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Article

Carolyn V. Ricketts

(b Venice, c1700; d Brunswick, ? Dec 13, 1745). Italian composer and violinist. Apparently a pupil of Vivaldi, he was recruited in 1727 by the theatre director Santo Burigotti to travel from Venice to Breslau and join the orchestra at the new Stadttheater. His first known compositions are arias that he contributed to the pasticcio Griselda (Breslau, summer 1728). In 1729 he entered the service of Friedrich August, Prince-Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, at the Dresden court. He was one of a group of 22 musicians chosen by Friedrich August to travel to Moscow in 1731; here he composed his only known cantata, for the first anniversary of the coronation of the Empress Anna Ivanova. When the Dresden musicians were recalled home, Verocai stayed on as a member of the Russian court orchestra and later moved with the court to St Petersburg, where he was involved in the first opera production in the city, ...

Article

Christopher Hogwood

revised by Janet K. Page

(b London, c1720; d ?10 May 1783). English oboist and composer . A pupil of Giuseppe Sammartini, his playing was praised by Hawkins. He is known to have played at the Foundling Hospital (1754, 1758) and was a member of the King’s Band in the 1760s. He was a founder-member of the Royal Society of Musicians (1739) and performed at many of its annual benefit concerts, 1743–68. In 1764–5 he became joint manager (with Gordon and Crawford) of the King’s Theatre while still playing in the orchestra, but the venture bankrupted him. A ‘Mr Vincent’, possibly Thomas, performed at the Rotunda in Dublin in 1770. In 1775 Vincent performed concertos at Drury Lane during the spring oratorio season; he had ‘not appeared in public for several years’ and was perhaps driven by financial necessity. He published Six Solos for a Hautboy, German Flute, Violin, or Harpsichord, with a Thorough Bass...

Article

Brian Boydell

(d ?Dublin, 1716). English violinist and composer . He was active in Dublin in the early 18th century, holding the position of Master of the State Music from 1703 until his death. His will was proved on 30 November 1716. In the present stage of research into this meagrely documented period of Dublin musical activity, little is known of the details of Viner's contribution. It is not clear, for instance, why the annual birthday ode was composed each year from 1709 by J.S. Kusser (known in Dublin as Cousser), who succeeded Viner as Master of the State Music in 1717. For the celebration of the Peace of Utrecht on 20 June 1713, Viner collaborated with Kusser in the preparation of special music for the Play House. Walsh published a set of solos for violin and bass which are described as ‘composed by the late Mr Viner of Dublin’, and Thomas Cross engraved a song by him, ...

Article

John Walter Hill

(b Cremona, Jan 10, 1683; d after in or 1713). Italian violinist and composer. The English edition of his op.1 identifies Visconti with the diminutive by which he was best known to the London public: Gasperini’s Solos … Composed by Seignr. Gasparo Visconti. The usual spelling of this name, ‘Gasparini’, often engenders confusion with Francesco Gasparini, a vocal composer of an earlier generation (see Gasparini family family (1)). Born into a noble family, Visconti apparently plied the trade of a musician for his own pleasure and during a relatively short period in his youth. For these reasons, notices about him are rare. We have Visconti’s word that he was ‘five years Corelli’s scholar’ before 1702. From then until 1705 Visconti was a frequent soloist at theatres and public halls in London, performing at court at least once with the flautist James Paisible. His sonatas for violin and flute enjoyed considerable vogue in England at that time. Visconti married Cristina Steffkin in ...

Article

Michael Talbot

revised by Nicholas Lockey

(Lucio)

(b Venice, 4 March 1678; d Vienna, 27/8 July 1741). Italian composer. The most original and influential Italian composer of his generation, he laid the foundations for the mature Baroque concerto. His contributions to musical style, violin technique, and the practice of orchestration were substantial, and he was a pioneer of orchestral programme music.

Vivaldi’s father Giovanni Battista (1655–1736), a tailor’s son, was born in Brescia. He moved with his widowed mother in 1666 to Venice, where he practised as a barber before becoming a professional violinist in early adulthood. Ten children, of whom Antonio was the second-eldest (a recently uncovered elder sister having died at less than two years of age), are known to have been born to his union with Camilla Calicchio (1653–1728), a tailor’s daughter, whom he married in June 1676. None of Antonio’s brothers and sisters became musicians, although Francesco (...

Article

(b ?Spain, c1670; d Dresden, Oct 7, 1728). Flemish violinist and composer . He was educated at the French court, and in 1692 became a violinist in the Elector of Brandenburg's court chapel in Berlin, where he was soon appointed Konzertmeister and given charge of dance and ballet music. As court dancing-master he was required to compose music for various ballets; he or C.F. Rieck composed Florens Frühlingsfest (1696), and he provided the entrances, dances and arias in the marriage opera of the crown prince Friedrich Wilhelm I in 1706, Der Sieg der Schönheit über die Helden (the remainder was written by Finger and Stricker). In neither case does the music survive, although the texts by the court poet Johann von Besser were published (Leipzig, 1732). Volumier was dismissed in 1708 after a dispute and entered the service of the Saxon court at Dresden, where in ...

Article

Robert L. Marshall

(b Mühlberg, Saxony, April 5, 1698; d Plauen, March 23, 1756). German violinist and composer . After receiving early training from his father, Wagner matriculated at the Thomasschule, Leipzig, on 18 May 1712, and continued there until 1718 as a pupil of Johann Kuhnau. From 1718 to 1726 he studied at the University of Leipzig. He may have become one of J.S. Bach’s first pupils in Leipzig in 1723, for the earliest known letter of recommendation in Bach’s hand concerns Wagner and was written in that year. During the next three years Wagner certainly served as his assistant and he presumably performed in Bach’s weekly church cantatas both as principal violinist and bass soloist. In 1726 Bach wrote four letters in support of Wagner’s application for the post of Kantor in Plauen, describing him thus: ‘he is thoroughly at home in composition …. He plays a good organ and clavier, is accomplished on the violin, violoncello, and other instruments, sings a bass that is, though not too strong, quite mannerly’. Wagner was approved unanimously and remained in Plauen until his death....

Article

(b Graz, bap. Dec 11, 1676; d Vienna, inquest Jan 2, 1740). Austrian amateur composer and lutenist. He worked in the book-keeping department of the Austrian exchequer and described himself as registrar and dispatcher (Expeditor). He was also a skilled lutenist. Though described as ‘officer of the exchequer’ in a document of 1712, he is called ‘lutenist’ in one dated 1708 and ‘cavalry officer’ in another. He had a wide range of interests and left a considerable collection of paintings (see Koczirz, 63). He wrote a number of pieces for lute solo and concerto-like works for lute and strings. He was a complete master of both polyphonic and chordal writing and in his later music cultivated the French galant style. His music enjoyed widespread popularity at the time, and he was highly regarded in Austria and Bohemia in particular, even though he was only an amateur....

Article

[Charles Frederick ]

(b Germany, ?early 18th century; d London, 1782). German flautist and composer. He spent the greater part of his career in England; the date of his arrival is not known, but he was in London by spring 1725 when he took part in a performance of Handel’s opera Tamerlano at the New Theatre in the Haymarket. This information derives from a handwritten note on Weideman’s own copy of a set of trio sonatas ascribed to Handel: ‘Tamerlan 1725. which was the first Opera I play’d in … C:W:’ (see Deutsch, p.174). By the time Quantz visited England in 1727 Weideman was firmly established as one of London’s leading flautists. He is also remembered as a co-founder, with Festing and Thomas Vincent, of a charitable ‘Fund for the Support of Decayed Musicians and their Families’. This institution, later known as the Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain, was founded in ...

Article

David Lasocki

(bap. Chelsea, London, Oct 9, 1690; d Chelsea, April 10, 1728). English composer and woodwind player . His parents ran a school for girls in Chelsea. The engraver George Vertue, who knew him, wrote that Woodcock had ‘a place or clerkship in the Government’ until about 1725, leaving to devote himself to marine painting, and that he was ‘very skillful in music, had judgement and performed on the hautboy in a masterly manner’. Hawkins called Woodcock ‘a famous performer on the flute [i.e. recorder]’, but he was more likely an enthusiastic amateur on the oboe, recorder and flute. He died of gout, leaving his family in penury.

In 1720 Woodcock set Newburgh Hamilton’s St Cecilia’s day ode, The Power of Musick (London, music lost). His only surviving compositions are a set of XII Concertos in Eight Parts (London, 1727), three for sixth flute (descant recorder in d″), three for two sixth flutes, three for flute and three for oboe; nine have no violas among the strings. They are of historical importance as the first flute concertos ever published and the first oboe concertos published by an English composer. Nos.1–4 and 6–8 are essentially Venetian in conception, with the fast–slow–fast sequence of movements; the main influences are Vivaldi and Albinoni. The first-movement ritornellos generally include attractive, well-contrasted and balanced phrases, but the passage-work in the episodes is routine and largely scalar. The slow movements are dances (sicilianas and sarabands) or Handelian adagios, and the finales are simple dances or binary movements with regular phrases echoed as variations. Nos.5 and 9–12 are melodically more Handelian and more varied in construction, variously avoiding or obscuring the ritornello principle, having four movements (slow–fast–slow–fast), or incorporating viola parts; three manuscript sources (...

Article

Michael Talbot

(b Casalmaggiore, nr Cremona, Nov 11, 1696; d Casalmaggiore, Sept 28, 1757). Italian composer and violinist. He was taught the violin by Giacomo Civeri and later by Carlo Ricci. An invitation from Antonio Caldara, who had met him while passing through Casalmaggiore, took him to Vienna, where he became a well-known virtuoso and teacher without, however, obtaining an official position in the service of the imperial court. In 1738 he returned to Casalmaggiore for good, except for occasional appearances as a soloist in neighbouring cities. Two distinguished pupils of his were Valentino Majer of Mantua and Domenico Ferrari of Cremona.

It has been suggested that Zani became acquainted with Vivaldi during the latter’s sojourn at Mantua during 1718–20. Certainly his earlier works (up to op.4) are remarkably Vivaldian in form and idiom, though the frequency of appoggiaturas (especially short appoggiaturas) provides a foretaste of a second, galant phase beginning in the 1730s, in which ‘Venetian’ extravagances yield to a more cantabile manner. The Fonds Blancheton (...

Article

(b Hochtann, nr Deutschbrod, Bohemia, April 8, 1708; d ?Mannheim, after 1778). Bohemian composer and violinist. He received his earliest musical instruction from Lukas Lorenz, the Deutschbrod teacher with whom Johann Stamitz is alleged to have studied. Around 1725 he went to Vienna where he studied the violin with F.J. Timmer and J.A. Rosetter and took flute lessons from Biarelli. Zarth then entered the service of Count Pachta at Rajov, but did not remain long in this post; he had formed a friendship with Franz Benda and as both were equally dissatisfied with their positions they left Vienna abruptly in 1729 and fled to Poland. After a short stop in Breslau, they found employment near Warsaw with the Starost Suchaczewsky. From this point until 1757 Zarth’s career followed Benda’s very closely. They remained with the Starost for about two and a half years before first Benda, and then Zarth, left to join the Polish royal chapel in Warsaw. On the accession of August II in ...

Article

Anne Schnoebelen

(b Bologna, Aug 9, 1690; d Bologna, Dec 1764). Italian violinist and composer . He studied the violin with Giuseppe Torelli and composition with L.A. Predieri. He achieved considerable fame as a violinist in Livorno, Venice and Ferrara (there is no evidence that, as is sometimes stated, he was a cellist). He became a member of the Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna on 20 May 1717 and held various offices in that organization. His name appears in the records of S Petronio, Bologna, from 1713, when he was engaged to play the violin at several patronal feasts. He joined the regular cappella musicale as a viola player in December 1725 and, with brief interruptions, played the violin or viola there until his death. Among his pupils were N. Lenzi, G. Castoneri and G.F. Landini as well as some members of the nobility. He published two sets of instrumental pieces, of which his op.1, ...

Article

Michael Talbot

(b Casalmaggiore, nr Cremona, Nov 10, 1704; d Casalmaggiore, May 3, 1792). Italian violinist and composer. He studied the violin first in his home town, later in Parma, Guastalla and Bologna, and finally in Cremona with Gasparo Visconti. Giuseppe Gonelli taught him counterpoint. In 1723 Zuccari arrived at Vienna in the suite of Count Pertusati. Having won favour at the imperial court, he travelled on to Olomouc, where he stayed for four years, and visited various German towns. In 1733 he married and in 1736 settled in Milan, where he founded a school. In 1741 he participated in the famous academy held at the Collegio dei Nobili under the direction of G.B. Sammartini, who was to call on his services as a violinist on several future occasions. During this period he acquired the nickname Zuccherino quoted in some contemporary sources. Around 1760 he was living in London, where he became a member of the Italian opera orchestra and had some violin compositions published, including his celebrated set of 12 adagios in dual plain and ornamented versions (...