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Article

Giovanni Carli Ballola

revised by Roberta Montemorra Marvin

(b Alessandria, March 20, 1851; d Alessandria, May 2, 1894). Italian organist and composer. He began his musical studies with his stepfather, Pietro Cornaglia. From 1868 to 1871 he attended the Milan Conservatory, studying the piano with Antonio Angeleri and composition with Lauro Rossi and Mazzucato. His graduation exercise, the cantata Caino e Abele, won the first prize and a medal of honour. He toured abroad as a concert pianist, but from 1880 until his death was organist at the cathedral in Alessandria, where he also founded a school of composition, singing and piano, and conducted concerts for the Associazione filarmonica alessandrina. He composed three operas, Isabella Spinola (1877, Milan), Maria di Warden (1884, Venice) and Una partita a scacchi (1892, Pavia), the latter based on Giuseppe Giacosa's popular comedy. In these works, which did not have much success, Abbà Cornaglia remained uninfluenced by the innovatory tendencies of the ‘Scapigliatura’ and of Catalani and by the new ...

Article

Roger Bowers

(b c1420; d 1497). English church musician. He was noted as a fine singer and skilful organist. After service in the household of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (until 1447), and as a lay clerk of Eton College (1447–51), where he was one of the four clerks specially responsible for singing polyphony in the college chapel, he became a clerk of the Chapel Royal in 1451, and Master of the Choristers there from 1455 to 1478. His duties included teaching the boys to play the organ and to sing plainsong and improvised polyphony; also it seems probable that he was instrumental in the introduction about this time of the use of boys’ voices in composed polyphony. The award to him in 1464 of a Cambridge MusB reflects his eminence in the musical profession – he is the earliest known recipient of this degree – while the patronage of Bishop Bekynton brought him valuable sinecures in the diocese of Bath and Wells. His last years were spent as a resident of Sanctuary Yard, Westminster Abbey....

Article

Robert Thompson

(bap. Oxford, May 24, 1688; bur. Oxford, Jan 7, 1741). English organist and music copyist, son of Richard Goodson. He was baptized at the church of St Cross. He succeeded his father as professor of music at Oxford and as organist of Christ Church. Goodson was listed as choirboy at Christ Church from 1699 to 1707 and as singing-man from 1712 to 1718; Thomas Ford ( GB-Ob MS Mus.e.17) stated that he was appointed organist of Newbury on 24 August 1709. He matriculated on 3 March 1714 and graduated BMus on 1 March 1717. A number of manuscripts in Christ Church and the Bodleian Library, Oxford, contain music copied by him, but he does not appear to have been a composer, unless two anonymous works in his hand – an act song, Festo quid potius die ( Ob MS Mus.Sch.C.143, Och Mus 37, 1142b), and an incomplete Ode for St Cecilia's Day, ...

Article

Walter Blankenburg

[Niklas]

(b Altdorf, nr Nuremberg, 1500; d Joachimsthal [now Jáchymov], West Bohemia, May 15, 1561). German writer of hymn texts and melodies. From 1518 to 1560 he was schoolmaster, organist and Kantor in Joachimsthal. Johann Matthesius, Luther’s first biographer and headmaster of the Latin school there from 1532, was also, until 1565, minister of the church; Herman was associated with him both as a close friend and as a colleague, and thus came into contact with the Reformation from an early date. As early as 6 November 1524 Luther wrote to him as ‘viro pio et erudito’. Herman’s importance lies in his hymns, which were published in several volumes. He wrote both text and music, but most melodies are used for several texts. His poems are rhymed syllabic verses with no fixed metre. His Sunday Gospels, which retell Bible stories in rhymed stanzas, remained models for a succession of works of the same type well into the 17th century. In his endeavours to express Christian beliefs in the form of hymns Herman’s texts are close to those of Luther. Though never attaining the poetic force of the latter’s work, many have retained their place in the standard German Lutheran hymn repertory: above all ‘Lobt Gott, ihr Christen alle gleich’, ‘Erschienen ist der herrlich Tag’, ‘Die helle Sonn leucht jetzt herfür’, ‘Hinunter ist der Sonnen Schein’ and ‘Wenn mein Stündlein vorhanden ist’. Many of his melodies show clear affinities with folk music: in particular the traditions of ...

Article

Jamie C. Kassler

(b Stockton-on-Tees, Sept 18, 1763; d Wycliffe Rectory, nr Barnard Castle, Nov 24, 1829). English musician and inventor . Wright was instructed in music by his father, Robert, by John Garth and, as an articled apprentice, by Thomas Ebdon. On expiration of his articles about 1784, he succeeded Garth as organist at Sedgefield. In 1794 he married Elizabeth Foxton and set to music her operetta, Rusticity. In the ‘Advertisement’ to his Concerto for Harpsichord or Pianoforte (London, c1796), he promoted his invention of a pendulum for keeping musical time as more practicable than the timekeepers of Loulié, Sauveur and others. A model of the invention, owned by Wright’s granddaughter, Miss Edith Wright of Wakefield, was seen by Frank Kidson, when compiling his article for Grove’s Dictionary (3rd edn). In 1797 Wright succeeded his father as organist at Stockton. In 1817 he was organist at Kirkleatham near Redcar; but sometime after he returned to Stockton and remained there as organist, teacher and composer until his death....