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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

Theophil Antonicek

(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....

Article

Geoffrey Norris

(b Mitau [now Jelgava, Latvia], 1794; d St Petersburg, 28 April/May 9, 1871). Russian music publisher, pianist and composer. In 1808 his family moved to Vilnius, where Bernard learnt to play the piano and decided on a musical career in preference to his father's military profession. Two years later he moved to Moscow, where he became involved in the leading musical circles, taking piano lessons from John Field and studying composition with Johann Hässler. Subsequently he decided to abandon his considerably successful performing career, and in 1816 was appointed to take charge of the serf orchestra on Count Potocki's estate. In 1822 he settled in St Petersburg and earned a reputation as a fine piano teacher.

As a composer, Bernard is known primarily for his songs and for an opera, Ol′ga, doch′ izgnannika (‘Olga, the Exile's Daughter’), which enjoyed some success when it was first produced in St Petersburg during the ...

Article

Józef Powroźniak

revised by Klaus-Peter Koch

(b Kraków, May 12, 1805; d Dresden, Nov 2, 1881). Polish guitarist, composer and publisher. He studied in Vienna with Mauro Giuliani (1816–19). After a short career as a soloist he was made, in 1829, secretary of the senate of the Kraków Republic. When news of the 1830 Warsaw uprising reached him, he volunteered for the Polish Army and served as aide-de-camp to Bem; he was awarded the Virtuti Militari order. On the collapse of the uprising in 1831 he emigrated to Germany. In Leipzig he performed at the Gewandhaus with Karol Lipiński, Clara Wieck and others. Liszt called him ‘Chopin sur la guitare’. He wrote about 40 pieces for his instrument, mostly fantasies, marches, polonaises and waltzes, published by Hofmeister or Breitkopf & Härtel. In addition, he revised Carulli's tutor and published his own with Sennewald in Warsaw. He gained particular importance between 1833 and ...

Article

John Bergsagel

(b c1570; d Copenhagen, Dec 20, 1632). Danish composer, anthologist, organist and instrumentalist probably of Dutch origin. Bonaventura Borchgrevinck, who was possibly his father, took him with him as a treble when he was appointed director of music at the Danish court at Copenhagen on 1 January 1587. Bonaventura left six months later but Melchior stayed on as an instrumentalist and rapidly gained the respect and confidence of the new king, Christian IV. In 1593 his salary was almost doubled, making him, despite his youth, the best-paid musician at court. In 1596 he was sent to Danzig to buy instruments and engage choristers, and at Christmas of that year he was appointed an organist with a further rise in salary. The next year he travelled to England, again to buy instruments, with the party that was sent to bring back the late King Frederik II's Order of the Garter. In ...

Article

Rodney Slatford and Marita P. McClymonds

[Giovanni Battista; J.B.

(b Venice, 1761; d Bath, Feb 27, 1805). Italian composer, singer, violinist and music publisher. Born of a noble family, he studied the violin, cello and piano. In 1789 his Ati e Cibele, a favola per musica in two short scenes, was performed in Venice. This was soon followed by Pimmalione, a monodrama after Rousseau for tenor and orchestra with a small part for soprano, and Il ratto di Proserpina. Choron and Fayolle reported that, dissatisfied with Pimmalione, Cimador burnt the score and renounced composition. Artaria, however, advertised publication of the full score in 1791 in Vienna and excerpts were published later in London. The work achieved considerable popularity throughout Europe as a concert piece for both male and female singers, being revived as late as 1836. While still in Venice he wrote a double bass concerto for the young virtuoso Dragonetti; the manuscript survives, together with Dragonetti's additional variations on the final Rondo, which he evidently considered too short....

Article

Leon Plantinga

revised by Luca Lévi Sala

[Clementi, Mutius Philippus Vincentius Franciscus Xaverius]

(b Rome, Jan 23, 1752; d Evesham, Worcs., March 10, 1832). English composer, keyboard player and virtuoso, teacher, music publisher, entrepreneur, and piano manufacturer of Italian birth.

The oldest of seven children of Nicola Clementi (1720–89), a silversmith, and Magdalena (née Kaiser), Clementi began studies in music in Rome at a very early age; his teachers were Antonio Boroni (1738–92), an organist named Cordicelli, Giuseppi Santarelli (1710–90), and possibly Gaetano Carpani. In January 1766, at the age of 13, he secured the post of organist at his home church, S Lorenzo in Damaso. In that year, however, his playing attracted the attention of an English traveller, Peter Beckford (1740–1811), cousin of the novelist William Beckford (1760–1844) and nephew of William Beckford (1709–70), twice Lord Mayor of London. According to Peter Beckford’s own forthright explanation, he ‘bought Clementi of his father for seven years’, and in late ...

Article

David Nicholls and Joel Sachs

(Dixon )

(b Menlo Park, CA, March 11, 1897; d Shady, NY, Dec 10, 1965). American composer, writer, pianist, publisher, and teacher. Described by Cage as “the open sesame for new music in America,” he was an early advocate for many of the main developments in 20th-century music, including the systematization of modernist techniques, the exploration of timbral resources, and transculturalism.

Many facets of Cowell’s remarkable personality resulted from the unusual circumstances of his upbringing. His father, Harry, had immigrated to British Columbia with his brother after their own father, the Dean of Kildare’s Anglican Cathedral, bought them some land. Finding no satisfaction in farming life, Harry moved to San Francisco in search of a literary career. Henry’s mother Clara (usually called Clarissa) Dixon, a gifted writer, was the daughter of a fundamentalist Midwestern farming family. She had left the church and their community, married, and produced a son called Clarence. After he ran away from home as a teenager, Clarissa fled her stifling small-town life for San Francisco. In the Bay area, she met Harry, with whom she founded a philosophical-anarchist newsletter. As dedicated anarchists, they rejected the heavy hand of government, including what they saw as the homogenizing power of conventional public schooling. They built a little cottage on the still-rural edge of Menlo Park, where Stanford University was being constructed. Henry Cowell was born there, and Menlo Park remained his principal base until ...

Article

Harry B. Soria Jr.

[Albert R. ]

(b Honolulu, HI, Oct 1, 1879; d Honolulu, HI, Jan 23, 1933). Composer, arranger, publisher, pianist, and bandleader, active in Hawaii. Cunha’s compositions early in the 20th century spearheaded the development of the hapa haole song, featuring predominantly English lyrics with some references to Hawaii and the Hawaiian language, earning him the title of “Father of Hapa Haole Songs.” His innovation is credited with making Hawaii’s music accessible to a much wider audience, which rapidly grew to global proportions over the next few decades.

Cunha left Hawaii to attend Yale University, where he excelled in sports, the Yale Glee Club, and composed Yale’s “Boola, Boola.” Rather than practice law after graduation, he toured the mainland United States performing a new kind of Hawaiian song, combining the popular ragtime rhythm of American music with Hawaiian songs. Cunha returned to Hawaii and composed his first hapa haole song, “Waikiki Mermaid,” in ...

Article

[La Vigne, Nicolas Martin de]

(b Chalon-sur-Saône, ?c1645; d after 1702). Dutch composer, guitarist and music publisher of French extraction. In 1667 he became a citizen of Amsterdam under the name Nicolas Martin de la Vigne, dit Des Rosiers. He must have remained in Amsterdam until about 1700. He married Anne Pointel, whose brother Antoine was also a musician and music publisher in Amsterdam. The two men cooperated, mainly, it seems, during the years 1687–91. Derosiers apparently took care of the printing (using a special fount with round note heads invented by Derosiers) and Pointel handled the selling; Pointel’s shop was styled ‘Au Rosier’, a pun on Derosiers’s name. They published mainly vocal and instrumental selections from Lully’s operas and works by Derosiers himself, but many of their publications have not survived. In 1692 they sold their stock to Victor Amadée de Chevalier; later (possibly in 1698) it came into the hands of Estienne Roger....