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Carolyn Gianturco

(b Verdello, Sept 14, 1898; d Bergamo, Jan 22, 1981). Italian music critic. He took a diploma in composition at the Turin Conservatory (1929) and studied musicology with Cesari. His career as a critic was centred in Milan; after working on Secolo sera (1928–34), he succeeded Cesari at Corriere della sera, remaining there until his retirement (1973). In 1949 he founded the monthly journal La scala, which he edited until its closure in 1963; he was particularly interested in opera, especially its authentic performance. Abbiati also published a history of music in five volumes (1939–46), which he later updated and revised in four volumes (1967–8). This was well received, although (being the work of a single author) it was inevitably incomplete; the comments in the second edition on 20th-century composers, notably Italian composers of Abbiati’s own generation, are especially valuable as a contemporary response. His four-volume work on Verdi (...

Article

Israel J. Katz

(b Berlin, May 30, 1872; d Berlin, Jan 24, 1926). German physician and psychologist. He graduated in medicine at Berlin University in 1894, and thereafter dedicated himself primarily to psychoacoustics and the physiology of music. From 1896 to 1905 he was assistant professor under Carl Stumpf at the Psychological Institute of Berlin University (which in 1905 became the Berlin Phonogramm-Archiv). In 1900, when Hornbostel joined the staff, Abraham and Stumpf recorded on wax cylinders a visiting Siamese court orchestra – the first German attempt to record non-Western music. Abraham also recorded music from South Africa in the same year. In 1901 he published an article on absolute pitch which later (1906) resulted in a polemic between him and Auerbach. Adopting Stumpf's methods, Abraham and Hornbostel entered into a collaboration which laid the foundation for comparative musicology; he also collaborated with the physiologist and otologist K.L. Schaefer (...

Article

Dezső Legány

(b Szent-György-Ábrány, Oct 15, 1822; d Budapest, Dec 20, 1903). Hungarian writer on music, composer and pianist. He came from the wealthy Eördögh family: the name means ‘devil’ and his father changed it to Ábrányi, the name of their estate. He studied the piano under János Kirch (1810–63) and Vilmos Dolegni. His first composition, Magyar ábránd (‘Hungarian Fantasy’), was published in 1841. In the early 1840s he gave concerts in Hungarian towns, and in 1846 left for Vienna to take piano lessons with Joseph Fischhof. There is no reliable evidence that he was ever a student of Chopin in Paris. From 1847 he lived in Pest, in the 1850s as a piano teacher, and studied composition with Mosonyi, together with whom he became a devoted follower of Liszt and Wagner. He was one of the founders of the first Hungarian music periodical, the Zenészeti lapok, in ...

Article

Joseph E. Morgan

(b New York, NY, Feb 18, 1908; d Dec 31, 1977). American journalist. After studying English literature, he worked for Billboard from 1934 to 1973, although he left during World War II to serve in the US Coast Guard. Ackerman began his career as a reporter and covered several subjects including vaudeville, radio, and TV before moving to music. He became music editor in 1949. His tenure at Billboard accompanied the emergence of rhythm and blues, country music, and rock ’n’ roll. Ackerman championed these new styles, recognizing their roots in earlier music traditions and their impact on popular music and culture in general. He published several articles in High Fidelity and received numerous awards including an honor from the Recording Industry Association of America for his outstanding service to American music. He also served on the President’s commission to select music for the White House Library and in ...

Article

Andrea F. Bohlman

(b San Francisco, CA, April 13, 1945). American dance critic. She studied at the University of California, Berkeley (BA 1966), and wrote on the Ballets Russes for her doctorate in comparative literature at Rutgers University (1984). With an enthusiasm for dance that has anchored her prolific career, Acocella was the senior critic and reviews editor for Dance Magazine and became the dance critic for the New Yorker in 1998. She has written about dance for many other publications including the Financial Times, the New York Review of Books, the New York Times Book Review, Art in America, and the Times Literary Supplement. In her books Acocella demonstrates a sustained interest in connecting the public with artistic personae and their voices, as illustrated in her biography of Mark Morris (1993), the essay collection Twenty-Eight Artists and Two Saints (2007), and three edited volumes of artists’ writings (...

Article

Julian Budden

(b Verona, Nov 4, 1878; d Milan, Oct 12, 1946). Italian playwright, librettist and journalist . After graduating in law at the University of Padua he devoted himself to literature, first as theatre critic of the Arena (Verona), then as playwright. His first stage work was the one-act comedy I fioi di Goldoni in Venetian dialect; thereafter he proved remarkably successful in a comic-sentimental vein with such plays as Una capanna e il tuo cuore (1913), Capelli bianchi (1915), Felicità Colombo (1935) and its sequel Nonna Felicità (1936). In 1911 he made the acquaintance of Giulio Ricordi, head of the publishing firm, of whom he left a valuable memoir in his Giulio Ricordi e i suoi musicisti (Milan, 1933, 2/1945 as Giulio Ricordi, amico dei musicisti). It was Ricordi who first put him in touch with Puccini, who briefly considered setting his Spanish-derived libretto ...

Article

Jernej Weiss

(b Dobrova, nr Ljubljana, Slovenia; Dec 25, 1877; d Ljubljana, Dec 6, 1936). Slovenian music educator, conductor, and writer on music. Uncle of composer Bojan Adamič. He received his first musical education at the Ljubljana Glasbena Matica society music school, from 1911 to 1912 he studied at the Conservatory in Trieste, and in 1912 he passed the national examination at the Ljubljana Conservatory. During World War I he joined the Austrian Army, and from 1915 to 1920 was a prisoner of war at Tashkent. In 1920 he returned to Ljubljana, where he taught music at the teacher’s college and at the classical gymnasium until his retirement in 1932. From 1925 to 1928 he was conductor of the Orchestral Society at the Glasbena Matica music society, and from January 1928 to December 1929 editor of the Nova muzika (‘New Music’) magazine. He was also active as a music critic and reviewer for the magazines ...

Article

Joseph A. Brown

(b Knoxville, Nov 27, 1909; d New York, May 16, 1955). American novelist, screenwriter, journalist, poet, and film critic. Son of Laura Tyler Agee and Hugh James (Jay) Agee, James Agee graduated from Exeter Academy and Harvard University (1932), before becoming a staff writer for Fortune magazine, eventually writing film reviews for both Time (1939) and The Nation (1942). On assignment from Fortune, Agee worked in collaboration with the photographer Walker Evans on the study of Alabama tenant farmers, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (Boston, 1941). His book of poetry, Permit Me Voyage, was published by the Yale Series of Younger Poets (New Haven, CT, 1934). In 1951, Agee published the novella, The Morning Watch(Boston). He was the principal author of the screenplay for The African Queen (1950) and The Night of the Hunter (1954...

Article

Owen Wright

[Maḥmūd ibn Mas‘ūd al-Shīrāzī]

(b Shiraz, 1236; d Tabriz, 1311). Persian physician and scientist. The most outstanding pupil of the mathematician Naṣīr al-Dīn Ṭūsī, he is particularly known for his work in medicine, optics and astronomy. His encyclopedia, Durrat al-tāj (‘Pearl of the crown’) demonstrates his mastery of the whole range of traditional medieval scholarship, and contains within its treatment of the mathematical sciences (quadrivium) a lengthy section on music. This is mainly a restatement of the musical theory developed by Ṣafī al-Dīn, but is important for its attention to musical practice, particularly in its codification and description of modes and rhythmic cycles. In both areas it points to the existence of a wider range of structures than is apparent from the works of Ṣafī al-Dīn; its treatment of the modes in particular is far fuller, and is less restricted by purely theoretical concerns. It ends with the most extended, complex and precise example of notation to be found in the works of the medieval Arab and Persian theorists, a unique document which allows some insight into the nature of the compositional practice of the period with regard not only to formal, modal and rhythmic strategies but also to techniques of text setting....

Article

Owen Wright

(fl first half of the 11th century). Arab musician and writer. The son of an eminent musician, he became a prominent singer at the Cairo court of the Fatimid caliph al-Ẓāhir (1021–36), and was still active as a teacher in 1057. His music treatise, completed after 1036 and entitled Ḥāwī al-funūn wa-salwat al-maḥzūn (‘Compendium of the arts to comfort sad hearts’), is of particular interest in that it deals with various topics of little concern to other authorities. Written from the perspective of a cultured musician rather than that of a philosopher-theorist, it calls upon a literary tradition of writing about music, and its historical content is frankly derivative, even if of interest for the implication of continuity with the court music of 9th-century Baghdad. But it is wide-ranging in its treatment of contemporary practice, dealing not only with such basics as mode and rhythm, but also with such matters as the normal sequence of events in performance, deportment and etiquette, the materials and construction of the ‘...