and violin. From 1925 to 1932 he toured Italy, Germany, and Switzerland and made several recordings as a leader for Homocord (1927–8, including Just Once Again, 2514, and Say it with a Red Rose, 2524, both 1928), in which Arthur Briggs may have taken part. Abriani held an engagement in Calcutta from 1932 to 1934, during which time he recorded for HMV’s Twin label. After returning to Europe he toured (1934–9) and made further recordings (1937–9), and then settled in Italy. Although he was not himself a jazz soloist, he often employed excellent jazz players as his sidemen. (A. Mazzoletti: Il jazz in Italia: dalle origini al dopoguerra...

Article

Mario Rey

(b Havana, Cuba, Feb 26, 1942). Cuban-American guitarist, composer, arranger, and educator; immigrated to the United States and naturalized in 1975. He studied piano and composition at the Conservatorio Orbón in Havana, and guitar under Héctor García and Julian Bream. Abril participated in the Bay of Pigs invasion (1961) and was consequently incarcerated for twenty-two months in Cuba. Returning to the United States, he established a performing and recording career as a classical guitarist, whose arrangements for the instrument have been published worldwide. He holds the PhD degree in music theory from Florida State University.

A series of medical issues with his hands during the 1980s subsequently redirected his focus to composition. Rejecting atonality and traditional developmental procedures in his early works, Abril cultivated a compositional style characterized by tonal and often polytonal harmony and linear writing. Although not a folklorist, he shows an affinity for Cuban musical culture, particularly in the rhythmic component. His compositions include ...

Article

Absatz  

Article

Clive Brown

(Ger.).

As a musical term, absetzen has two meanings: (1) to separate one note from another, as is usual in staccato performance and (2) to transcribe vocal music into tablature for some solo instrument, for example lute or organ. In the 18th century Quantz described staccato playing in general as abgesetzet, and his use of the term implied lifted, off-string bow strokes on the violin; but not all staccato notes (e.g. quavers in Allegro passages and semiquavers in Allegretto) were to be abgesetzt in this sense (see Bow, §II, 2(vii) and Aufheben). For a discussion of this usage, see BoydenH, pp.412f. In its second meaning the term was in general use from the 16th to the 18th centuries. For example, the title-page of Elias Nicolaus Ammerbach’s Ein new künstlich Tabulaturbuch (Nuremberg, 1575) states that the collection includes motets and German lieder ‘auff die Orgel unnd Instrument abgesetzt’.

See also...

Article

Barry Jean Ancelet

(b nr Gueydan, LA, June 27, 1913; d Basile, LA, May 13, 1981). American cajun accordionist, singer, and songwriter. He came from a musical family; his father, mother, and at least one uncle played instruments. He was among the second generation of Cajun musicians to record, in the 1930s, and helped lead a revival of accordion and traditional Cajun music after World War II. He sometimes performed with Amédé Ardoin. The titles of some of his best known songs, such as “Service Blues” and “French Blues, indicate that blues was a major influence. In 1949 Abshire had a regional (Gulf Coast) hit with “The Pine Grove Blues,” after which he named his band, the Pine Grove Boys. Its various lineups included such musicians as Will Kegley (fiddle), Ernest Thibodeaux (guitar), Atlas Frugé (steel guitar), and Robert Bertrand (fiddle and vocals), and its best known recordings were released by Swallow Records. In the 1960s Abshire performed with Dewey Balfa and his brothers at colleges and festivals across the country and in doing so helped bring Cajun music to the national folk music circuit. He was featured in several documentary films, including ...

Article

Henri Vanhulst

(Nicolas Joseph)

(b Bonsecours, Hainaut, Oct 23, 1893; d Uccle, Brussels, Feb 2, 1974). Belgian composer. He studied the organ, the piano and harmony with Alphonse Oeyen, organist of Bonsecours. He continued his studies at the Ecole St Grégoire, Tournai, where he gave his first organ recital in 1912. In 1913 he entered the Brussels Conservatory to study with Desmet (organ), Edouard Samuel (practical harmony) and (from 1915) Lunssens (written harmony). He took a first prize for organ and harmony in 1916 and, after a year’s further work with Paulin Marchand (counterpoint) and Léon Du Bois (fugue), another for counterpoint and fugue. Abandoning the idea of a career as an organist, he went to Gilson for composition lessons (1920–22). In 1921 his First Symphony won the Agniez Prize; in 1921 he took the second Belgian Prix de Rome with the cantata La guerre and was appointed director of the Etterbeek Music School. From ...

Article

Roger Scruton

The term ‘absolute music’ denotes not so much an agreed idea as an aesthetic problem. The expression is of German origin, first appearing in the writings of Romantic philosophers and critics such as J.L. Tieck, J.G. Herder, W.H. Wackenroder, Jean Paul Richter and E.T.A. Hoffmann. It features in the controversies of the 19th century – for example, in Hanslick’s spirited defence of absolute Tonkunst against the Gesamtkunstwerk of Wagner – and also in the abstractions of 20th-century musical aesthetics. It names an ideal of musical purity, an ideal from which music has been held to depart in a variety of ways; for example, by being subordinated to words (as in song), to drama (as in opera), to some representational meaning (as in programme music), or even to the vague requirements of emotional expression. Indeed, it has been more usual to give a negative than a positive definition of the absolute in music. The best way to speak of a thing that claims to be ‘absolute’ is to say what it is not....

Article

Richard Parncutt and Daniel J. Levitin

The ability either to identify the chroma (pitch class) of any isolated tone, using labels such as C, 261 Hz or do (‘passive’ absolute pitch), or to reproduce a specified chroma – for example, by singing or adjusting the frequency of a tone generator – without reference to an external standard (‘active’ absolute pitch (AP): Bachem, 1937; Baggaley, 1974; Ward, 1982). Both skills may be called ‘tone-AP’. Absolute pitch may also involve recognizing whether a familiar piece is played in the correct key (passive), or singing a familiar song in the correct key (active); this skill is known as ‘piece-AP’.

Cognitively, both tone- and piece-AP involve two separate sub-skills: long-term pitch memory and an appropriate form of linguistic coding for attaching labels to stimuli (Levitin, 1994). True tone-AP requires individual internal pitch standards for all 12 chroma. This template can shift with age by as much as two semitones (Vernon, ...

Article

Clive Brown

[Stossen].

The normal German equivalent of the Italian verb staccare (‘to separate or detach; to play staccato’); the noun Stoss was used to mean staccato. Like its Italian counterpart it implies not only separation but also, in many cases, accent. Stoss means literally a blow or shove and the verb means to push, shove or jab. The prefix ab- indicates ‘off’. J.G. Walther, in his Musicalisches Lexicon, 1732, made a distinction between staccato and stoccato deriving the one from staccare (Ger. entkleben, ablösen), and the other from stocco (‘a stick’; Ger. Stock), which he considered to imply that the note was pushed or jabbed (gestossen). Walther's etymology, whether accurate or not, emphasizes the dual meaning of the term staccato in German usage. It was often, especially in the context of keyboard playing, used merely to indicate that notes were to be shortened; thus Türk equated the noun ...

Article

Erik Levi

(‘Abstract Opera no.1’)

Opera in one act, op.43, by Boris Blacher to a libretto by Werner Egk; Mannheim, Nationaltheater, 17 October 1953 (previously broadcast on Hessischer Rundfunk, 28 June 1953).

This 35-minute opera scored for soprano, tenor and baritone, mixed choir and instrumental ensemble is divided into seven self-contained scenes entitled Angst (Fear), Liebe I (Love 1), Schmerz (Pain), Verhandlung (Negotiation), Panik (Panic), Liebe II (Love 2) and Angst (Fear). There is no conventional plot as such; rather the opera, constructed in arch-form, offers an exploration of various states of mind. The vocal writing dispenses with comprehensible speech and relies on syllables and stage gestures to make its effect. In the opening scene the dialogue between the three soloists consists entirely of primeval wails based on the sound patterns of ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’. Following this is the first love scene which ends in hilarity when a dressmaker’s dummy is shot by the soprano. At the centre of the work lies the fourth scene, ‘Verhandlung’, in which an infantile and barely comprehensible discussion between a Russian (baritone) and American diplomat (tenor) breaks down through lack of communication. With the return to the ‘Angst’ scene at the end of the opera comes an overriding feeling of the futility of modern life....

Article

Peter Walls

(Ger.).

In string playing Abstrich and Aufstrich denote ‘down-bow’ and ‘up-bow’, respectively. ‘Down-bow’ is indicated by the sign (a stylized representation of the frog of the bow) and ‘up-bow’ by (representing the point of the bow). These symbols were first described by Baillot (L'art du violon, 1834) who implied that they had been in general use for some time. ...

Article

Edward F. Kravitt

(b Eilenburg, Dec 22, 1819; d Wiesbaden, March 31, 1885). German composer. His father, a clergyman and an enthusiastic pianist, gave him his first instruction in music; he then went to Leipzig to study theology and music at the university and the Thomasschule. There he made friends with Lortzing, Mendelssohn and Schumann. On the death of his father (1837), he decided to concentrate entirely on music. Though engaged in Bernburg (1841) as Kapellmeister, he soon left for Zürich, distinguishing himself there as an outstanding and immensely popular choirmaster. He was appointed director of nearly all of its numerous choral societies in succession, often winning prizes for them. In 1852 he became conductor at the opera house in Brunswick, which had been designated a national theatre in 1818. He was appointed director of the Hofkapelle in 1855. Faithful to his first love, choral conducting, he developed an international reputation and was invited to conduct in many capital cities of Europe. A spectacular reception awaited him on his tour of the USA (...

Article

Abu  

[bu]

Large, complex horn of the Luo people of Kenya. It is formed from a round gourd to which is affixed an elongated gourd neck joined at the top to a cow or antelope horn. It is side-blown through a hole near the tip of the animal horn. The sections are joined with beeswax, and the instrument is dampened with water before use to seal any cracks. It is played at funerals and other functions. The player introduces a song, and after the chorus enters he plays the ...

Article

Clive Brown

Singspiel in one act, j106, by Carl Maria von Weber to a libretto by Franz Carl Hiemer after Antoine Galland’s story Le dormeur éveillé; Munich, Residenztheater, 4 June 1811.

Hiemer based his libretto on the second part of Galland’s version of the well-known tale of ‘Abu Hassan, or The Sleeper Awakened’ from the Arabian Thousand and One Nights. In the opera Abu Hassan (tenor), cup-bearer to the Caliph, and his devoted wife Fatime (soprano) are being pressed for payment of debts by the moneylender Omar (bass), who is also unsuccessfully making advances to Fatime. Abu Hassan hits on the idea of pretending that his wife has died and claiming money from the Caliph (speaking role) for her funeral, while Fatime does the same with the Caliph’s wife, Zobeide (speaking role). They succeed in their plot, but when the Caliph and Zobeide try to discover which of them is really dead they both feign death. Abu Hassan, however, leaps up and reveals the subterfuge when he hears the Caliph offer 10 000 gold dinars to anyone who can clear up the mystery. For about half the opera Omar is imprisoned in a cupboard, where he has been forced to hide because of the unexpected return of Abu Hassan while Omar was trying to make love to the reluctant Fatime. Fatime explains to her husband, in an undertone, what has happened, and they decide to punish Omar by leaving him there in fear of discovery. When the Caliph is informed of Omar’s activities by Abu Hassan, at the end of the opera, he orders the cupboard to be taken to the city prison....

Article

Gordon D. Spearritt

Water drum of the Iatmul people, Papua New Guinea. It is made of hardwood, similar in shape to an hourglass drum, but lacks a membrane and has a projecting handle at the top, carved as the tail of a crocodile. When plunged into a water-filled pit, it produces sound as it breaks the surface, the sound representing the voice of an ancestor such as a crocodile. It is used mostly in or near ceremonial houses at initiation ceremonies. The term ‘abuk waak’ also refers to a senior age grade among Iatmul men and to the crocodile procession that precedes the initiation ceremony. Another water drum, the kamikaula, is in the shape of an upturned dish; during initiation, pairs of them are dropped upside down using ropes into a pit which might or might not contain water. Such water drums appear to be unique to the Middle Sepik region....

Article

Abume