(b Rome, 1465; d San Gimignano, 1510). Italian humanist. He was the son of Antonio Cortese, a papal abbreviator (i.e. a writer of papal briefs) and the pupil of Giulio Pomponio Leto and Bartolomeo Platina, both abbreviatores. In 1481 he was appointed to the papal chancery to the place vacated on Platina’s death. He was promoted to papal secretary in 1498, resigned in 1503 and spent the rest of his life in a family villa called Castel Cortesiano, near San Gimignano. There he was the host to such guests as Duke Ercole I of Ferrara, Duke Guidobaldo of Urbino and Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, later Pope Paul III. He must also have had a comfortable house in Rome in which in the early 1490s there were learned discussions, interspersed with strambotti sung by Serafino Aquilano. Cortese may have known Josquin, who was a papal singer at this time. He praised Josquin highly as a mass composer in his ...
(b San Francisco, CA, June 2, 1903, d Shady, NY, Feb 23, 1995). American music documentarian. After college graduation, she taught music in Palo Alto and studied music theory with Ernest Bloch. Following her divorce from Kenneth Robertson in 1933, she moved to New York, studied with the composer henry Cowell, and worked at Henry Street Settlement. After joining the New Deal in 1936, she moved to Washington, DC, as Charles Seeger’s music assistant in the Resettlement Administration. A trip to North Carolina in 1936 inaugurated her documentary career. Soon she was documenting folk music in many states for the Resettlement Administration. By 1937 her focus had shifted from the South to the Great Lakes states and included the region’s varied ethnic music traditions. From 1938 to 1940 she headed the WPA-sponsored California Folk Music Project, documenting the state’s English-language, Spanish-language, and recent immigrant traditions. In 1941 she moved back to New York and married Cowell. She returned to documentary work in the 1950s. Tape replaced disc recordings, and the locale shifted to Nova Scotia, Ireland, and the folk and classical traditions of South and East Asia. Several Folkways albums highlight her fieldwork of the 1950s. She and her husband wrote ...
(b Dijon, Jan 13, 1674; d Paris, June 17, 1762). French dramatist. He studied law at Dijon and by 1703 was living in Paris. He became a member of the Académie Française in 1731 and was appointed theatre censor in 1735. His nine tragedies, based on subjects from classical antiquity, are melodramatic and exploit violence and romantic entanglements; they were highly regarded during his lifetime. Idoménée (1705), his first work, was a source for Campra and Danchet’s Idoménée, which in turn served for Mozart and Varesco’s Idomeneo. His masterpiece, Rhadamiste et Zénobie, was first performed in 1711; there are notable similarities between it and Metastasio’s Zenobia, as also between Crébillon’s Xerces (1714) and Metastasio’s Artaserse. Other plays by Crébillon on which operas were based were Semiramis and Pyrrhus. Crébillon’s son Claude-Prosper (1707–77) was also a playwright; he was theatre censor from 1774 to 1777...
[Van Alstyne, Fanny J. ]
(b Southeast, NY, March 24, 1820; d Bridgeport, CT, Feb 12, 1915). American author of gospel hymn texts. Crosby was blind from infancy but had a remarkable memory. Her family taught her to be self-sufficient and in 1835 enrolled her in the New York Institution for the Blind where she excelled in literary and musical studies and cultivated her gift of rhyme. She published four books of poems, beginning in 1844. The Institution’s music instructor, the up-and-coming composer george frederick Root , drew her into a wider circle of musicians interested in music education and popular music. Crosby produced lyrics for several of Root’s cantatas (among them “The Flower Queen” and “Pilgrim Fathers”) and popular tunes (including “Hazel Dell” and “Music in the Air”). After completing her studies, Crosby taught at the Institution for the Blind from 1847 until her marriage to Alexander van Alstyne in 1858. Eleven years Crosby’s junior, Van Alstyne was a church organist who was also visually challenged. The couple made their home in Manhattan....
revised by Lyle Neff
[Kyui, Tsezar′ Antonovich]
(b Vilnius, 6/Jan 18, 1835; d Petrograd [St Petersburg], March 26, 1918). Russian composer and critic of French-Lithuanian descent. His father, an officer in the French Army, remained in Russia after Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow in 1812, married a Lithuanian, Julia Gucewicz, and lived at Vilnius, where he taught French at the gymnasium. César received his early general education there, at the same time studying the piano. After a few months of harmony and counterpoint lessons from Moniuszko he entered the Engineering School at St Petersburg in 1851, and later studied at the Academy of Military Engineering (1855–7); on graduating he was appointed lecturer, and in 1879 professor. He was an acknowledged expert on fortifications, and his writings on the subject were widely acclaimed.
Cui decisively entered into the musical life of St Petersburg in 1856, when he met Balakirev; in 1857...
Joseph A. Brown
(b ?New York, May 30, 1903; d New York, Jan 9, 1946). American writer. His actual birthplace is disputed. He was adopted about the age of fifteen by the Reverend Frederick A. and Carolyn Cullen, of the Salem Methodist Episcopal Church in Harlem. His classically-focused education at New York University (BA 1925) and Harvard University (MA, English and French, 1926) significantly influenced his work, as is evidenced by the frequent allusions to mythology and drama in his poems and plays. Cullen’s use of the poetic diction and forms evocative of the English Romantics (especially Keats) distinguish him from his peers who were exploiting themes rooted in black folk culture and were experimenting with forms taken from popular black music, especially jazz and blues. In 1925 his first collection of poetry, Color, was published, quickly followed by Copper Sun (1927), The Ballad of the Brown Girl...
(b Curitiba, Aug 8, 1869; d Rio de Janeiro, Feb 25, 1953). Brazilian composer, poet and music critic. Like his brother Brasílio Itiberê da Cunha, he was an amateur musician. He studied law in Belgium for a diplomatic career; but after some experience as a diplomat, he decided to concentrate his activities on journalism, and particularly music journalism. For more than 40 years he was the music critic of the Rio newspaper Correio da Manhã, among others. He became an accomplished self-taught pianist and composer. Most of his best-known works are for piano, although his orchestral Suite brasileira became quite successful in the early 1950s. He showed a predilection for programmatic music and a clear liking for the subtlety and refinement of French impressionistic harmony. His best-known piano pieces include Marcha humorística, Danse plaisante et sentimentale, Fête villageoise and Quatre portraits de vieux carnaval (‘Arlequin’, ‘Pierrot’, ‘Scaramouche’, ‘Polichinelle’), all written in a post-Romantic style. Other piano pieces reflect a certain interest in Afro-Brazilian secular and sacred dances. (L.H.C. de Azevedo: ...
Marquis of Valverde (b Cagliari, Dec 15, 1830; d Castel Gandolfo, Aug 14, 1890). Italian critic and composer. In 1853 he became music critic for the Rivista contemporanea of Turin and of L’opinione in Rome, with which he was associated for 36 years; he also wrote for the Gazzetta musicale di Milano and other periodicals. Originally hostile to Wagner and Boito, he came to admire both. He joined a ‘league of orthography’ which was directed against the claques then powerful in the Rome theatres and which upheld an ideal of the theatre as ‘art’. He composed vocal and dramatic music, including three comic operas: I due precettori (Turin, Rossini, 1858), Sganarello (Milan, Re, 1861) and La guerra d’amore (Florence, Niccolini, 7 December 1870).SchmidlD A. De Angelis: ‘Il marchese d’Arcais’, Musica d’oggi, 7 (1925), 347–51 [with additional bibliography] A. Della Corte: La critica musicale e i critici...
(b Riga, Sept 26, 1906; d Seattle, June 24, 1962). Latvian composer, pianist and critic, son of Emīls Dārziņš. He graduated in 1929 from Vītols’s composition class and in 1934 from Nadežda Kārkliņa’s piano class at the Latvian State Conservatory. From 1928 he worked as a pianist and critic in Riga, but in 1944 fled from the advancing Soviets and worked in the same occupations in Esslingen, Germany, until 1950. Afterwards Dārziņš lived in the USA, teaching first at the Spokane Conservatory in Washington State, then moving in 1955 to Seattle, where he took part in the concerts of the University of Washington School of Music.
In his early music, Dārziņš followed the French post-Impressionists Dukas and Roussel, and also experimented with exoticism, for example in the Spanish Dance Suite (1931). In the 1940s he developed the goal of integrating the unique qualities of Latvian folk music with those of 20th-century art music, much in the manner of Bartók. The results included hundreds of folk melody arrangements and original piano music....
John C.G. Waterhouse
(b Monaco, Jan 14, 1889; d Rome, Dec 8, 1969). Italian composer, conductor and critic. He studied at Turin and with Reger at the Leipzig Conservatory, gaining a diploma there in 1911. In his early 20s he made his début as a conductor in Rome. From 1918 until 1940 he was resident mainly in Paris: Debussian tendencies, already present in his previous works, were reinforced, though he did much to promote modern Italian music. He subsequently returned to Rome, where he worked for Italian radio. Davico’s very uneven output includes several large-scale compositions, some of which achieved success. Yet even in the colourful La tentation de St Antoine and the Requiem per la morte di un povero, which are notable for many refinements and personal touches in detail, there is a certain self-consciousness in overall conception. For Davico was by nature a miniaturist, at his best in his songs. Often conceived on a tiny scale, these have aptly been compared to the Japanese ...