Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/140

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128
BALLAD.
BALFE.

the proprietor of a small landed property in Hertfordshire, called Rowney Abbey, and turned gentleman farmer. Here he amused himself with agriculture and music, making occasional visits to Paris. He had several severe attacks of bronchitis, and suffered much from the loss of a favourite daughter, which much weakened his constitution. In September 1870 he caught a violent cold, which caused a return of his old complaint, and on October 20 he expired.

'II Talismano,' the Italian version of Balfe's last opera, 'The Knight of the Leopard,' was produced at Drury Lane, on June 11, 1874; and on September 25 in the same year a statue to his memory, by a Belgian artist, M. Mallempre, was placed in the vestibule of Drury Lane, the scene of so many of his triumphs.

Balfe's miscellaneous pieces are numerous, including the operetta of 'The Sleeping Queen,' performed at the Gallery of Illustration; three cantatas—'Mazeppa,' performed in London; and two others composed at Paris and Bologna. Many of his ballads are not likely to be soon forgotten. His characteristics as a composer are summed up by a brother artist (Professor Macfarren) in the following words:—'Balfe possesses in a high degree the qualifications that make a natural musician, of quickness of ear, readiness of memory, executive facility, almost unlimited and ceaseless fluency of invention, with a felicitous power of producing striking melodies. His great experience added to these has given him the complete command of orchestral resources, and a remarkable rapidity of production. Against these great advantages is balanced the want of conscientiousness, which makes him contented with the first idea that presents itself, regardless of dramatic truth, and considerate of momentary effect rather than artistic excellence; and this it is that, with all his well-merited success with the million, will for ever prevent his works from ranking among the classics of the art. On the other hand it must be owned that the volatility and spontaneous character of his music would evaporate through elaboration, either ideal or technical; and that the element which makes it evanescent is that which also makes it popular.' (Imp. Dict. of Univ. Biog.; Kenney's Memoir, 1875). [App. p.530 "(Dict. of National Biography, to which the reader is referred for further particulars.)"]

[ E. F. R. ]

BALINO, see Fabri.

BALL, William, an English litterateur, who died in London on May 14, 1869, aged 85, and deserves a place in a Dictionary of Music for having adapted to English words the librettos of various great musical compositions—Masses of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven (No. 1), Mozart's 'Requiem,' Rossini's 'Stabat Mater,' to entirely fresh words, and especially Mendelssohn's 'St. Paul.'

BALLABILE (Ital., from ballare, to dance). A piece of music adapted for dancing. The term can be applied to any piece of dance music. Meyerbeer frequently uses it in his operas, e. g. in 'Robert le Diable,' where the three dances in the scene of the resurrection of the nuns in the third act are entitled in the score '1o. 2do. and 3o. ballabile.' He also applies the term to the dance music of the ball-room scene at the commence- of the fifth act of the 'Huguenots.' More recently Dr. Hans von Bülow has given the title of 'Ballabili' to the dance-numbers of his 'Carnevale di Milano,' these dances being respectively a polacca, a waltz, a polka, a quadrille, a mazurka, a tarantella, and a galop.

[ E. P. ]

BALLAD, from the Italian ballata,[1] a dance, and that again from ballare, to dance. The form and application of the word have varied continually from age to age. In Italy a Balletta originally signified a song intended to be sung in dance measure, accompanied by or intermixed with dancing; 'in the Crusca dictionary,' says Burney, 'it is defined as Canzone, che si canta ballando'—a song sung while dancing. The old English ballads are pieces of narrative verse in stanzas, occasionally followed by an envoi or moral. Such are 'Chevy Chase,' 'Adam Bell, Clym of the Clough and William of Cloudeslee,' 'The Babes in the Wood'; and, to come to more modern times, such are 'Hozier's Ghost' (Walpole's favourite), Goldsmith's 'Edwin and Angelina,' and Coleridge's 'Dark Ladie.' But the term has been used for almost every kind of verse—historical, narrative, satirical, political, religious, sentimental, etc. It is difficult to discover the earliest use of the word. Many references which have been made to old authors reputed to have employed it are not to the point, as it will be found in such cases that the original word in the old Latin chronicles ia some form of the noun 'cantilena.'

In a MS. of the Cotton collection, said to be as ancient as the year 1326, mention is made of ballads and roundelays (Hawkins, Hist. of Music). John Shirley, who lived about 1440, made a collection of compositions by Chaucer, Lydgate, and others, and one of the volumes, now in the Ashmolean collection, is entitled 'A Boke cleped the abstracte brevyaire, compyled of diverse balades, roundels, … collected by John Shirley.' In the devices used at the coronation of Henry VI (Dec. 17, 1431) the king was portrayed in three several ways, each 'with a ballad' (Sharon Turner). Coverdale's Bible, printed in 1535, contains the word as the title of the Song of Solomon 'Salomon's Balettes called Cantica Canticorum.'

Ballad making was a fashionable amusement in the reign of Henry VIII, who was himself renowned for 'setting of songes and makyng of ballettes.' A composition attributed to him, and called 'The Kynges Ballade' (Add. MSS. Brit. Mus. 5665), became very popular. It was mentioned in 'The Complainte of Scotland,' published in 1548, and also made the subject of a sermon preached in the presence of Edward VI by Bishop Latimer, who enlarged on the advantages of 'Passetyme with good companye.' Amongst Henry's effects after his decease, mention is made of 'songes and ballades.' In Queen Eliza-

  1. Ballata = a dancing piece, as Suonata, a sounding piece, and Cantata, a singing piece.