(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...
Jérôme de La Gorce
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 ...
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 ...
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). ...
(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 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 ...