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Rudolph Angermüller

revised by Philip E.J. Robinson

[Caron de]

(b Paris, Jan 24, 1732; d Paris, May 18, 1799). French writer. The son of a clockmaker, he defended his invention of a watch escapement mechanism against theft by the royal clockmaker Lepaute, whom he replaced at court in 1755. He subsequently became harp teacher to the daughters of Louis XV and, thanks to contact with the homme d’affaires Pâris-Duverney, was ultimately able to buy himself into the nobility. In his Essai sur le genre dramatique sérieux (1767), the preface to his Eugénie, he took up the ideas of Diderot in favour of a distinct genre of drame, different from both French classical tragedy and comedy. His works in this genre outnumber his Figaro comedies, and even these show its influence: he returned to it fully in the third Figaro play, La mère coupable (1792). His racy parades, playlets written for the high-society private stage, served as an apprenticeship in comic musical theatre, particularly in the use of vaudevilles (well-known tunes sung, as part of the dramatic text, to new words). ...

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

Jamie C. Kassler

(b London, Dec 24, 1786; d London, Aug 7, 1853). English writer and musician. He served in the British Army retiring from active service in 1813. Although he is remembered chiefly as a writer on sport and an improver of firearms, he deserves notice as a music enthusiast, who studied the piano in England and on the Continent and whose several English residences were frequented by musicians. In 1818 he spent three months studying harmony and composition in the London academy of J.B. Logier; in 1821 he was a piano student of H.J. Bertini in Paris and, at an unspecified date, of F.W.M. Kalkbrenner. Hawker promoted Logier and his system of musical education in an anonymous publication, Advice to a Nobleman on the Manner in which his Children should be instructed on the Pianoforte (London, 1818, 5/1840). In 1819 Hawker’s invention of hand moulds ‘for running over the keys of a pianoforte in a mathematically true position’ was accepted for manufacture by Chappell in London and Pleyel in Paris. The hand moulds, similar to those invented by Logier, were patented on ...

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

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

Robert Stevenson

(b ?Lisbon, c 1735; d Lisbon, ? Dec 14, 1797). Portuguese writer on music . He belonged to a family of violinists that João V brought to Lisbon from Parma before 1719. While a chamber musician at the court of José I he won the favour of Frei Manuel do Cenáculo Vilas Boas, elected Bishop of Beja in 1770 and Archbishop of Évora in 1802. 17 poems by him, dedicated to the bishop, and a graceful Canzoneta e minuete, composed for the bishop’s birthday (1 March 1791) are in the Biblioteca Pública in Évora. By 1791 Mazza had evidently left Lisbon to accept a post, which his patron had created for him, teaching Italian at Beja. A note in his manuscript translation of Iriarte’s La música (in P-EVp ) says that Mazza died at Faro in 1798 or 1799 but the records of the Lisbon Brotherhood of St Cecilia, to which he belonged, give the date as ...

Article

(b Dresden, 1738; d Schleswig, Nov 22, 1789). German actress and writer. At the end of an unhappy childhood she took to the stage. In 1754 she married the actor Hensel, but they separated three years later. She worked with various troupes and appeared several times in Vienna. After the collapse of the Hamburg Nationaltheater, she took up with the impresario Abel Seyler in 1769, and married him three years later, by which time she was recognized as Germany’s foremost tragedienne. Lessing praised her passionate and majestic acting at Hamburg, and Benda and F. W. Gotter wrote their chilling melodrama Medea to set off her skills in 1775. At the end of her career she wrote a five-act libretto Hüon und Amande, based on Wieland’s epic poem Oberon and set by the Schleswig music director Karl Hanke in 1789. The text was adapted for Paul Wranitzky shortly thereafter by Gieseke as ...

Article

Lenore Coral

(b Durham, Nov 10, 1735; d London, July 6, 1813). English philanthropist and amateur musician . Best known for his fight to abolish slavery, he was also a keen amateur musician who played the flute, clarinet, oboe, flageolet and kettledrums. He had a good bass voice and his Short Introduction to Vocal Musick was published in 1767. Together with his brothers, William (1729–1810), surgeon to George III, and James (d 1783), an engineer, from 1775 until 1783 he held concerts on two barges on the Thames, attended by ‘not only men of the most eminent talents and skill, but also those of the highest and most distinguished rank’ (Hoare). This activity was recorded in a famous painting by Johan Zoffany which shows 15 music-makers, many of them members of the family, on their barge. The brothers also hosted fortnightly concerts of sacred music on Sunday nights in London....