Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/110

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98
ASHLEY.
ASHE.

more than three years, when his father, having experienced a reverse of fortune, was compelled to recall him to Ireland. Luckily for him, as he stood weeping with the letter in his hand, Count Bentinck, a colonel in the army, who was riding by, learning the cause of his grief, wrote to his father offering to take the boy under his protection. Ashe accompanied his patron to Minorca, where, the love for music which he had already shown at school continuing, he received instruction on the violin. He next went with the Count through Spain, Portugal, France, and Germany, and lastly to Holland, where such an education as would qualify him to become his benefactor's confidential agent in the management of his estates, was provided for him. But Ashe's mind was too strongly attracted towards music to suffer him to attend to anything else, and the Count perceiving it permitted him to follow the bent of his inclination. He acquired a general knowledge of several wind-instruments, but evinced the most decided predilection for the flute, the study of which he pursued so assiduously that in the couse of a few years he became the admiration of Holland. Quitting the roof of Count Bentinck he engaged himself as chamber musician at Brussels, first to Lord Torrington, and next to Lord Dillon. About 1778 he obtained the post of principal flute at the opera-house of Brussels. About 1782 he returned to Ireland, where he was engaged at the concerts given at the Rotunda, Dublin. In 1791 Salomon engaged him for the concerts given by him in Hanover Square, at which Haydn was to produce his grand symphonies, and he made his appearance at the second concert, on February 24, 1792, when he played a concerto of his own composition with decided success. He soon became engaged at most of the leading concerts, and on the resignation of Monzani was appointed principal flute at the Italian opera. In 1799 he married Miss Comer, a pupil of Rauzzini, who, as Mrs. Ashe, was for many years the principal singer at the Bath concerts, the direction of which after the death of Rauzzini in 1810, was confided to Ashe. After conducting these concerts with considerable ability for twelve years. Ashe relinquished the direction in 1822, having during the last four years of his management been a considerable loser by them. Mrs. Ashe first appeared at the Concert of Ancient Music in 1807 and also sung in the oratorios. Two of Ashe's daughters, one a harpist and the other a pianist, performed in London in 1821.

[ W. H. H. ]

ASHLEY, John, a performer on the bassoon at the end of the last century. In 1784 he was assistant conductor, under Joah Bates, at the commemoration of Handel in Westminster Abbey, where his name also appears as playing the double bassoon, employed to strengthen the bass of the choruses. [App. p.524 "It seems certain that the performer on the bassoon was not the same as the assistant conductor of the commemoration of Handel. The 'Mr. Ashley of the Guards' who played the double bassoon on that occasion was most probably a brother of John Ashley's, named Jane, who was born in 1740 and died Apr. 5, 1809. John Ashley died March 2, 1805. [See vol. ii. 402 a, note 3.]"] In 1795 he undertook the direction of the Lent 'oratorios' at Covent Garden. These performances, which took place on the Wednesdays and Fridays in Lent, were originated by Handel, under whose direction, and afterwards that of Smith and Arnold, they were correctly designated—that is, they consisted of an entire oratorio or musical drama. Under Ashley's management this character was lost, and the performances (with few exceptions) were made up of selections, including every class of music, sacred and secular, 'in most admired disorder.' It was at these oratorios that Braham obtained celebrity by his fine rendering of sacred music. For many years Ashley and his four sons visited different parts of England, giving what they called 'Grand Musical Festivals.' The father and sons performed themselves, and with some popular singer, and a little provincial help, they contrived to interest the public, and to fill their own pockets. On the death of Dr. Boyce, Ashley bought the plates of his 'Cathedral Music,' and the second edition (1788) bears his name as the publisher. He died in 1805.

Ashley, General, his eldest son, was a pupil of Giardini and Barthelemon, and a fair performer on the violin, of which instrument he was considered an excellent judge. He was scarcely known out of his father's orchestra. He died in 1818. [App. p.524 "His son, General Charles, took part with two of his brothers in the Handel Commemoration, and got into trouble by nailing the coat of some Italian violinist to his seat, and filling his violin with halfpence. (Dict. of Nat. Biog.)"] Ashley, Charles Jane, born in 1773, was a performer of considerable excellence on the violoncello. In conjunction with his brother, 'the General' (as he was always called), he carried on the oratorios after his father's death. He had great reputation as an accompanyist, and was considered second only to Lindley. He was one of the founders of the Glee Club in 1793, an original member of the Philharmonic Society, and for some years Secretary to the Royal Society of Musicians. Nearly twenty years of his life were passed in the rules of the King's Bench Prison. In the latter part of his career (when nearly 70), he became the proprietor of the Tivoli Gardens, Margate, the anxieties of which undertaking hastened his death, which occurred on Aug. 20, 1843. Another of Ashley's sons, John James, born 1771 [App. p.524 "1772"], was a pupil of Johann Schroeter, and a good organ and pianoforte player. He is remembered as an excellent singing-master, numbering among his pupils Mrs. Vaughan, Mrs. Salmon, Master Elliot (afterwards the glee composer), Charles Smith, &c. He died Jan 5, 1815.

Ashley, Richard, was a viola performer, connected with the principal orchestras in London and the provinces. Nothing is known of his career. He was born in 1775, and died in 1837 [App. p.524 "1836"].

[ E. F. R. ]

ASHLEY, John, known as 'Ashley of Bath,' was, for upwards of half a century, a performer on the bassoon, and a vocalist in his native city. He is chiefly remembered as the writer and composer of a large number of songs and ballads (between the years 1780 and 1830), many of which acquired considerable popularity. He is also deserving of notice as the author of two ingenious pamphlets in answer to Mr. Richard Clark's work on the origin of our National Anthem:—'Reminiscences and Observations respecting the Origin of God save the King,' 1827; 'A Letter to the Rev. W. L. Bowles, supplementary to the Observations, etc.' 1828, both published at Bath.

[ E. F. R. ]