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Article

Robin Langley

(b c1749; d after 1794). English composer, organist and cellist. According to his recommendation by Francis Hackwood to the Society of Musicians, on 1 February 1784 he was 35 years old, married with two children, organist of Brompton Chapel and a competent violinist, viola player and cellist. He performed as a cellist in the Handel commemoration concerts in 1784 and played in the band for the Academy of Ancient Music during the 1787–8 season. He probably also took part as a cellist in the concerts (held annually) at St Paul’s Cathedral for the relief of the clergy in 1785, 1789, 1790, 1793 and 1795.

From his extant published works it can be seen that Adams was a competent purveyor of small-scale vocal and instrumental works in the manner of Haigh, Osmond or Reeve. His music shows an awareness of changing styles: the early songs and canzonets accompanied either by harpsichord or orchestra with obbligato instrument are in the manner of Arne, giving way to a symphonic style like that of J.C. Bach or Hook in the three sonatas of op.4 (for piano or harpsichord with violin or flute accompaniment); his late sonata for piano duet shows some grasp of larger forms, and ...

Article

Michael Kassler

(b Woburn, Beds., Sept 24, 1766; d London, Jan 6, 1826). English geologist and writer on music. He was a tenor in the Surrey Chapel Society which met weekly in Southwark to practise sacred music. In 1791, when that society became part of the Choral Fund, Farey served as secretary and librarian and became acquainted ‘with numbers of the most eminent’ practitioners of music. The next year he returned to Woburn as the Duke of Bedford’s land steward and warden of Woburn parish church; from 1802 he lived in London.

Farey found the study of systems of musical temperament ‘a favourite source of amusement, while relaxing from … professional studies and practice’. His thoughts on music appeared mainly in numerous articles in the Philosophical Magazine and reappeared in contributions to David Brewster’s Edinburgh Encyclopaedia and to Abraham Rees’s Cyclopaedia: indeed Rees named only Charles Burney and Farey as ‘co-adjutors’ of the musical articles in the ...

Article

Lothar Hoffmann-Erbrecht

(b Zwickau, bap. Feb 5, 1732; d Gera, Aug 2, 1792). German composer and Kantor. He probably received his musical education from his father, Johann Gottfried Gruner (d 1763), a Kantor in Zwickau and Gera. In 1764 he succeeded his father as Kantor at the Landesschule and Johanniskirche in Gera and held these positions until his death. His compositions include keyboard concertos, chamber works, a secular cantata and sacred pieces; most are easy and pleasant pieces for musical dilettantes revealing little originality, although he was highly esteemed by his contemporaries. When his house was destroyed by the large Gera fire in 1780, 1102 people (among them J.F. Reichardt and C.P.E. Bach) subscribed to 1368 copies of his first set of six keyboard sonatas (1781), and his works were still popular in 1800, when a volume of his choral works was published posthumously.

Article

George J. Buelow

(d Glaucha, nr Halle, 1744). German organist and writer on music. His only known position was as Kantor at St Georg, Glaucha, from 1732 (he should not be confused with the organist of the same name at the Johanniskirche in Leipzig, 1747–66). Hille was acquainted with J.S. Bach, whom he visited in Leipzig some time about 1739; Bach returned the visit to Hille in Glaucha early in 1740. Both trips are confirmed by a letter to Hille from Bach’s cousin Johann Elias (see David and Mendel, eds.), who asked Hille to sell him as a gift for Anna Magdalena Bach a linnet which had been trained to sing beautifully and which Bach had admired during his stay with Hille. As a composer Hille has been credited with the chorales in Einige neue und zur Zeit noch nicht durchgängig bekante Melodeyen zu dem neuen Cöthenischen Gesangbüchlein, dieselbe mit und ohne Generalbass gebrauchen zu können...

Article

(b Rosenthal, Saxony, Feb 2, 1714; d Dresden, June 2, 1785). German composer, organist and Kantor.

The son of a Lutheran pastor, he spent his childhood from 1714 in Porschendorf (Pirna district). After his father’s death in 1722 he attended the Annenschule in Dresden, where in 1734 he composed his earliest extant work, the cantata Gott der Herr ist Sonn und Schild. He sometimes stood in for the organist at the Annenkirche, J.G. Stübner, who was probably his organ teacher. On 14 May 1735 he matriculated at Leipzig University in law; a class report from the professor A. Kästner (16 September 1741) reads: ‘For three years the candidatus juris has availed himself of my praelectionum iudicarum and striven to master the fundamenta iuris. He has, however, always allowed music to be his main task’. At this time he also took lessons from Bach in composition and keyboard playing, as mentioned by J.A. Hiller (...

Article

Ellwood Derr

(b Arnstadt, Aug 24, 1740; d Kahla, nr Jena, June 25, 1823). German writer on music and organist. On the title-page of his first published treatise, Versuch eines Lehrbuchs der praktischen Musik (Gera, 1783), he is referred to as a registered attorney to the dukes of Saxony and church organist in Eisenberg, and in 1801 he had been promoted to Hofadvokat and still held the post of organist. His Versuch is a practical treatise on basic musicianship, which discusses musical signs, melody and harmony (both separately and together), tuning, temperament, enharmonicism and continuo. In the foreword he draws attention to the integral relationships of rhetoric and poetry to music, as well as the necessity for composers to know how to arouse and calm passions. Probably the most useful section of the work (pp.232–58) is that on continuo performance in ensemble genres current in the last decades of the 18th century. He prefers the harpsichord for this purpose as it can be more distinctly heard than the fortepiano. Finally, for a more comprehensive treatment of the matter, he refers the reader to the continuo performance section in the second part of C.P.E. Bach's ...

Article

Sharon E. Girard

(b April 12, 1760; d March 1, 1797). Venezuelan composer, violinist, organist, pianist, educator and church musician. On 11 May 1789 he married Sebastiana Velásquez, sister of the composer José Francisco Velásquez. He composed mainly for Caracas Cathedral, in 1791 receiving 184 pesos for a collection of his sacred music; he was also employed by church confraternities. In October 1793, 1794 and 1796 he was in charge of the choral music for Caracas’s feast of Naval; in 1797 his son Juan Bautista held this post.

Article

Richard Jones

revised by Peter Wollny

( b Oelsnitz, Nov 25, 1737; d Merseburg, March 14, 1801). German Kantor and composer . He studied music first under the Oelsnitz Kantor J.G. Nacke, and then at the Thomasschule, Leipzig (1749–56). Penzel studied law at Leipzig from 1756 until 1761. After an unsuccessful attempt in 1762 to obtain his father's position as sexton at Oelsnitz, in 1765 he succeeded A.F. Graun as Kantor at Merseburg.

Penzel is chiefly remembered for his numerous copies of Bach's works, some of which are important sources for modern editors. These copies (from sources at the Thomasschule and in the possession of W.F. Bach) comprise mainly cantatas, but also instrumental music. His manuscript collection was inherited by his nephew Johann Gottlob Schuster who sold most of it to Franz Hauser in 1833 (now in D-B ), while the remainder was acquired by the Leipzig publisher C.F. Peters (now in LEm ). Of his own compositions all that survive are four four-part arias (Leipzig, ...

Article

Almonte Howell

( b Cifuentes, nr Madrid; d Madrid, Jan 2, 1800). Spanish liturgist and singer . He may have been the Vicente Andrés Pérez from Cifuentes (b 4 Feb 1746) who was admitted as a choirboy to the seises of Toledo Cathedral in 1756. In 1770 he entered the royal chapel in Madrid as a tenor and remained there until his death. During his career, he was especially noted for his excellence as a singer, teacher and interpreter of plainsong, and for his activity in chapel affairs. He collected and annotated many documents concerning the chapel (now in E-Mn ) along with autographed theoretical works from his library. His major work is the Prontuario del cantollano gregoriano … según práctica de la muy santa primada iglesia de Toledo, a three-volume anthology of plainsong submitted to the Imprenta Real in 1786 but not published until 1799–1800 after years of delays and a personal appeal to the prime minister Godoy. An enlarged second edition appeared in ...

Article

Watkins Shaw

revised by Nicholas Temperley

(b Canterbury, bap. Jan 13, 1760; d London, Jan 18, 1806). English organist. He is celebrated as the composer of the hymn tune ‘Miles Lane’. He was a chorister of Canterbury Cathedral and became organist of Bangor Cathedral in 1782; but his tendency to associate with religious dissenters there led to his receiving notice of dismissal in December 1783. He went to London and became organist of Spafields Chapel, Clerkenwell (Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion), in 1784 and at St Bartholomew-the-Less in 1800. His famous tune, one of only four attributed to him, was first published anonymously in the Gospel Magazine for November 1779 (facsimile in MT, xliii, 1902, p.244). His name was first attached to it in the eleventh edition of Stephen Addington’s Collection of Psalm-Tunes (London, 1792).

R. Vaughan Williams: ‘Shrubsole’, Some Thoughts on Beethoven’s Choral Symphony with Writings on Other Musical Subjects (London, 1953/R...

Article

Dieter Härtwig

(b Beierfeld, April 2, 1735; d Niederzwönitz, nr Zwönitz, July 19, 1811). German Kantor and composer. In 1749, through the assistance of G.A. Homilius, he was awarded a scholarship to the Dresden Kreuzschule, where he studied for six years. In 1755 he became Kantor and schoolteacher in Hohenstein-Ernstthal, where he remained until his retirement in 1808, having established an outstanding reputation as a Kantor and organist.

Tag was a prolific composer of Kantorenmusik in a style combining elements of the Baroque and Empfindsamkeit. At the centre of his creative output were his sacred cantatas; written between 1760 and 1780, predominantly to Pietist texts, they reflect the influence of Hasse and J.G. Naumann (a personal friend of Tag’s) and are particularly striking for their conservative adherence to fugue and their penchant for tone-painting and symbolism. The masses, of the two-movement missa brevis type with recitatives and arias, closely resemble the cantatas. After ...

Article

Dieter Härtwig

(b Hohenstein-Ernstthal, June 2, 1777; d Glauchau, July 12, 1839). German Kantor and composer, nephew of Christian Gotthilf Tag. He received his early education from his uncle, then attended the Leipzig Thomasschule for eight years, where he was encouraged by J.A. Hiller. After studying philosophy and theology at Leipzig University he became Kantor in Jessen (1803). In 1805 he went to Glauchau as Kantor, director of music and schoolteacher. Unlike his uncle, he composed few works; his known publications include two sacred choral pieces (Worte der Beruhigung bey unverschuldeten Schicksalen, 1813, and the litany Ewiger, erbarme dich, 1815) and 12 variations on Gaudeamus igitur for keyboard and flute, all published in Glauchau. A Gloria for chorus and instruments survives in manuscript, and his Hosianna! Davids Sohn for Advent was mostly transmitted orally until its publication by Walter Hüttel.

EitnerQMGG1 (W. Hüttel)...

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....