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Roger J.V. Cotte

[Ennal, Charles-Ernest]

(b Fockenhof, Kurland, Feb 14, 1722; d Paris, March 24, 1791). French dilettante, amateur violinist and composer, patron of the arts and instrument collector. A magnificent and very wealthy nobleman, he both amused and astounded his contemporaries. M. Audinot in his comic opera La musicomanie (1779), and possibly E.T.A. Hoffmann in his tale Die Serapionsbrüder (1819), attempted to evoke his strange personality, emphasizing its ridiculous nature.

At the death of his father, a landed nobleman, in 1747, Bagge inherited a large fortune which enabled him to study the violin in Italy with Tartini. By 1750 he had settled in Paris; in the following year he was awarded the title chambellan du Roi de Prusse (then Frederick II) and married the daughter of the Swiss banker Jacob Maudry. With Maudry's death in 1762 the very large inheritance proved a source of contention to the ill-matched couple and they soon separated. Bagge later attempted to gain possession of the inheritance of Mme Maudry, who had died in ...

Article

E. Eugene Helm

revised by Derek McCulloch

[Friedrich II; Frederick the Great]

(b Berlin, Jan 24, 1712; d Potsdam, Aug 17, 1786). German monarch, patron of the arts, flautist and composer. His father, Friedrich Wilhelm I, was alarmed at his son’s early preference for intellectual and artistic pursuits over the military and religious. In spite of being supervised day and night and in the face of his father’s rages and corporal punishments, Frederick managed, partly through the complicity of his mother and his older sister Wilhelmina, to read forbidden books, to affect French dress and manners and to play flute duets with his servant. As a seven-year-old he was permitted to study thoroughbass and four-part composition with the cathedral organist Gottlieb Hayne. Wilhelmina, also musically talented, joined him in impromptu concerts. On a visit to Dresden in 1728 the prince was overwhelmed at hearing his first opera, Hasse’s Cleofide; there he also first heard the playing of the flautist J.J. Quantz, who soon thereafter began making occasional visits to Berlin to give Frederick flute lessons. The king tolerated such amusements for a while, but by ...

Article

William Weber

[Montagu, John ]

(b Lackham, Wilts., Nov 3, 1718; d London, April 30, 1792). English statesman and amateur musician . He followed a naval career, served as First Lord of the Admiralty in 1748–51 and 1771–82 and significantly reorganized the administration of the navy; he became embroiled in political conflict as a spokesman for George III, especially during the prosecution of John Wilkes and the American War. After his first period in office, Sandwich turned his energies to the performance of ‘ancient’ music which under his leadership was redefined from music of the 16th century to that two or more decades old. In this he was supported by his secretary, the amateur musician Joah Bates, who was an avid Handelian. While he was patron to the violinist Giardini, Sandwich's main early pursuit was the founding in 1761 of the aristocratic Catch Club, where professional singers performed catches, madrigals and glees, both ancient and modern. In the same period he held regular performances of Handel's oratorios, odes and masques at his estate, Hinchingbrooke, near Huntingdon, and at the parish church in Leicester. Thomas Greatorex, who joined Sandwich's household after a chance meeting in Leicester, assisted at these concerts in ...

Article

(b Munich, July 18, 1724; d Dresden, April 23, 1780). German princess, composer, singer and patron. The eldest daughter of the Elector Karl Albert of Bavaria (later Emperor Karl VII) and of Archduchess Maria Amalia of Austria, she received her first musical training in Munich from Giovanni Ferrandini and Giovanni Porta. After her marriage in 1747 to Friedrich Christian, later Elector of Saxony, she continued her studies in Dresden with Nicola Porpora and J.A. Hasse. With the Seven Years War and the death of the elector in 1763 the cultural life at the Dresden court declined. Her lively exchange of letters with Frederick the Great of Prussia from 1763 to 1779 bears witness to her increasing sense of personal and artistic isolation; the musical ideals she had grown up with as a pupil and devotee of Hasse and a correspondent of Pietro Metastasio lost their validity, and new music, in particular the new Neapolitan operatic style, found no favour with her....