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Henri Vanhulst

(b Schaerbeek, Brussels, June 10, 1902; d Schaerbeek, May 30, 1969). Belgian composer and critic. Brenta received his musical education from Gilson and together with other disciples he founded the Synthétistes group in 1925. Having worked for Belgian radio since 1931, he was director of French music broadcasts from 1953 to 1967. He was made a member of the Belgian Royal Academy in 1966. In 1968 his Second Piano Concerto was the set work for the Queen Elisabeth International Competition. Brenta was a Romantic composer, giving pride of place to amply developed and expressive melodic line. He usually employed conventional forms, and his tonal harmony included unexpected use of dissonance. From Gilson he received a taste for the exotic, notably in evidence in his opera Le khadi dupé, and he owed to him a consummate mastery of orchestration. Brenta's orchestral palette developed in the direction of a finesse which embraced some astonishingly novel sonorities, notably in the ...

Article

(b Avignon, France, May 18, 1854; d Versailles, France, May 20, 1933). Organist, composer, collector, and writer on musical instruments. Born a count into an old Norman family, he studied organ with Gigout in Paris in the late 1880s and was admitted to the Académie des Sciences Morales, des Lettres et des Arts de Versailles in 1891. Beginning in 1897, de Bricqueville played the organ in the chapel of the palace of Versailles for about 20 years. Writing as a music critic, he enthusiastically promoted Wagner but also appreciated earlier French opera. His studies of historical instruments, instrument collecting, and music iconography, while largely superseded by later research, offer valuable insight to the state of scholarship at the turn of the 20th century. He described his private collection of instruments (mainly European of the preceding three centuries) in three published catalogues, the last being Catalogue sommaire de la collection d’instruments de musique anciens formée par le Cte de Bricqueville...

Article

Sophie Fuller

(Estella )

(b Ecclesall Bierlow, York, August 16, 1862; d London, Nov 16, 1951). English composer, pianist and critic. She studied composition and the piano at the RAM (1881–9); together with Edward German she was a member of a group of young composers known as ‘The Party’, and frequently appeared at student concerts as a pianist and composer. Notable early works include the Air and Variations for string quartet, which in 1888 won the first Charles Lucas Medal to be awarded to a woman, and a Piano Concerto in A minor which she performed herself to critical acclaim at a variety of London concerts.

After leaving the RAM, Bright established herself as a pianist in Britain and Europe and promoted the music of British composers in her annual series of piano recitals and chamber concerts in London. Among the continuing high-profile performances of her works was an 1892...

Article

Hans Åstrand

(b Uppsala, March 25, 1902; d Lund, Oct 29, 1983). Swedish composer, conductor, violist and critic. After private studies in Lund he was accepted by Henri Marteau for the latter’s violin masterclass at the German Conservatory in Prague, where he also studied composition with Finke and conducting with Zemlinsky for two years. He then studied musicology with Norlind in Stockholm, with Peter Wagner in Fribourg, Switzerland, and with Sachs in Berlin, taking a licentiate in philosophy at Lund in 1926. He was chief critic of the Sydsvenska dagbladet of Malmö (1930–66, having contributed from Lund from 1923) and co-founder of the Swedish section of the ISCM, serving as its president (1930–62) and as second chairman of the ISCM presidium (1956–9); he was appointed to honorary membership of the ISCM in 1963. He was founder-violist of the Skånekvartetten (1937–48) and the Pianokvartetten av ...

Article

[Denis Browne, William Charles]

(b Leamington Spa, Nov 3, 1888; d Achi Baba, Turkey, June 4, 1915). English composer and critic. He was educated at Rugby and at Clare College, Cambridge, where he became a close friend of Dent; he graduated in classics and took a MusB in 1912. After a short spell of teaching at Repton he moved to London as a critic and teacher; his articles for The Times (1913–14) and the New Statesman (1914) reveal a brilliant musical mind. His posthumously published songs are particularly beautiful and the ballet suggests a rare ability to absorb new idioms. He was killed in action shortly after burying his friend Rupert Brooke.

Article

Barbara Chmara-Żackiewicz

(Ksawery )

(b Warsaw, Sept 6, 1867; d Warsaw, Aug 6, 1944). Polish composer and music critic. He studied law (graduating in 1890) at the University of Dorpat (now Tartu) and until about 1903 practised law in Warsaw. During the same period he also studied the piano with Jan Kleczyński. Later, he studied at the Leipzig Conservatory with Reger (composition) and Nikisch. From 1916 to 1921 he was a music reviewer for Kurier Warszawski. In 1921 he was appointed Polish Consul in Breslau (now Wrocław) and later appointed to the equivalent position in Berlin, where, from about 1928, he served as music correspondent for the monthly Warsaw journal Muzyka. After returning to Poland (in 1931) he contributed to a range of musical and non-musical publications. In 1929 he became a board member of the Association of Writers and Music Critics.

Brzeziński's music is strongly based in the late Romantic tradition, although it shows signs of restrained modernism. His works are characterized by an integrity of feeling, a good command of polyphony and a predilection for the use of folk melodies and their occasional humour....

Article

Peter Branscombe

(b Goddelau, nr Darmstadt, Oct 17, 1813; d Zürich, Feb 19, 1837). German dramatist. The son of a doctor, he studied medicine in Strasbourg and Giessen before settling in Switzerland, where he began a promising career as a lecturer in comparative anatomy. He left Germany in 1835 after publication of the pamphlet Der hessische Landbote, which was born of the same desire to effect social justice and relieve the sufferings of the poor that informs his best-known drama, Woyzeck. His first drama, Dantons Tod, was his only work to be published in his lifetime; indeed, despite the advocacy of Hebbel and Gutzkow, his works were hardly performed until the 20th century. Danton, sickened by the Terror and his involvement in the September Massacres, makes no effort to save his own life; indeed, his denunciation of Robespierre hastens his end. The only positive message is of the invincibility of the human spirit. The play was turned into an opera by von Einem, to a libretto by Blacher, and was first heard at the Salzburg Festival in ...

Article

(b Kiev, May 14, 1891; d Moscow, March 10, 1940). Soviet novelist . He graduated in medicine from Kiev University in 1916 but soon abandoned that career to work as a writer, travelling throughout Russia before settling in Moscow in 1921. His first success was in 1926, with the play Dni Turbinykh (‘The Day of the Turbinykh’), a dramatization of his own novel Belaya gvardiya (‘The White Guard’). The play was later suppressed; in fact all his work was banned by Stalin from 1929. Bulgakov’s masterpiece, Master i Margarita (‘The Master and Margarita’, 1938), an allegorical novel about the Stalinist terrors, remained unpublished until 1966. Its exotic mixture of fantasy and satire – the devil incarnated in Moscow interwoven with a retelling of the Crucifixion from the viewpoint of Pontius Pilate – prefigured ‘magic realism’; its operatic potential has attracted several composers, including Slonimsky (1989, concert perf.), Rainer Kunad (...

Article

(b London, May 25, 1803; d Torquay, Jan 18, 1873). English writer . The son of General Bulwer and Elizabeth Lytton, he was born into a comfortable family background, but from the age of 22 was obliged to earn his living from writing. Having produced a volume of poetry at the age of 17, he went on to write a vast number of novels, plays, poems and journalistic articles. He also had a distinguished career in politics, entering the House of Commons as a Whig in 1831 but defecting to the Tory Party for whom he served as Colonial Secretary (1858–9) before being made a peer in 1866. On inheriting Knebworth from his mother in 1843 he took the additional name -Lytton, although he was still known as Bulwer and generally published under the name Bulwer Lytton; in 1866 he was created Baron Lytton of Knebworth.

Bulwer’s novel ...

Article

Thomas Bauman

(b Breslau, Dec 7, 1753; d Berlin, April 28, 1831). German writer . After studies at Halle he worked as a teacher and private secretary. His literary endeavours, warmly supported by Wieland, included poetry, plays, librettos and copious translations from the French and English. Don Sylvio von Rosalva, his first and most popular opera text, is based on Wieland’s fashionable novel ...