(b Logroño, April 14, 1795; d Madrid, April 12, 1855). Spanish pianist, composer and teacher. He was the son of Mateo Pérez de Albéniz, a keyboard player and composer, from whom he received his first music lessons. Later he went to Paris for further training; he studied piano with Henri Herz and composition with Friedrich Kalkbrenner, and became a friend of Rossini. Upon his return to Spain he was organist at the church of S María in San Sebastián, and later at a church in Logroño. When Queen María Cristina founded the Madrid Conservatory he was appointed a professor, on 17 June 1830, and in 1834 he became organist of the royal chapel. He gave private instruction to Queen Isabel II, and was the first to introduce modern methods of keyboard technique and pedagogy into Spain. Although his compositions are of little interest, and are generally inferior to his father’s sonatas, he wrote a ...
(b Camprodón, Gerona, May 29, 1860; d Cambo-les-Bains, May 18, 1909). Spanish composer and pianist. When he was a year old he moved with his family to Barcelona. His musical propensities soon became apparent, and his sister Clementina gave him piano lessons when he was about three and a half. A child prodigy, he made his first public appearance at about five, at the Teatro Romea in Barcelona. Shortly afterwards he began lessons with Narciso Oliveras. In 1867 he was taken to Paris where, it is said, he studied privately with Antoine-François Marmontel, eventually taking the entrance exam for the Paris Conservatoire; though impressed with his talent, the jury is said to have refused him admission because he was too immature. In 1868 Albéniz’s father lost his government post, and, to earn money, took Isaac and Clementina on recital tours of the Spanish provinces. Soon the family moved to Madrid, where Albéniz was enrolled in the Escuela Nacional de Música y Declamación (now the Real Conservatorio Superior de Música). His studies were constantly interrupted; having experienced the life of a travelling virtuoso, he repeatedly gave recitals in the provinces or wherever fate took him. He returned intermittently to Madrid and studied for a time with Eduardo Compta and José Tragó. His travels took him to Puerto Rico and Cuba in ...
(b Faenza, bap. Dec 31, 1716; d Faenza, Oct 12, 1785). Italian violinist, composer and teacher. He studied with Tartini, probably between 1730 or 1731 and 1733, by which date his name appears in the list of musicians at Faenza Cathedral, as third (and last) violinist under the direction of his brother, Don Francesco Alberghi, maestro di cappella. In 1742 he was referred to in Faenza chronicles as ‘Paolo Alberghi, Professore’, and both his virtuosity and his compositions – sonatas and violin concertos – were extravagantly praised. In 1753 he became first violinist and, on his brother’s death in 1760, maestro di cappella as well; he retained both positions until his death. Alberghi supplemented his small salary from the cathedral by playing for civic festivities and for the two academies of Faenza, and by composing and teaching; among his pupils were Bernardo Campagnoli, Antonio Bisoni, Cristoforo Babbi and possibly Giuseppe Sarti (unconfirmed). A portrait of Alberghi in the Biblioteca Comunale of Faenza (which, together with the Archivio Capitolare del Duomo, contains much biographical material in manuscript) indicates that he was blind in one eye....
Alec Hyatt King
revised by Derek McCulloch
[Francis Charles Augustus Albert Emmanuel; Franz Karl August Albert Emanuel, Prince of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha]
(b Rosenau, Coburg, Aug 26, 1819; d London, Dec 14, 1861). German musician, consort of Queen Victoria. Music formed a regular part of his early education and appears prominently in the rigorous programme of study which he drew up for himself at the age of 13. He became proficient in singing, played the piano and organ (Mendelssohn admired his organ playing) and began to compose before he was 18. In 1839 he sang the bass solo in a performance of Beethoven’s Der Preis der Tonkunst at Dresden. After he married Queen Victoria in 1840 he made his mark on the court’s musical life by expanding the private band into a fair-sized orchestra capable of taking part in the first English performances of Schubert’s Symphony no.9, Bach’s St Matthew Passion and Mendelssohn’s Athalie and Oedipus at Colonos, given either at Windsor Castle or Buckingham Palace under the prince’s organization. His enthusiasm for contemporary music was counterbalanced by an interest in earlier music and instruments. During his year as director of the Concert of Ancient Music he organized a programme in ...
(b Glasgow, April 10, 1864; d Riga, March 3, 1932). German composer and pianist. D’Albert’s ancestry was as colourful as his life. Although it is natural to note the presence of the composers Giuseppe Matteo Alberti (1685–1751) and Domenico Alberti (c1710–40) among his ancestors, an equally interesting predecessor was his grandfather François (Franz) Bénédicte d’Albert, an adjutant of Napoleon I, who followed Marshall Davout to Hamburg and settled there out of sympathy for the German way of life. Although Franz’s son Charles Louis Napoléon d’Albert earned his greatest fame as a local Johann Strauss in Britain, his son Eugen acquired an early enthusiasm for German culture and music. Hearing Tristan und Isolde had a greater influence on him than the education he received from his father or from Arthur Sullivan, Ernst Pauer and Ebenezer Prout at the National Training School for Music in London. In ...
(b Venice, c1710; d Rome, Oct 14, 1746). Italian composer, harpsichordist and singer. Alberti's claim to historical recognition rests traditionally on his harpsichord sonatas, in which the arpeggiated bass that lent his name a posthumous notoriety is a prominent feature (see Alberti bass). In his lifetime, however, Alberti was equally famous as a singer and as a performer (sometimes as self-accompanist) on the harpsichord. His amateur status was perhaps unfairly seized upon by his detractors, for his reported early training in singing and counterpoint under A. Biffi and A. Lotti does not suggest an inadequate grounding; it may, however, account for the restricted quantity and scope of his output. Of his non-musical career little is recorded except that he served the Venetian ambassador, Pietro Andrea Cappello, as a page on a visit to Spain about 1736, provoking Farinelli's admiration of his singing, and subsequently joined the household of Marquis Giovanni Carlo Molinari in Rome. His harpsichord sonatas are generally believed to date from these last years. He is buried in S Marco, Rome....
revised by Enrico Careri
(b Bologna, Sept 20, 1685; d Bologna, Feb 18, 1751). Italian composer and violinist. He studied the violin with Carlo Manzolini, and counterpoint with P.M. Minelli and Floriano Arresti. He became a member of the Accademia Filarmonica, Bologna, in 1705, and from 1709 played the violin in the orchestra of S Petronio. His first set of concertos, published in 1713, were first performed under the composer's direction at the house of Count Orazio Bargellini. In 1721 Alberti was chosen president (principe) of the Accademia Filarmonica, a post to which he was re-elected in 1724, 1728, 1733, 1740 and 1746. A set of violin sonatas, op.2 (1721), was followed by a further set of concertos, collectively entitled ‘Sinfonie’, and issued by Le Cène in 1725 – presumably without the composer's authorization as they are incorrectly designated op.2. (This possibly inadvertent duplication of an opus number led to the renumbering of the violin sonatas as op.3 when published by Walsh shortly afterwards.) From ...
(b Treviso, c1535; d Ferrara, June 15, 1615). Italian instrumentalist and composer. He came from a family of North Italian musicians that had lived in Treviso since the mid-15th century. His father was the town trumpeter; his uncle and brother were musicians in the courts of Ferrara and Munich respectively. He was one of the three young men brought to the newly founded Accademia degli Elevati in Padua in 1557 as music tutors under Francesco Portinaro. His first published madrigals appeared, together with madrigals by Rore, Portinaro and other members of the group around Rore, in Rore’s fourth book of madrigals for five voices (RISM 1557²³). In 1560 the Accademia degli Elevati was dissolved and Alberti went to work for the Este court at Ferrara. He remained on the salary rolls there, listed among the instrumentalists as ‘Innocentio del Cornetto’, until the dissolution of the court early in ...
(fl 1697–1706). Italian composer, violinist and organist, active in northern Europe. At one time he was in the service of the Prince of Carignan (a small town in the French Ardennes) and in this capacity appeared as a violinist before Louis XIV in 1697. About 1703 he was organist of the monastery at Kranenburg, on the present Dutch–German border. He published XII suonate a tre, duoi violini e violone col basso per l’organo op.1 (Amsterdam, 1703). One of the two surviving copies ( US-CHua ) bears the date 1706 on one partbook and the signature ‘Alberti’ on all four; a copy in Sweden ( S-L ) is also signed. The contents are all church sonatas, and each contains between six and eight movements, all in the same key. They are stolid, old-fashioned, rather uninspired works, competently written for the most part but using only the simplest imitative techniques and frequently becoming homophonic. The part for violone, which for Alberti meant ‘cello’, is sometimes quite elaborate, creating a genuine four-part texture....
(b ?Milan, c1644; d Vienna, Sept 22, 1685). Italian composer and musician. He is first heard of in a letter of 6 September 1671 in which the Prince-Bishop of Olomouc, Karl Liechtenstein-Kastelkorn, told J.H. Schmelzer that he need not have apologized for some apparent bad behaviour on Albertini’s part, since he himself in any case had a good opinion of him. At the time of his death (he was murdered) Albertini was chamber musician in Vienna to the dowager Empress Eleonora. He himself prepared for publication his printed collection of sonatas and signed the dedication to Leopold I, but it did not appear until seven years after his death (the delay may have been due to the cost of engraving, towards which the emperor had granted a subsidy as early as 1686). The 12 sonatas have no regular pattern or number of movements. Most of the opening and closing movements are adagios; two sonatas begin with a separate movement marked ‘Praeludium’ characterized by figuration over a supporting bass. The form of each movement stems as a rule from freely varied development of phrases – usually, but not always, the initial one – which reappear in new guises and thus with a fresh impulse. Larger sections are never repeated literally. In a few of the sonatas there are thematic connections between several (though never between all) movements. Sonata no.9 is a passacaglia whose theme is presented at the beginning and end as a canon at the 5th and whose formal sections sometimes overlap with the statements of the ostinato theme. Double stopping appears conspicuously in the last sonata, which consists entirely of imitative movements....
Rudolf A. Rasch
[Weissenburg, Johann Heinrich von; Weissenburg, Johan Handrik van]
(b ?Bieswangen, Bavaria, c1660; d c?1730). Dutch composer and violinist of German extraction. The name Henricus Albicastro is a Latin-Italian translation of his true name, Johann Heinrich von Weissenburg. The designation ‘del Biswang’ on the title-pages of some of his works presumably refers to Bieswangen as his place of birth (there is, moreover, a town called Weissenburg nearby). There is nothing to corroborate Walther's statement that he was Swiss, but many details about his life are still unclear. His compositions adhere closely to the Italian style in string music with continuo, but there is no way of telling whether this results from study with an Italian composer in Italy or elsewhere, or from the study of Italian music available north of the Alps.
Albicastro was registered as ‘musicus academiae’ at the University of Leiden in 1686, meaning that he became head of the modest musical establishment there, a position he may have held until ...
( b 1872; d Switzerland, Jan 1938). Italian flute maker, flautist and composer . He was a flautist at La Scala, Milan, from 1897. In 1910 he invented his ‘Albisiphon’, a vertically-held, Boehm-system bass flute in C, with a T-shaped head, which he described in his Albisiphon: flauto ottava bassa (Milan, 1910). It was used by, among others, Mascagni in Parisina (1913), and Zandonai in Melenis (1912) and Francesca da Rimini (1914). The Dayton Miller Collection (Library of Congress, Washington, DC) possesses two models of an ‘albisiphon baritono’ in C and a tenor in F. There is also an example of another invention which Miller termed ‘half flute in C’ (that part of a regular flute played by the left hand, with a wooden handle for right hand) for which Albisi composed a concerto. He also made flutes in collaboration with the Milanese maker Luigi Vanotti in about ...
revised by Mary E. Frandsen
(b ?Rome, [c1635]; d ?London, after 1688). Italian keyboard player and composer, brother of Vincenzo Albrici. He is listed in January 1650 as a soprano at the Cappella Giulia of S Pietro, Rome. The same list includes his great-uncle Alessandro Costantini, an organist. According to Rossi, Bartolomeo travelled with his father and brother to Lombardy, then to Germany, Flanders and Sweden. All three were employed, with 13 other Italian musicians, at the Swedish court of Queen Christina from 30 November 1652 to 1 March 1653; some stayed on until the queen’s abdication in 1654. From August 1655 to early 1656 Bartolomeo served as court musician in Stuttgart, and from September 1656 he appears in Dresden court documents as an organist in Prince Johann Georg II’s musical ensemble. He was also active as a composer in Dresden; court diaries report that he contributed masses and psalm settings to the repertoire of the court chapel. He left Dresden with his brother Vincenzo in ...
Don C. Gillespie
(b Gary, IN, Oct 20, 1944; d Ann Arbor, MI, Sept 17, 1998). American composer, organist and pianist. He attended the Juilliard Preparatory Department (1959–62), the University of Michigan (1963–70) and the Paris Conservatoire (1968–9), studying composition with Ross Lee Finney, George Rochberg and Olivier Messiaen, and the organ with Marilyn Mason. His many commissions and honours included two awards from the Koussevitzky Foundation, the Queen Marie-José Prize (for his Organbook I) and an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1979 he was selected to represent the USA in UNESCO's International Rostrum of Composers. He joined the composition department at the University of Michigan in 1970, where, as associate director of the electronic music studio, he pursued research into live and electronic modification of acoustic instruments. Through his own modern rag compositions and his performances and recordings of classical ragtime, stride piano and boogie-woogie, which include a recording of the complete works of Scott Joplin, Albright was a principal figure in the revival of interest in ragtime and stride masters. He gave many first performances of organ and piano works by American and European composers and commissioned a series of organ works that has substantially enriched the contemporary repertory for that instrument....
Arthur J. Ness
[Albutio, Joan Jacomo, Hans Jacob von Mailandt]
(b Kleve; fl Milan, 1536). German lutenist, viola player and composer, active in Italy. He apparently resided in Milan long enough to acquire the epithet ‘from Milan’ and to be counted among the foremost musicians and composers of that city. His extant music consists of two lute fantasias which first appeared in Giovanni Antonio Casteliono’s Intabolatura de leuto de diversi autori (Milan, 1536/R; ed. R. Smith Brindle, Milan, 1978) and were reprinted in collections of lute music published in Nuremberg, Leuven (both 1552) and Venice (1563). They are characterized by a continuous unfolding of musical ideas within broad phrases that subvert any attempt at a cadence. G. Lefkoff’s Five Sixteenth Century Lute Books (Washington DC, 1960) contains transcriptions of Albuzio’s two fantasias.R. Chiesa: ‘Storia della letteratura del liuto e della chitarra, XXXIII: il Cinquecento – Pietro Paolo Borrono; Joan Jacobo Albutio’, ...
(b Mexico City, 1758; d Mexico City, Feb 7, 1810). Mexican violinist and composer. As a boy, he studied at the Mexico City Cathedral Colegio de Infantes, a choir school where Nicolás Gil de la Torre taught him the violin. On 27 January 1775 the cathedral authorities appointed him a violinist in the cathedral orchestra at 200 pesos annually; on 12 January 1784 his yearly salary was raised from 300 to 400 pesos. In 1786 he was second violinist of the theatre orchestra at the Mexico City Coliseo, a post that conflicted with his cathedral duties to such an extent that on 9 January 1788 the chapter asked him to resign one post or the other. Choosing the Coliseo, he was in the 1790–91 season promoted to leader of the orchestra. In 1808 he headed the Mexico City choir school while still continuing as leader at the Coliseo....
Oleg V. Timofeyev
(b c1818; d c1884). Russian guitarist and composer. He was a colonel in the Russian army and lived in St Petersburg, but left military service in the 1860s in order to devote himself to guitar. Aleksandrov was one of the best pupils of Andrey Sychra; judging from the fact that numerous compositions of Sychra are dedicated to him, it appears that their relationship went beyond formal studies. The text of one such dedication, ‘to my benefactor Nikolay Ivanovich Aleksandrov’, also suggests that the pupil helped his teacher in times of financial hardship.
From the 1860s onwards Aleksandrov studied music theory and composition with N.A. Tivol′sky, who also edited his compositions for publication. About 40 studies of varying complexity and some 30 original miniatures are left by Aleksandrov. He also published guitar transcriptions of Russian romansï and Schubert's lieder. Although they can be classified as ‘salon music’, Aleksandrov's original works often exhibit genuine beauty and elegance, while his études are among the best written for any guitar. Together with Sarenko and Zimmerman, Aleksandrov belonged to the generation of Russian guitarists who for the most part ignored variations on Russian folk themes, a genre of much greater importance to their predecessors....
(b Sevastopol, Crimean Peninsula, May 22, 1910; d Tirana, Albania, Oct 6, 1985). Albanian pianist, arranger, pedagogue, and composer. Born in an Albanian-speaking enclave in Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula, she received early training in ballet and piano while growing up in a middle-class merchant family. After relocating to Korça, Albania in 1932, Gjoka became the primary accompanist for the local salon culture, which included the art-song singers Kristaq Antoniu, Mihal Ciko, Tefta Tashko-Koço, and Maria Kraja. She received a degree in piano performance from the Athens Conservatory in 1936. Following World War II, she taught at Tirana’s ‘Jordan Misja’ Arts Lyceum from its founding in 1946, and at the State Conservatory from 1962. In addition to training a generation of Albanian pianists, Gjoka was a tireless promoter of folk songs. During the socialist period, she was among the first women to collect folk songs, which she often arranged as elegant art songs for voice and piano. She also held an appointment at the Theater of Opera and Ballet in Tirana between ...
revised by Ruxandra Arzoiu
(b Bucharest, 2/Aug 14, 1893; d Bucharest, Feb 18, 1959). Romanian composer, pianist, conductor, teacher, music critic, and director of music programmes. A leading figure of the first half of the 20th century, he laid the foundation of the Romanian school in music, concert life, and musical journalism. He studied with A. Castaldi, D. Dinicu, D.G. Kiriac, and E. Saegiu at the Bucharest Conservatory (1903–11), completing his education with two periods of study in Paris (1913–14, 1923–4), where he studied with d’Indy at the Schola Cantorum and with Paul Vidal at the Conservatoire. A remarkable accompanist, he worked with Enescu, Thibaud, Mainardi, Moodie, and others during the period 1919–45. As a conductor he always achieved a soberly balanced performance; he conducted more than 1500 performances at the Romanian Opera in Bucharest (1921–59), where he specialized in the French repertory (Bizet, Massenet, and Gounod). In his capacities as conductor of the Romanian Philharmonic Society, and as conductor and artistic manager of the Romanian RSO, he did much to encourage Romanian composers. He was also active as a music critic for Romanian and French reviews. Much of his compositional work was done during his youth, including ...
(b St Gall, March 17, 1911; d Lausanne, March 17, 1959). Swiss composer, pianist and organist. He began his music studies in Zürich in 1932, for the most part teaching himself; from 1934 to 1937 he studied in Paris with Dupré, Paul Roës and Nadia Boulanger, and returned to Switzerland in 1940. Settling in Lausanne, he worked as a concert pianist, composer, music critic and broadcaster. His eclectic style took elements from the varied musical currents of the time, but he retained a basis of sonata form and tonal harmony. He favoured driving rhythms and his writing is complex and compact. (L. Marretta-Schär: Raffaele d’Alessandro: Leben und Werk, Winterthur, 1979)