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Virko Baley

(‘The Golden Ring’)

Opera-drama in four acts by Borys Mykolayovych Lyatoshyns’ky to a libretto by Yakiv Mamontov after Ivan Franko’s novel Zakhar Berkut; Odessa, 28 March 1930 (revised version, L’viv, 29 April 1970).

The opera is set in the Carpathian mountains, where the Tukholtsi live. The son Maxym (tenor) of their leader Zakhar Berkut (bass) rescues, during a hunting expedition, Myroslava (soprano), daughter of the boyar Tuhar Vovk (baritone). The two fall in love. Vovk attempts to take over some public lands and is condemned and banished by the Tukholtsi; he sides with an invading Tatar horde, but is drowned when the Tukholtsi destroy a river barrier and cause a flood. Maxym, their prisoner at the time, perishes too, but is acclaimed as a hero for sacrificing his life for his country.

One of the most significant operas to come out of the Soviet Union in its time, Zolotyy obruch (sometimes known as ...

Article

Péter Balassa

(b Gyula, March 6, 1928). Hungarian philosopher and writer on the aesthetics of music. He studied under Georg Lukács at Budapest University, where he took the CSc in philosophy. He was principal research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences until 1972, when he became professor of aesthetics at Budapest University. As secretary to the National Committee of Hungarian Aesthetes he coordinated Hungarian research in aesthetics. The first part of his important book on the history of music aesthetics concentrates on the concept of music in antiquity, during the Enlightenment, and in the work of Hegel; the second deals with the Romantic period. His work, characterized by the interpretative application of Marxist aesthetics and Marxist social philosophy (particularly Lukács’s theory of art), also concerns modern theories of music (e.g. those of Adorno, Eisler and Asaf′yev); his essays on contemporary attitudes to music are focussed on the work of Bartók....

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Péter P. Várnai

In 

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Péter P. Várnai

In 

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István Lakatos

revised by Octavian Cosma

(b Mărtiniş, May 31, 1929; d Tîrgu-Mureş, July 9, 1978). Romanian composer of Hungarian descent. He studied with Gábor (composition) and Ciolan (conducting) at the Cluj Academy (1946–53), where he also served as assistant lecturer in harmony (1950–56). In Tîrgu-Mureş, he edited the journal Művelődés (1955–8), conducted the Song and Dance Ensemble (1958–9), worked as head of department at the radio studio (1959–65) and in 1965 became director of the Tîrgu-Mureş PO. He received the 1967 Enescu Prize. An expert in Hungarian folk music, Zoltán incorporated arrangements of folksongs and dances into pieces written for the ensembles with which he worked. Sonorities of an archaic nature inform his music for voices. The Symphony no.1 (1963) is among his most representative works.

(selective list)

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(b Brescia, 1728; d Gámbara, nr Brescia, 1809). Italian bass . He was a successful singer in Italian opera houses from 1757, and in London, 1761–2. In 1763 he was hired by the Mannheim court of Elector Carl Theodor, where he particularly excelled in serious roles and also sang successfully in opera buffa. In 1769 he played at court a glass harmonica constructed by the court astronomer Father Christian Mayr. He was a guest performer at the Teatro S Benedetto in Venice in 1771. In 1778 he moved with the court to Munich, his last role there being Jupiter in Vogler's Castore e Polluce (1787). He retired to his estate in Gámbara in 1788. His final documented role was as Polpetta in Farinelli's La bandiera d'ogni vento (in Padua, 1800). Mozart commented favourably on Zonca's expressive singing in a letter of 27 December 1780, stating that he wished he had been able to create the part of Idomeneus for him. There is no conclusive evidence that he composed, although he may have written some of the works attributed to his brother (or uncle) Giuseppe Zonca. (...

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Robert Münster

[Joseph]

(b Brescia, 1715; d Munich, Jan 4, 1772). Italian bass and composer active in Germany. After philosophical and theological studies he was ordained a priest, but then dedicated himself to music. On 22 April 1752 he was hired as a bass singer in the Munich Hofkapelle. In 1754 his oratorio La morte d’Abel was performed at the court (also performed in Bologna, 1759, and Bonn, 1760, with Beethoven’s father in the role of Adamo); his serenata L’Angelica and opera Il re pastore were presented there in 1758 and 1760 respectively. Lipowsky (1811) praised the unusually deep notes and pleasant upper register of his voice. As a composer he set many texts by Metastasio and followed the methods of Italian opera seria without originality. Some of the works attributed to him may have been composed by his brother (or nephew) Giovanni Battista Zonca.

Article

Howard Rye

Record label. It was founded in 1899 by Frank Seamon and was continued by Victor after that company took over Seamon’s National Gramophone Corporation. After 1910 the name was not used in the USA, but it remained in use in Britain (and was later also adopted in Australia) as the Gramophone Company’s cheap label. Much of the repertory was recorded in Britain and includes some of the most highly regarded British hot dance music of the 1920s; the catalogue also contained American material recorded by Victor. Following the setting up of EMI, Zonophone was merged in ...

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Laurence Libin

Imitation or representation of animal forms in instrument design. Included under this heading is anthropomorphism, referring to human body forms. Zoomorphism appears in all areas of material culture, but sound adds an important dimension to the practice. Musical instruments of many kinds can be made to resemble animals or humans, or parts of them. These forms serve decorative, symbolic, magical, acoustical, structural, and other purposes. Worldwide since prehistory, many instruments, especially those used in rituals, have been constructed of animal parts or whole animals, or made in the shapes of animals, deities, or monsters whose ‘voices’ and powers the instruments evoke. Animal components such as hollowed horns, bones, and shells lend themselves readily to instrument fabrication, so it is not surprising that recognizable cattle and goat horns (the latter for the shofar), sea-shells (in the sankh), armadillo bodies (in the charango), turtle and tortoise carapaces (in Iroquois rattles, some North African lutes, and the ancient ...

Article

Christopher Fifield

(b Glogau [now Głogów], Silesia, June 1, 1826; d Leipzig, July 12, 1883). German critic and composer . At his father’s wish he studied agriculture in Breslau and Berlin, and only after the successful performance of an overture in 1850 did he decide to make music his career. He studied with A.B. Marx and Theodor Kullak at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin, where he later joined the staff to teach music theory. In Berlin he also founded an opera academy and an orchestra, but he moved to Leipzig in 1864, when Franz Brendel chose him to be an editor of the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik; four years later he succeeded Brendel as editor-in-chief and continued his advocacy of the New German School. He was also active as a writer, choral director, and teacher of singing and music theory. His compositions include two published but unperformed operas, Mohammed and Maccabäus...

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Geoffrey Norris

(b Venice, c1715; d ?Venice, after 1781). Italian musician. In 1739 his opera Lucio Papirio dittatore was performed in Graz by Pietro Mingotti’s Italian opera company. On 21 November 1745 he was appointed deputy Kapellmeister to the Bonn court of Archbishop Clemens August of Cologne. He held this post until 1752, and then, probably working with Locatelli’s touring opera company, went to Prague, where in 1753 his opera Il Vologeso was performed. In 1757 he arrived in St Petersburg, producing his opera Didone abbandonata in 1758 and La Galatea two years later. He was appointed deputy conductor of the Italian opera under Raupach, and was subsequently promoted to conductor. He is thought to have succeeded to the directorship of the imperial chapel choir after Galuppi left Russia in 1768. In 1781 Zoppis himself left St Petersburg and probably returned to Italy. Among his other works are a setting of Metastasio’s oratorio ...

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Zoppot  

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William Ashbrook

(‘Zoraide of Grenada’)

Melodramma eroico in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti to a libretto by Bartolomeo Merelli after J.-P.-C. de Florian’s Gonsalve de Cordove, ou Grenade reconquise; Rome, Teatro Argentina, 28 January 1822 (revised version, Rome, Teatro Argentina, 7 January 1824).

The plot deals with the machinations of Almuzir (tenor) to marry Zoraide (soprano), the daughter of the king he has murdered and whose throne he has usurped. His attempts to dispose of his rival Abenamet (contralto en travesti), whom Zoraide truly loves, are ultimately foiled when Abenamet, as an unknown knight, wins a single combat to defend her, whereupon he forces Almuzir to confess his perfidy and then defends the usurper against the wrath of the populace. The grateful Almuzir permits Abenamet to marry Zoraide.

Abenamet was to have been a tenor role, but the singer assigned the part died during rehearsals and Donizetti was forced to recast the part as a ...

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George Leotsakos

(b Korça, Jan 24, 1929; d Tirana, Nov 9, 1991). Albanian composer and violinist. He studied theory and the violin at the Jordan Misja Art Lyceum, Tirana (1946–c1950) and became leader of the Albanian Philharmonia before studying composition with Shaporin at the Moscow Conservatory (1957–61). After his return he worked at Albanian Radio (1961–75) while also teaching at the Tirana Conservatory. In 1975 he acquired the status of a ‘free professional composer’, salaried by the state, but continued to teach harmony, analysis and composition at the Conservatory until his death.

One of the most important musical figures of socialist Albania, Zoraqi was capable of highly personal utterances, though his susceptibility to different influences, unproblematic in the Violin Concerto no.2 (1968) with its echoes of Bruch and Wieniawski, lapsed into derivativeness in works such as the First Symphony (...

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George Leotsakos

(b Sparta, Feb 23, 1905; d Athens, Dec 22, 1987). Greek composer and conductor. He studied the violin at the Athens and Hellenic conservatories (1919–24), conducting with Boutnikoff and Mitropoulos and composition with Lavrangas and Riadis. His studies were continued with Kalomiris at the National Conservatory (1926–38) and at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik, where his teachers in conducting were Gmeindl, Schmalstich and F. Stein, and in composition, Blacher, Grabner and Höffer. Zoras was conductor of the Greek National State Opera (1948–58) and at the Deutsche Oper and RIAS radio in Berlin (1958–68). He was appointed director of the Athens National Conservatory in 1968. Although a composer of Kalomiris’s circle, Zoras had little in common with his teacher stylistically. His earlier compositions, such as Thrylos (‘Legend’, 1936), show an almost Ravelian treatment of folk material, with spare harmonies. Later works, including the Symphony (...

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Richard Taruskin

(b c1755; fl 1777). Russian composer . He wrote the earliest Russian opera (i.e. Singspiel) to survive in its entirety. Pererozhdeniye (‘The Rebirth’), concerning an old woman who is magically transformed into a young beauty, was given for the first time in Moscow (Theatre on the Znamenka) on 8/19 January 1777. The St Petersburg première took place in 1779, and it is to this production, for which the music may have been revised, that the extant score pertains (in RU-SPtob; chorus and aria in Ginzburg, other excerpts in Rabinovich). The author of the libretto, translated by Zakhar Krïzhanovsky (from a language unspecified but almost certainly French), is unknown. For the most part the music is written na golosï, that is, to the tunes of existing folksongs and popular songs.

IRMO MooserA A.S. Rabinovich: Russkaya opera do Glinki [Russian opera before Glinka] (Moscow, 1948) A.A. Gozenpud: Muzïkal′nïy teatr v Rossii ot istokov do Glinki: ocherk...

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Álvaro Zaldívar

(b ?Aragon, c1545; d ?Tarragona, after 1592). Spanish composer. It seems (according to StevensonSCM) that he lived in Valencia until 1578, when he was appointed maestro de capilla of Tarragona Cathedral, a post in which he remained until at least 1589. He was offered a higher salary than was normal, having promised to bring to Tarragona – after a brief return to Valencia – a talented choirboy, a male alto and a castrato.

His remarkable Liber primus … motectorum (Barcelona, 1584), which has not been preserved complete, contained 30 four-voice motets, two of them in two parts, and 19 five-voice motets, one – for St Thecla, patron saint of Tarragona – in two parts. It was published by Hubert Gotard, who only a year later brought out the famous collection of madrigals by Joan Brudieu. Zorita’s prestige was attested by contemporaries such as the poet and Greek scholar Juan Felipe Mey, whose sonnet in the composer’s honour was included in the motet volume, and in particular Pietro Cerone, who praised him highly in ...

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John Brackett

(b New York City, NY, Sept 1, 1953). American composer, improviser, saxophonist, producer, and record label owner. Zorn is the best known composer and performer associated with the “Downtown” scene in New York City’s Lower East Side in Manhattan. He has composed works for a variety of ensembles including string quartets, orchestras, chamber ensembles, rock bands, and jazz groups, as well as works for solo instruments, voice, and other instrumental and vocal combinations. His compositions often incorporate elements and techniques from a number of musical genres and traditions such as rock and popular music from all over the world, jazz (particularly the post-bop and free jazz traditions), classical music (especially the music of a number of 20th-century avant-garde composers and movements), improvised music, and film music. Zorn’s interest in a variety of avant-garde movements, movies, Judaism and Jewish identity, and occult religious traditions has exerted a powerful influence on his aesthetic of art and composition....

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Graham Sadler

Tragédie en musique in five acts by Jean-Philippe Rameau to a libretto by (Jean-)Louis de Cahusac; Paris, Opéra, 5 December 1749.

* – original version only † – 1756 version only

Though produced with more than usual magnificence and a cast including Jélyotte (Zoroastre), Chassé (Abramane) and Fel (Amélite), Zoroastre had initially only limited success. Despite 25 performances it proved far less popular than Mondonville’s Le carnaval du Parnasse, staged during the same period. By May 1752 Rameau and Cahusac had begun an extensive reworking affecting the whole character of the work. This version, first given on 19 January 1756, was much more successful. It was revived with minor modifications on 26 January 1770 to inaugurate the Opéra’s Palais Royal theatre, rebuilt after the fire of 1763. The earlier version was staged at Dresden on 17 January 1752 in an Italian translation by Casanova, music by Johann Adam replacing most of Rameau’s.

As Cahusac pointed out, ...